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Windows 8.1 creates 2nd Recovery Partition

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#1
Tripredacus

Tripredacus

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If you have a computer with Windows 8 that was installed by an OEM on a GPT disk, the Windows 8.1 update from the Store will create a second recovery partition! Alternatively, if your OS is installed on an MBR disk, the 2nd partition is not created. This second partition is seen as a 350MB Recovery partition. For example a standard deployment of Windows 8 on GPT with recovery partition and diskpart:

 

DISKPART> list part
  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Recovery           300 MB  1024 KB
  Partition 2    System             100 MB   301 MB
  Partition 3    Reserved           128 MB   401 MB
  Partition 4    Primary             50 GB   529 MB
  Partition 5    Primary           5000 MB    50 GB

 

The above is outlined as:

Part 1 = WindowsRE (winre.wim)

Part 2 = BCD/boot file location

Part 3 = MSR

Part 4 = OS

Part 5 = Recovery Image (install.wim)

 

After the update to Windows 8.1, it will stick a new Recovery partition after the OS. Here is the new layout including details:

 

DISKPART> sel disk 0
 
Disk 0 is now the selected disk.
 
DISKPART> list part
 
  Partition ###  Type              Size     Offset
  -------------  ----------------  -------  -------
  Partition 1    Recovery           300 MB  1024 KB
  Partition 2    System             100 MB   301 MB
  Partition 3    Reserved           128 MB   401 MB
  Partition 4    Primary             50 GB   529 MB
  Partition 5    Recovery           350 MB    50 GB
  Partition 6    Primary           5000 MB    51 GB
 
DISKPART> sel part 1
 
Partition 1 is now the selected partition.
 
DISKPART> detail part
 
Partition 1
Type    : de94bba4-06d1-4d40-a16a-bfd50179d6ac
Hidden  : Yes
Required: No
Attrib  : 0X8000000000000000
Offset in Bytes: 1048576
 
  Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
  ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
* Volume 3         Windows RE   NTFS   Partition    300 MB  Healthy    Hidden
 
DISKPART> sel part 5
 
Partition 5 is now the selected partition.
 
DISKPART> detail part
 
Partition 5
Type    : de94bba4-06d1-4d40-a16a-bfd50179d6ac
Hidden  : Yes
Required: Yes
Attrib  : 0X8000000000000001
Offset in Bytes: 54401171456
 
  Volume ###  Ltr  Label        Fs     Type        Size     Status     Info
  ----------  ---  -----------  -----  ----------  -------  ---------  --------
* Volume 5                      NTFS   Partition    350 MB  Healthy    Hidden

 

The update goes through a checklist when updating:

 

2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         F Suspend bitlocker if needed
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Boot WinPE
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Prepare SafeOS for rollback
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Set SafeOS boot entry as the default boot entry
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Cleanup safe OS mount directory
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Apply WIM file PathForNewOS, index 4 to C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\NewOS
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Set boot command %SYSTEMDRIVE%\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\SetupPlatform.exe /postoobe for phase 3
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Set boot command %SYSTEMDRIVE%\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\SetupPlatform.exe /presysprep for phase 0
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Set boot command %SYSTEMDRIVE%\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\SetupPlatform.exe /postsysprep for phase 1
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Set boot command %SYSTEMDRIVE%\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\SetupPlatform.exe /preoobe for phase 2
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Set entropy for C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\NewOS
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Add boot entry for C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\NewOS\WINDOWS. Locale = en-US
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Set OS Switch rollback checkpoint
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Backup the recovery partition to C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\RecoveryPartitionBackup
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Apply EAs for C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\NewOS
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Install Dynamic Updates
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Install Driver DU Updates
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Install OS updates (DU) to keep installation up-to-date
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Relocate OS from C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\NewOS to C:\
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Add boot entry for C:\WINDOWS. Locale = en-US
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Prepare the new OS for first boot
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Setup the recovery partition
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Orchestrate OS switch for NewOS with safe OS SafeOS and rollback OS ExternalRollback. DelayedSwitch: 0
2013-10-25 09:41:16, Info                  SP         S Copy log files from C:\$WINDOWS.~BT\Sources\Panther to C:\WINDOWS

 

Attached is selected entries from the setupact.log after the update, which shows some of the things that the update does. Things left out is when the update downloads and install.wim, mounts it with DISM, scans the existing OS for applicable drivers and packages and injects them, unmounts the image and them uses DISM to apply it to the hard drive.

 

Regarding the extra recovery partition, there does not seem to be a way to prevent it from happening. :(

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#2
jaclaz

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All your hard disk space are belong to us! :w00t:

 

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