Hidden Partition

What is Hidden Partition?

The hidden partition refers to a distinct section set aside in the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) hard drive. It can be accessed only through a specific Windows app or through a key combination while the system boots up.

Actually, in this precise section of the hard drive, the manufacturer stores the essential information that can be used to restore the computer system back to its factory settings. This will not need the CD or DVD of the operating system.

Understanding Hidden Partition

What is Hidden Partition

The hidden partition is the reserved region on a hard disk drive where the information regarding the computer is stored by the original manufacturers.

This information is especially useful for restoring the computer system back to its factory settings.

It is for these reasons that the hidden partitions are also called by different names such as:

Usually, the capacity of this partition is pretty small, often ranging anywhere between 100 MB and 200 MB, which is enough to hold the information about the disc boot sector, the system boot file, and others.

Ideally, the hidden partition may store several important pieces of information apart from the boot files such as:

All these files and information are not visible to a user in the Windows File Explorer.

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This means that the users will not be able to make any modifications to these system files under normal conditions or even in the event of a system failure.

In simple words, the hidden partition of a hard disk is the part that is invisible and cannot be used under normal conditions, directly. It is merely a backup partition, which typically is hidden.

Usually, this reserved space may not be partitioned itself. However, it may be a format partition. This will not be recognized by the current system.

When the partition is not hidden, new drive letters will be allocated at random to it by Windows.

This means that, every time you unhide the partition, the drive letter assigned to it will be different from the previous letter assigned to it when you unhide it earlier.

It is good to remember a few other things as well at this point such as:

Sometimes, the computer system may not come with a hidden partition.

And even if it comes, you may delete it accidentally. In that case, the only way to restore the computer is by using a Windows CD.

Though this will install the boot disc, it will not install any additional drivers or software.

So, how do you determine whether or not your hard drive comes with a hidden partition? You can check it by using a specific tool such as the Disk Viewer.

This tool will show the partition table when you choose a physical disk without a partition and take the cursor to the first sector, or Sector 0.

It will display the partition table with every partition, hidden or not, in a readable format.

How Do You View Hidden Partitions?

You can view and even access the hidden partition on your hard drive by using the Disk Management tool or any free partition manager tool. You can also view it by using the Command Prompt.

In Windows, the steps to follow to view the hidden partition by using free partition manager software are:

If you want to view the hidden partition by using Disk Management, the steps to follow are as follows:

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You can also unhide a partition to view it in Windows by using the Command Prompt as an administrator. The necessary steps to follow and the commands to give are as follows:

There will be no messages displayed, but the partition will open in the Windows File Explorer as soon as it is mounted.

Apart from the above methods, you can also access the hidden partition on your hard disk by using the appropriate keys, depending on the manufacturer.

You will have to press one key or a combination of keys repeatedly till the time the system enters the menu of the hidden partition.

However, before you start, make sure that there are no USB drives or devices connected to the computer system, and the optical disc tray is also empty.

Also, know your manufacturer and use the right key or key combination.

Here is the list of keys to use for some of the most common manufacturers summarized for you to make things easier:

Why is System Partition Hidden?

Ideally, the main reason to hide the reserved partition of the system is to protect the essential data and information of the system and prevent the users from modifying, deleting, or formatting the partition.

In short, it ensures data safety and integrity, along with the successful restoration of the factory settings of the system after accidents.

You can hide system partitions as and when needed by using a few specific tools in Windows 10, 8, and 7 as mentioned hereunder.

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To use DiskPart, follow these steps:

(If the correct partition is selected, it will display Type:07, Hidden: No, Active: No)

(This will change the type of the partition from hidden NTFS (New Technology File System) (0 x 07) to 0 x 17 (NTFS) and unhide it)

This will display the volume details and label of the partition number 17, which will now be hidden.

To use Disk Management to hide a system reserved partition by removing the drive letter from it, follow these steps:

The system reserved partition will be hidden in the Windows File Explorer.

If you are not familiar with Disk Management and DiskPart, you can also use any third-party partition manager software, preferably with a user-friendly interface. The easy and quick steps to follow are:

It will hide the system reserved partition from the others.

Conclusion

The hidden partition on a hard disk is useful to both the users and the system.

It ensures restoring the system back to its original factory settings after an unexpected crash or any other accident.

It is very easy to hide or unhide a system partition and use it for the sake of protecting essential information and data.