About to format Dell partitions to install vanilla W11, can you tell me what each partition is for?


Sephirote

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Hey everyone,

Bought an XPS15 that came with Windows 11 pre-installed with a bunch of bloatware.
I'm about to format everything and reinstall a fresh/vanilla version of Windows 11.

Before moving forward, I just wanted to make sure I understood what each partition was to be safe.

BM3PTvZ.png


#1,2,3= These are your regular Window partition right? On top of my head when you install a new copy of Windows, Windows automatically create these 3 partitions.

#4= I'm not familiar with this WINRETOOLS partition. I've never seen it in the past. What does it do? Can I delete it or should I keep it?

#5= I'm guessing it's a recovery image? Was this image generated by Windows 11 or Dell?

#6= This is my first Dell laptop. Does anyone know what the DELLSUPPORT partition pertains to? Should I keep it?

Thank you
 
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zbook

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For any partition in question download and install Mini Tool Partition Wizard > click launch > right click on any partition > left click explore

If you clean install Windows 11 on a computer that is BIOS UEFI there will be four default partitions.

One of the partitions will be hidden.

Partition layout​

The default partition layout for UEFI-based PCs is: a system partition, an MSR, a Windows partition, and a recovery tools partition.

diagram of default partition layout: system, msr, windows, and recovery


This layout lets you use Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption through both Windows and through the Windows Recovery Environment.


 

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KYHI

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#1,2,3= These are your regular Window partition right? EFI, Microsoft System Reserved & OS partitions

#4= I'm not familiar with this WINRE partition. WinRE Recovery partition

#5= I'm guessing it's a recovery image? Dell System Recovery Image partition

#6= This is my first Dell laptop. Does anyone know what the DELLSUPPORT partition? Dell System Diagnostics partition
 

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idgat

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Doesn't matter. If you're doing a fresh/clean install, delete them all.

You could back up your drivers but really, if by the most obscure circumstances any are required, they can either be got from Dell, or a reputable, legitimate, trustworthy driver program. About the only driver I usually have handy on a USB is the network/wi-fi driver (and that's a clear case of "if you're got it, you'll never need it").

EDIT : Use Macrium Reflect to create an image of the existing/old system. An alternative to this is get a new blank drive and do the install on that - keeps the existing/old drive intact for fall back.
 

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Sephirote

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#1,2,3= These are your regular Window partition right? EFI, Microsoft System Reserved & OS partitions

#4= I'm not familiar with this WINRE partition. WinRE Recovery partition

#5= I'm guessing it's a recovery image? Dell System Recovery Image partition

#6= This is my first Dell laptop. Does anyone know what the DELLSUPPORT partition? Dell System Diagnostics partition

Hey Kyhi, are you the same person who created Windows 10 Recovery Tools - Bootable PE Rescue Disk?
Windows 10 Recovery Tools - Bootable Rescue Disk - Windows 10 Help Forums
It's been my go-to recovery tool for years. If that's you, thank you so much for your work and contribution to the community.

Anywho, thanks for your reply and for breaking down each partition for me. I think they can all go.

Backup the drivers, before you do anything.


Thanks for your message, just completed a full image backup with Macrium that I stored on a separate HD.
Doesn't matter. If you're doing a fresh/clean install, delete them all.

You could back up your drivers but really, if by the most obscure circumstances any are required, they can either be got from Dell, or a reputable, legitimate, trustworthy driver program. About the only driver I usually have handy on a USB is the network/wi-fi driver (and that's a clear case of "if you're got it, you'll never need it").

EDIT : Use Macrium Reflect to create an image of the existing/old system. An alternative to this is get a new blank drive and do the install on that - keeps the existing/old drive intact for fall back.

Thanks, yeah it sounds like I can delete them all. Drivers won't be an issue, Dell support website is great and I will be able to download all drivers from there easily.
 

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NavyLCDR

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Drivers won't be an issue, Dell support website is great and I will be able to download all drivers from there easily.
What happens when you discover that Windows does not have the driver for the network card and you find out that you can't connect to the internet? When working with a new/unfamiliar computer I always create the Windows 10/11 installation USB flash drive. Then I create a Drivers folder on it. Then export the drivers to it. Why not? Takes 1 command and less than 5 minutes to do.
 

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KYHI

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Hey Kyhi, are you the same person who created Windows 10 Recovery Tools - Bootable PE Rescue Disk?
One and the Same.... Some where within your Dell Support - you can create Dell Recovery Media - Create that Media to USB - then save to a Data Drive you safe keeping.... Before you wipe the Drive.....
 

