I am trying to understand the partition structures I encounter in Windows 10, in the context of developing backup strategies with Macrium Reflect, and also of separating data files from OS and program files.
Consider 3 computers - two of them mine, of known history, and one an office computer of (as yet) unknown history:
1. Dell XPS 8700, first put in service 8/20/2014, original OS Windows 7 Professional, upgraded directly to Windows 10 Professional near the end of the free upgrade period.
2. Dell Inspiron 5537, first put in service 8/23/2013, original OS Windows 8 Home, upgraded first to 8.1 and then immediately to Windows 10 Home, also near the end of the free upgrade period..
3. HP 20 All-in-one, history unknown, currently running Windows 10 Home.
The partition structures discussed below are those revealed by Macrium Reflect 6, free edition.
#1 has a 1 TB disk with 3 partitions:
1 Dell Utility FAT (16 bit) 116 KB used out of 39.2 MB
2 Recovery NTFS 11.26 GB used out of 24.22 GB
3 OS (C:) NTFS 308.02 GB used out of 907.25 GB
#2 has a 1 TB disk with 7 partitions:
1 ESP FAT32 54.4 MB used out of 500.0 MB
2 DIAGS FAT32 2 KB used out of 40.0 MB
3 unformatted (Microsoft Reserved Partition, MSR) 128 MB
4 WINRETOOLS NTFS 290.7 MB used out of 490.0 MB
5 Windows (C:) NTFS 153.16 GB used out of 918.14 GB
6 no name NTFS 423.3 MB used out of 502.0 MB
7 PBR Image NTFS 11.05 GB used out of 11.75 GB
#3 has a 500 GB disk with 8 partitions:
1 Windows RE Tools NTFS 348.8 MB used out of 1023 MB
2 System FAT32 39.2 MB used out of 360.0 MB
3 unformatted (MSR partition) 128 MB
4 OS (C:) NTFS 76.05 GB used out of 443.40 GB
5 no name NTFS 332.0 MB used out of 450.0 MB
6 no name NTFS 273,8 MB used out of 350.0 MB
7 no name NTFS 287.3 MB used out of 350.0 MB
8 Recovery Image (D:) NTFS 17.29 GB used out of 19.77 GB
Am I to understand from this that #1 has an MBR disk system, while the other two have GPT disks - and if so why, since #1 is about a year newer than #2?
Also, I have not yet been clever enough to figure out what those small nameless partitions are doing between the OS partition and the recovery-image partition? Obviously something, since they are all well filled with data.
i notice that Speccy displays about the same partition information, except that it does not detect the unformatted MSR partitions and mostly doesn't name the partitions.
I have read the Microsoft literature on UEFI/GPT based hard disk partitions, but think I still have much to learn on this subject! It looks to me as if incautious changes in the size or sequence of those partitions could quite easily create a disaster.