1 Reply Latest reply on Nov 11, 2013 11:47 AM by joe_intel

    Risks in using hidden partitions


      I multi-boot Windows and Linux using "Bootit Bare Metal" software from Terabyte Unlimited as my boot manager. The OS partitions are on my 240GB 530 series SSD, plus some data and swap partitions. This boot manager manipulates the Master Boot Record's partition table so that when any OS is booted it is presented with a subset of (up to 4 of) the partitions actually on the drive - the drive can be partitioned by this boot manager into up to 255 primary partitions. This means when an OS is running it thinks part of the drive is free space, whereas in reality these areas might contain hidden partitions. This has never been a problem with a magnetic disc drive as no program I have ever run has attempted to use the free space outside the defined partitions - of course I don't run disc partitioning tools within these OS's, I only use Bootit Bare Metal's partitioning tool.


      I have assumed in the past that the SSD is designed to be OS-agnostic i.e. it only works on the simple basis of read/write requests from the OS without trying to understand how the BIOS or OS organises partitions and file systems within partitions. I am a bit concerned that with the majority of users running Windows that the Intel engineers will design sophisticated intelligence to take advantage somehow of what Windows is doing when it detects Windows running.


      So I have the following concerns:


      1. In its normal operations, will the SSD look at the Master Boot Record and decide that it may use part of the "free space" outside of the defined partitions? If so, this might trash my hidden partitions.

      2. If I run "Intel SSD Optimizer" in the Intel SSD Toolbox  when running Windows, will it confine its activities to the defined partitions?

      3. I have assumed it is dangerous for me to run either the "Quick" or "Full" diagnostic scans of the Intel SSD Toolbox as it mentions utilising a 5GB area of "free space". I don't know how it determines free space. Is this free space within the defined partitions or could it try to use free space it might see outside the defined partitions? If it only uses free space within the defined partitions I assume I could safely run such scans.

        • 1. Re: Risks in using hidden partitions

          All operations in the SSD are handled by request of the operating system in use, and to be used with its compatible partitions. If we run the Intel® SSD Toolbox in Windows* it can only optimize or perform a full diagnostic on the partitions with a (Windows*) drive letter assigned; without such drive letter it can only run a read scan. This means that it will not write to any other partition from a different operating system.