How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

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How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Derek » Thu Jan 05, 2012 10:52 pm

Hello everybody!

My situation is this:

I have a Windows 7 Ultimate x64 PC with five hard disks in it. As you know, Win7 Ultimate creates a 100MB System Reserved partition with boot files on it. The OS is on the next partition, i.e. C partition.

The hard disk these two partitions are on (together with D, E and F partitions) is marked "dynamic" and it is Disk 4 (not Disk 0).

I want to set up full disk encryption. As I don't want to encrypt the whole disk but rather the system partition separately from other partitions, I came to a conclusion that I have to merge the 100 MB System Reserved partition with C partition, because if I encrypt only the C partition the System reserved partition will be left unencrypted which might compromise security and privacy.

My question is: can I merge these two partitions (the 100 MB System Reserved partition with C partition) on a dynamic disk and get a bootable C partition? If not, i.e. if I have to convert the disk to basic, will I still be able to have D, E and F partitions on the same drive?

Can anyone post a detailed step-by-step guide on how to merge these two partitions (taking into account it's dynamic disk, it's disk 4, it has other three partitions on it beside these two etc.) to get one bootable partition which can be encrypted afterwards?

Thanks very much
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby M.Mao » Fri Jan 06, 2012 11:11 am

Dear Derek,

Our product cannot merge dynamic volume. It cannot merge System Reserved partition and partition C either.

Meanwhile, if you directly merge the System Reserved partition and partition C, you may fail to boot the system, as System Reserved partition contains boot information.

You'd better contact the support of Microsfot (http://support.microsoft.com/) to get more help on this issue.
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Derek » Fri Jan 06, 2012 8:20 pm

M.Mao, thanks for your reply.

M.Mao wrote:Dear Derek,

Our product cannot merge dynamic volume.


If I convert it to basic would it be possible?


M.Mao wrote:It cannot merge System Reserved partition and partition C either.


How about the professional edition of EaseUS Partition Master?

Are you aware of any other software that is able to do it? Please, I know you don't want to push other vendors, but it's very important to me.


M.Mao wrote:Meanwhile, if you directly merge the System Reserved partition and partition C, you may fail to boot the system, as System Reserved partition contains boot information.


Do you have any idea how people usually deal with this issue? What do you guys at EaseUS do to encrypt your systems?

M.Mao wrote:You'd better contact the support of Microsfot (http://support.microsoft.com/) to get more help on this issue.


I'll do that but I'm afraid it might take a long time to communicate it back and forth.
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby M.Mao » Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:11 pm

Dear Derek,

The Professional and other commercial versions cannot do this either, even you convert the dynamic disk to basic. It is not recommanded.

You can avoid the system reserved partition during the system installation. The link below probably will help you more:
http://www.shivaranjan.com/2009/05/11/h ... tallation/
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Rolo42 » Fri Jan 13, 2012 2:16 am

Derek wrote:I want to set up full disk encryption. As I don't want to encrypt the whole disk but rather the system partition separately from other partitions...

This part befuddles me.

Why not leave the partitions as they are and just encrypt the entire disk? (I use TrueCrypt that way on a Win7 laptop and an xp tablet.)
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Derek » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:49 pm

Rolo42 wrote:
Derek wrote:I want to set up full disk encryption. As I don't want to encrypt the whole disk but rather the system partition separately from other partitions...

This part befuddles me.

Why not leave the partitions as they are and just encrypt the entire disk? (I use TrueCrypt that way on a Win7 laptop and an xp tablet.)


I'd like to test how TC hidden OS works. The decoy OS has to be installed on the first partition and the hidden OS on the following partition. They have different passwords. So, I guess, each partition has to be encrypted separately.
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Rolo42 » Sun Jan 15, 2012 2:43 am

Incorrect. See page 48 of the TrueCrypt User Guide:
If the size of the active partition is less than 256MB, then the data is [sic] read from the second partition behind the active one
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Derek » Tue Jan 17, 2012 8:05 am

Rolo42 wrote:Incorrect. See page 48 of the TrueCrypt User Guide:
If the size of the active partition is less than 256MB, then the data is [sic] read from the second partition behind the active one

I am not sure I understand what you mean.

Do you imply that I don't have to get rid of the 100MB partition in order to encrypt the system?

What would you if you were in my shoes?
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Rolo42 » Tue Jan 17, 2012 4:31 pm

Derek wrote:The decoy OS has to be installed on the first partition and the hidden OS on the following partition.

I'm not implying anything. The TC manual has an exception to what you said above; your hidden partition has to be second after System Reserved partition, not first.
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Derek » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:32 pm

Rolo42 wrote:
Derek wrote:The decoy OS has to be installed on the first partition and the hidden OS on the following partition.

I'm not implying anything. The TC manual has an exception to what you said above; your hidden partition has to be second after System Reserved partition, not first.

I still don't get it.

The first partition is the System Reserved partition without assigned letter, the second partition is C with the OS installed on it, the third partition is D where hidden OS is supposed to be installed. Is that correct?

If I want to have a bootable system with FDE on it, I should get rid of the System Reserved partition. Am I right?
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Rolo42 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 5:19 am

No.

Just install TrueCrypt and configure it; it will work without your changing anything, which will break your install anyway.

Don't count the System Reserved partition; TC doesn't.
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Derek » Wed Jan 18, 2012 8:41 am

Rolo42 wrote:No.

Just install TrueCrypt and configure it; it will work without your changing anything, which will break your install anyway.

Don't count the System Reserved partition; TC doesn't.


I've heard people having constant BSODs with TC FDE with System Reserved partition.

Please, can you elaborate what exactly I should do in order to have TC FDE with hidden OS?
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Rolo42 » Wed Jan 18, 2012 3:10 pm

Rolo42 wrote:Just install TrueCrypt and configure it; it will work without your changing anything

I don't know how I could say this any easier.

You've 'heard'?

I have TC FDE installed on Win7 Ult on a laptop with System Reserved partition; it's flawless. I also have it on a test box only encrypting the Win7 Pro partition (it doesn't have the System Reserved at all) and its fine. Finally, I have it on an XP tablet edition, full disk, no problems.

Make a full backup, install TC; if it doesn't work, you have a backup!
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Derek » Wed Jan 18, 2012 9:04 pm

Rolo42 wrote:
Rolo42 wrote:Just install TrueCrypt and configure it; it will work without your changing anything

I don't know how I could say this any easier.

You've 'heard'?

I have TC FDE installed on Win7 Ult on a laptop with System Reserved partition; it's flawless. I also have it on a test box only encrypting the Win7 Pro partition (it doesn't have the System Reserved at all) and its fine. Finally, I have it on an XP tablet edition, full disk, no problems.

Make a full backup, install TC; if it doesn't work, you have a backup!


You suggest I encrypt the whole drive (not partitions separately)? In that case, can I have the hidden OS?

I saw on TC forums some people say that TC looks for the bootloader on disk 0 and if it doesn't find it there it can't boot. Is that true? My OS is on the Disk 4, not on the Disk 0. Is that a problem? Can I change the disk number and how?

It's dynamic disk - should I convert it to basic? GPT or MBR disk - does it make any difference? How can I see if my BIOS is a "legacy BIOS"?

I know I have many questions. It's important to me to get feedback from somebody who is experienced with TrueCrypt to avoid problems. I can't post in TC forums.

I would appreciate your help
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Re: How to merge System Reserved Partition with C: partition

Postby Rolo42 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 3:12 am

I'm not an expert on TC; I use it and I can read the manual. Your questions should be posted in TC forums if they aren't already addressed in the manual.
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