Contrary to popular belief, a hard drive cannot partition itself. However, there are circumstances when a hard drive may appear to partition itself. The cause of this apparent self-partitioning is restoration software installed by OEM (original equipment manufacturer) computer companies, such as Compaq or Dell, that sets aside a portion of a hard drive for future system restores. This issue can easily be resolved within the operating system with little technical knowledge by the computer user.
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1. Preparation:
Prior to removing this restoration partition it is necessary to ensure you have properly backed up your critical system data. Many OEM computers do not come with operating system installation discs and this is the very reason the restoration partition is created during a system restore. Ensure that you have an operating system installation disc and installation files for all pertinent applications that came with your computer. Not performing this task may result in the inability to restore your operating system or programs at a later date.

2. Assessing the Excess Partition:
The excess partition created is usually only a few gigabytes in size. Unless you are very certain of your need for this drive space, it is highly recommended you simply leave the partition alone. To ascertain the size of this partition and its relevance to your capacity needs, simply enter the term “Computer Management” into the Windows search box within the “Start Menu.” Click the icon that is returned in the results and then left-click the “Disk Management” heading on the left side of the dialog box that results. This will list all drives and their partitions. Locate the drive the secondary partition is on and review its size.

3. Recovering the Partiton:
Right-click the partition you wish to remove and recover. Select the “Delete Volume” heading under the context menu which appears. This will remove the partition permanently and you will lose all data related to this partition. Now you must extend the partition you wish to keep by simply right-clicking that partition and selecting “Extend Partition” in the context menu that results. A dialog box will appear asking you how much of the newly unpartitioned space you would like to extend this partition by. The default is set to extend it to encompass the entire remaining space available on the disc. Simply click the “OK” button and the partition will be extended to encompass the entire drive space and leave you with one partition. This will preclude the possibility of the hard drive partitioning itself in the future as well, assuming you do not use an OEM supplied restoration disc in the future to restore your system.

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