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Sephirote

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What happens when you discover that Windows does not have the driver for the network card and you find out that you can't connect to the internet? When working with a new/unfamiliar computer I always create the Windows 10/11 installation USB flash drive. Then I create a Drivers folder on it. Then export the drivers to it. Why not? Takes 1 command and less than 5 minutes to do.
I'll use my 2 other machines connected to the internet to download any drivers I may require.
Thought what you're saying is absolutely relevant if you don't have a 2nd PC handy to access the internet.
 

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Sephirote

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One and the Same.... Some where within your Dell Support - you can create Dell Recovery Media - Create that Media to USB - then save to a Data Drive you safe keeping.... Before you wipe the Drive.....
Ok, thanks for the tip. I'll have a look at the Dell support app and try to create a Dell Recovery Media. Never too safe.

Hey I had another question if you don't mind, I just booted up Windows Install and in the windows setup, where usually all partitions are listed out, none could be found and it said at the bottom "We couldn't find any drives. To get a storage driver, click Load driver"
Does this have something to do with Windows Bitlocker? How should I proceed to display my partitions in the Windows installer setup?
 

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KYHI

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Open command prompt admin
Code:
md %userprofile%\Desktop\Win11-Drivers

dism /online /Export-Driver /Destination:"%userprofile%\Desktop\Win11-Drivers"
That will Export the Third Party (Dell) drivers into a Folder on your Desktop... Now if you need a Driver you will have it....
 

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KYHI

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You need to export the Host Drivers to a folder - then point to that folder to "Load" the Storage Driver
 

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AdvancedSetup

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Stigg

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If you are going to do a clean install and you have saved any necessary data, then I would delete ALL the partitions and start afresh.
The Windows 11 installation process will give you the option to delete them. I always get rid of them all. That's a proper clean installation.
 

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NavyLCDR

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Ok, thanks for the tip. I'll have a look at the Dell support app and try to create a Dell Recovery Media. Never too safe.

Hey I had another question if you don't mind, I just booted up Windows Install and in the windows setup, where usually all partitions are listed out, none could be found and it said at the bottom "We couldn't find any drives. To get a storage driver, click Load driver"
Does this have something to do with Windows Bitlocker? How should I proceed to display my partitions in the Windows installer setup?
And what is really amazing - if you had exported the drivers to a folder on the Windows 10/11 installation USB flash drive, then guess where the Intel Rapid Storage Technology driver that you need could be found? I rest my case. You need the IRST driver on a USB flash drive and then you need to click on the load driver link to load the IRST driver from the USB flash drive.
 

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CornishRattler

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As said, if you are going to clean install, format the entire disk and let Windows set the partitions. Get the RST drivers from Intel and put them on the same flash drive as the Windows ISO you are using (if that's how you are doing it)

When set up says it cannot detect your drive, click load drivers and select the same flash drive you are using and select the RST driver folder.
The drivers are here:

 

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jbcarreon123

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Before clean installing, here the steps you need to follow.

1. Create a Windows 11 ISO from MCT

2. Create a bootable Windows 11 from the created ISO

3. In another USB drive, create a Dell Recovery Media so you can go back if anything goes wrong.

4. Create a image using Macrium Reflect (only your needed files that don't have any backup)

5. Get a spare or another device and follow this while on the Windows 11 Setup.
 

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    Installed Windows 11 using the registry hack..
    Clean installed even Windows 10

Sephirote

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- So I've successfully created a Dell Recovery and restore USB Drive following Dell's instructions

- Followed Kyhi's instructions and I created a Windows 11 drivers folder on the desktop (1st command)
- Then I think it successfully extracted host drivers to the folder using the 2nd DISM command

Cm1UrwI.png


I think it looks good. I'm going to boot up Windows installer and see if I can get it now to see my partitions
 

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jbcarreon123

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I think it looks good. I'm going to boot up Windows installer and see if I can get it now to see my partitions
Get a another USB drive, then put the drivers on the another USB drive, and plug it in while on Setup. Press Load Driver while on the Partition page.
 

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    HP Compaq LA2006x
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    Patriot Burst 240GB SATA III SSD
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    40MBit/s
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    WD
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    Second-hand PC,
    No TPM, having WDDM 1.2, unsupported CPU.
    Installed Windows 11 using the registry hack..
    Clean installed even Windows 10

Sephirote

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As said, if you are going to clean install, format the entire disk and let Windows set the partitions. Get the RST drivers from Intel and put them on the same flash drive as the Windows ISO you are using (if that's how you are doing it)

When set up says it cannot detect your drive, click load drivers and select the same flash drive you are using and select the RST driver folder.
The drivers are here:


How do you go about adding the host drivers on the same flash drive as the bootable flash drive I created with Windows 11 Media creation tool?
 

My Computer

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    11th Gen Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-11800H
    Memory
    32GB
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    Nvidia Gefore RTX 3050 Ti
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    OLED
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