Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


Botched Security Settings on System Recovery Partition

  1. #1


    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1, 64-bit (English)

    Botched Security Settings on System Recovery Partition


    I have an HP Stream14 notebook. The hard drive is only 32GB and I was trying to find a place where I might be able to gain some space (1.4GB free space with no local files stored! only software has been loaded). I noticed there is a ~8GB hidden partition at the end of the disk marked "Recovery". I assigned a drive letter and explored the root of the volume, which contained 2 folders. I could not access either of the folders due to security permissions.. this is where I botched it

    My goal was to see the contents of these folders in an attempt to determine if I could safely delete the partition. I changed the security permissions and owner to my user account expressly... stupid, stupid, stupid... should have at least set it to "everyone", that way I would be granted access and any existing principals would effectively retain their permissions as well.

    Next reboot.. "Windows failed to start"

    The intent of this thread is: A) to warn Windows 8.1 users of the pitfalls of messing with the Recovery Partition - whose existence I gather which is non-optional at this point and MUST remain accessible to "SYSTEM", B) to ask the community for help in using the command-line utility 'secedit' to restore the permissions to said volume, and finally, C) to complain about how stupid of a decision it was for Microsoft to have made this partition so finicky and paramount to system health, especially considering devices such as netbooks and Windows tablets offer such precious little wiggle room when it comes to keeping system disk usage in check.

    I have Active Boot Disk and Parted Magic.. I am fairly certain I will be able to use at least one of the two to change the security permissions without having to use command-line so, that's the plan as of right now..

    However, I was extremely confused by Microsoft's article on using the 'secedit' command-line utility and would like to pose this simple question for the time being: what is the syntax of the command if I want to set volume E: (and child object) security permissions to full control for principal "everyone" and ditto for changing the owner?

    In summation: backups, backups, backups if the operability of this device had been even the slightest bit more important to me, I surely would have not thrown caution to the wind.. furthermore, if a proprietary WiFi driver was not required for this notebook, Windows 8.1 would have already been long-since scrapped and replaced by a Linux distro.
    Please and thank you in advance for any insight you may be able to share on the subject!
    Commiseration on the subject is also welcomed, as I am pretty darn frustrated with this thorn-in-my-side of a partition

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Marion
    Posts : 111
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    You are correct. The Recovery partitions and partitions at the beginning of the drive should never be touched, as they are required to boot the system.

    That is probably a UEFI compliant system, So there are partitions at the beginning of the drive, such as

    Recovery
    EFI system partition
    MSR Reserved partition
    Primary Partition, For Windows Installation

    For Non UEFI systems the Partitions are

    System Reserved
    Primary Partition

    These Partitions contain the information for Windows to boot, whether its a normal boot, or Windows PE to recover the operating system from failure.

    For those who have a small hard drive - Such as a 32 GB drive, its suggested to make a system image on an external drive, buy a bigger hard drive, and restore the image to the new hard drive. A 32 GB drive is a good operating system drive, especially if its a SSD, but its more preferred for desktop systems that may have a 1 TB or larger for storage of programs and files.

    Sometimes errors like this happen, but its a learning experience.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1, 64-bit (English)


    Quote Originally Posted by lmaneke View Post
    That is probably a UEFI compliant system, So there are partitions at the beginning of the drive, such as

    Recovery
    EFI system partition
    MSR Reserved partition
    Primary Partition, For Windows Installation

    As far as I can tell, the system is UEFI compliant, yes.. There are (4) partitions on the system drive (which is in fact solid-state). The disc is basic and GPT partitioned as follows:

    System (150MB)
    Reserved (128MB)
    Primary (21GB)
    Recovery (7936MB)


    Quote Originally Posted by lmaneke View Post
    For those who have a small hard drive - Such as a 32 GB drive, its suggested to make a system image on an external drive, buy a bigger hard drive, and restore the image to the new hard drive. A 32 GB drive is a good operating system drive, especially if its a SSD, but its more preferred for desktop systems that may have a 1 TB or larger for storage of programs and files

    Unfortunately, both the flash storage and system memory are soldered directly to the motherboard of this notebook so it seems I am left with zero options for creating more breathing room for the OS.. What can you expect from a $300 full Windows notebook, I suppose, right? :P thankfully it does, however, have a microSD slot which is currently occupied by a 128GB card so I'm pretty much set with local file storage needs!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Marion
    Posts : 111
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Yeah that is true, I do like the system partitions but they surely are complicated.

    Are you able to get your system to boot?

    If not, you probably should download the Windows 8.1 installation media, if you google, there is a media creation tool you can download the media from a separate computer, save to either a flash drive, or burn a DVD, and do a startup repair and hope that will fix the boot problem and fix partitions.

    Not sure but worth a try.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 6
    Windows 8.1, 64-bit (English)


    Quote Originally Posted by lmaneke View Post
    Yeah that is true, I do like the system partitions but they surely are complicated.

    Are you able to get your system to boot?

    If not, you probably should download the Windows 8.1 installation media, if you google, there is a media creation tool you can download the media from a separate computer, save to either a flash drive, or burn a DVD, and do a startup repair and hope that will fix the boot problem and fix partitions.

    Not sure but worth a try.

    Personally, I'm accustomed to installing Windows 7 to a single partition with no system reserved partition. It just seems more elegant and less messy that way.

    I'll give the USB creation media repair a shot if I'm not able to straighten out the permissions issues offline

    Only issue with doing a clean install is that the notebook came with no product key information.. Otherwise I'd just do that and see if a non-UEFI, single-partition install would fly
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Marion
    Posts : 111
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Since that system is windows 8, the product key is integrated into the bios, so when you do a fresh install of 8 or 8.1, it will automatically detect the product key so u don't have to type it in.

    If you do a Windows 7 installation, you will need to go into the bios, and turn on compatibility support module "CSM" because since the bios has an integrated product key, windows 7 won't load in UEFI as the secure boot won't allow it.

    Boot to Windows 7 in a non UEFI environment and it will install fine. In UEFI installations, those partitions are required so you know.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Marion
    Posts : 111
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    You can extract it but not sure while you aren't in windows. I know a program called jellybean keyfinder or produkey, that I've used in the past to retrieve product keys.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    As far as I can tell, the system is UEFI compliant, yes.. There are (4) partitions on the system drive (which is in fact solid-state). The disc is basic and GPT partitioned as follows:

    System (150MB)
    Reserved (128MB)
    Primary (21GB)
    Recovery (7936MB)
    Your system is using WIMBOOT thus the 4th partition being labeled as recovery..

    Your system does not run windows in a full expanded state, but rather a compressed state, by use the install.wim contained in the recovery partition.. The C drive only contains pointer files to the wim file
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    also fyi > the recovery files are viewable by changing the folder attributes, after you assign the drive letter

    attrib -a -h -r -s R:\Recovery
    attrib -a -h -r -s R:\Images
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    Posts : 2,690
    Windows 3.1 > Windows 10


    I would suggest you download and create windows 8.1 setup media > Create installation media for Windows 8.1 - Windows Help

    boot from the media - and instead of selecting install - choose repair this computer

    NOT sure that will even fix a WIMBOOT setup
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    WimBoot images are applied, not installed via setup media..

    Attempting to do a clean install - may just screw you royally too..

    You have to gain access to your disk and copy the files that are on that recovery partition to a usb stick -
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    In my sig below is a special edition windows 8.1 recovery environment..

    Download the ISO and write its contents to a NTFS formatted 16GB USB stick - you need a 16GB to hold the recovery partition files
    Last edited by KYHI; 11 Jun 2015 at 02:33.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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Botched Security Settings on System Recovery Partition
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