How to Find a Hidden Partition in Windows

by Jonah Quant

Hard disks in personal computers can be divided into non-overlapping partitions. Using separate partitions is an effective way of segregating unrelated data or code, as all operating systems respect partition boundaries. Many hard disks have "hidden" partitions in their default configurations; a hidden partition may contain a ready-to-install copy of the operating system (in case the primary one gets corrupted), or system configuration parameters. You can find if your disk has hidden partitions, and identify their characteristics, using tools built into the Windows operating system.

Log into the computer as the Administrator.

Click "Start," then "Control Panel." Type "partition" in the search box. Windows will display the "Create and format hard disk partitions" link; click on it. Windows will list the partitions existing on the hard disk.

Find hidden partitions on the list. A hidden partition will have "System Reserved" as its name. Right-click on the partition, then select "Properties." Windows will display the starting and ending cylinder (the boundaries) for the hidden partition.

About the Author

Jonah Quant has been writing about computer science since 1990. He has contributed to international conferences and journals such as those of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery. Quant has a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California.

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