Inside the Dell PC Restore Partition
An Exploration by Dan Goodell
Fixing PBR Descriptor Alerts
Dell apparantly calls each partition table entry a "Partition Boot
Record descriptor", as it describes where the partition's boot record is
and what type of file system it contains. It is this "Type" indicator that Dell
tinkers with for the Dell Utility partition and the Dell Restore partition.
Note the partition itself is not altered, but changing this one byte in the
partition table descriptor has the effect of disguising the partition from
operating systems and utilities. Even sophisticated utilities like Partition
Magic identify the disguised partitions as "EISA", "CTOS", or "CP/M" instead
of "FAT16" and "FAT32".
The easiest way of correcting the partition-type indicators is with ptedit.
Boot from a DOS boot disk, load a DOS mouse driver, and launch ptedit.exe.
(Note to reader: ptedit is tough to use without a mouse,
so make sure you load a DOS mouse driver before launching ptedit.)
Use the mouse and keyboard to change the entries in the 'Type' column.
A normal Dell system should show 'DE' as the first partition's type,
'07' for the second partition, and 'DB' for the third partition.
A value of '80' in the Boot column indicates the active partition. A normal
Dell system should show '80' for the second partition, the Windows NTFS
(Type-07) partition. There must be only one active partition, so make sure
the other three partitions show '00' in the Boot column.