Forum Thread

Dell "READER" Partition?

Dr. J 25,043 3,353 February 15, 2011 at 09:34 AM
I'm used to OEM's including "backup" or ghost partitions of OS's for means of restoring a PC to its factory state. So, when I got my new work laptop I wasn't surprised to see a spare partition on the drive, but this one apparently isn't for backup - it's "READER", whatever the hell that means.

I can't find much info online - but perhaps it is the Dell Latitude "ON" feature?

Anyway, it's currently my "D" drive and I created a separate partition on the drive to move my files to (e.g. one partition for the OS and the second for personal files). This means my data drive is now drive E - I'd like it to be D and I don't want to have to move the files twice.

Can I delete this partition? Can I just change the drive letter? Will it crap out or something?

11 Comments

1

Sign up for a Slickdeals account to remove this ad.

Joined Nov 2005
L10: Grand Master
25,043 Posts
3,353 Reputation
Original Poster
Pro
#2
Well I found that this is some sort of "instant on" type of functionality - the partition is a Linux OS with some basic tools which allows you to view calendar appts, check emails, etc without booting into windows. It is accessed by what is essentially a second power button for the machine, located next to the "real" power button.

What I can't figure out is how the system knows where to look for the partition. The BIOS has a setting for "Dell Instant On" (enabled/disabled), which basically enables functionality of the second power button and tells the system to boot to the other OS.

But..... there are no settings for WHERE to find that OS - does the system look for a specific drive letter? partition #? drive name?
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Jan 2006
L10: Grand Master
11,221 Posts
1,465 Reputation
#3
are you able to see the files in the D drive? What file-system type is it?
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Heifer whines could be human cries
Closer comes the screaming knife
Joined Mar 2007
Password: ••••••••
21,218 Posts
1,587 Reputation
#4
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
I'd like it to be D and I don't want to have to move the files twice.
Why would you have to move files twice?

Quote :
Can I delete this partition? Can I just change the drive letter? Will it crap out or something?
You can simply delete the partition or change the drive letter. Drive letters are purely a Windows construct and the BIOS knows nothing and cares not for which partitions are which letter.

The way (I think) it works is that when you press the Latitude ON button, the BIOS looks for a partition with a special marking in the BIOS. When it finds that partition, it loads the bootloader on that partition and away you go.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Steve Gibson on password policies [grc.com]: I mean, I don't get this change it every eight weeks. ... It's not as if passwords are traveling by camel after they've been stolen, going to the bad guys, and so there's, like, some weird eight-week window, like, oh, we're going to change your password so that the stale password no longer works. ... And all this does is make IT people despised because users, who are not dumb, they think, why am I - why do I have to do this? What problem is this solving?
#5
You can unmount the D: drive and then remount the E: drive as D: using Disk Management's "Change drive letter and path" (Start -> Run -> diskmgmt.msc). You may need to reboot when you try to unmount drive D:.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Nov 2005
L10: Grand Master
25,043 Posts
3,353 Reputation
Original Poster
Pro
#6
Quote from flea View Post :
You can unmount the D: drive and then remount the E: drive as D: using Disk Management's "Change drive letter and path" (Start -> Run -> diskmgmt.msc). You may need to reboot when you try to unmount drive D:.
I wound up doing this yesterday.

I'm just interested in how the BIOS "knows" where the "ON" partition is.

This is what pisses me off about OEM's - they give you a nice big HDD, then sloppily set it up - one giant drive for the OS and your files (why not 2 separate ones????), backup partitions, then unallocated space. WTF?
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Mar 2007
Password: ••••••••
21,218 Posts
1,587 Reputation
#7
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
I wound up doing this yesterday.

I'm just interested in how the BIOS "knows" where the "ON" partition is.

This is what pisses me off about OEM's - they give you a nice big HDD, then sloppily set it up - one giant drive for the OS and your files (why not 2 separate ones????), backup partitions, then unallocated space. WTF?
This isn't sloppy at all. Some of us, me included, don't want their drives chopped up. I have no use, whatsoever, for a separate partition for my data. I back it all up regularly and would much rather have the flexibility to put whatever size data on it that I want than having to bother with folder redirection and which partition has enough room. If they did split it, what ratio should they split it? And no matter what they pick, someone is going to complain that it doesn't meet their needs.

The best solution is to make it one large partition and then more technical users can easily split it using built-in tools if they need to. And the Latitude ON partition isn't really taking up that much of your space.

Functionality wise, the BIOS looks for a partition meeting certain criteria. Probably a flag in the partition table and then acts as if that is the active partition and boots from it.


But why would this partition change the number of times you have to move your files???
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Nov 2005
L10: Grand Master
25,043 Posts
3,353 Reputation
Original Poster
Pro
#8
Quote from redmaxx View Post :
This isn't sloppy at all. Some of us, me included, don't want their drives chopped up. I have no use, whatsoever, for a separate partition for my data. I back it all up regularly and would much rather have the flexibility to put whatever size data on it that I want than having to bother with folder redirection and which partition has enough room. If they did split it, what ratio should they split it? And no matter what they pick, someone is going to complain that it doesn't meet their needs.

The best solution is to make it one large partition and then more technical users can easily split it using built-in tools if they need to. And the Latitude ON partition isn't really taking up that much of your space.

Functionality wise, the BIOS looks for a partition meeting certain criteria. Probably a flag in the partition table and then acts as if that is the active partition and boots from it.


But why would this partition change the number of times you have to move your files???

It would be a long winded explanation...........
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0

Sign up for a Slickdeals account to remove this ad.

Joined Mar 2007
Password: ••••••••
21,218 Posts
1,587 Reputation
#9
Quote from Dr. J View Post :
It would be a long winded explanation...........
Huh I'm intrigued...
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
#10
The reader partition can have a unique id. The bios can have a pointer pointing to that partition id (different from filesystem id) and boot it directly as long as there is a boot manager in place. It's similar to how you can press F12 at boot up and choose the options to boot from either hd or cdrom or do diagnoses except here the BIOS use that instant on button as a trigger to boot into that reader partition.

That's my guess.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Joined Nov 2005
L10: Grand Master
25,043 Posts
3,353 Reputation
Original Poster
Pro
#11
Quote from teetee1 View Post :
The reader partition can have a unique id. The bios can have a pointer pointing to that partition id (different from filesystem id) and boot it directly as long as there is a boot manager in place. It's similar to how you can press F12 at boot up and choose the options to boot from either hd or cdrom or do diagnoses except here the BIOS use that instant on button as a trigger to boot into that reader partition.

That's my guess.
I asked the question because apparently if you delete the partition and reclaim the space, and if in the future you want to re-install it, you can just by creating another ~ 2 GB partition and d/l some stuff from Dell.
Reply Helpful Comment? 0 0
Page 1 of 1
1
Join the Conversation
Add a Comment
 
Copyright 1999 - 2016. Slickdeals, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Copyright / Infringement Policy  •  Privacy Policy  •  Terms of Service  •  Acceptable Use Policy (Rules)  •  Interest-Based Ads
Link Copied to Clipboard