Create Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 10 hidden recovery partition

This will guide you through the process of creating a hidden system partition that can be used as a Windows Vista or Windows 7 recovery partition. You can also do the initial Windows installation from this partition too.

Pay attention to drive letters, volumes and partitions as if you choose the wrong one and you have drives attached that contain data you will lose it!

Also, a handy tip… As you will be working from the console / command prompt you can use the up and down arrows to cycle through your previous commands.

Step 1: Boot your PC from DVD / USB using the Windows Vista / 7 / 10 DVD that you want to use to create your install and hidden restore partition.

Step 2: As soon as you see the language selection screen of the Windows setup press SHIFT + F10 to load the console.

// Preparing the drives //

Step 3: Type the following commands:


Step 4:

list disk

Step 5: You need to select the disk that you want to install Windows onto, this is usually drive 0, the drive can be identified correctly by it’s size.

select disk 0

Step 6:

list partition

Step 7: If any partitions are listed we need to delete them.
Warning: If you have any data on these partitions it will be destroyed!
If you don’t have any partitions listed or this is a brand new / blank drive then go to Step 9

Step 8:


Step 9:

list volume

Step 10: We need to remove any drive letters that may be already assigned to the volumes.
Select a volume with a letter assigned as follows but remember to check the volume numbers as they will be different on most machines.

select volume 0

Step 11: Now remove the drive letter and repeat steps 10 and 11 until all the drive letters have been removed .


Step 12: Now we need to select the volume that is our DVD drive or USB drive. The drive that contains our Windows installation files. We are going to assign it the drive letter F

select volume 0

Step 13:

assign letter=F

//Creating the partitions//

Step 14:

list disk

Step 15: Now we need to reselect the hard drive that we are going to install Windows to and the hidden partition to.

select disk 0

Step 16:

create partition primary size=5096

Step 17:

create partition primary

Step 17: We need to select the partition that is going to be our Windows installation, ie. Drive C

select partition 2

Step 18:

format fs=ntfs quick

Step 19:

assign letter=C

Step 20: Now we need to select the partition that is going to be our hidden / restore partition

select partition 1

Step 21:

format fs=ntfs quick label="Recovery"

Step 22:

assign letter=D

Step 23:


Step 24:


// Copying the installation files //

Step 25: Now we need to copy the Windows installation files from DVD / USB drive to the hidden partition

xcopy F: D: /h/i/s

Step 26: Now select the DVD / USB drive again


Step 27:

cd /boot

Step 28:

bootsect.exe /nt60 D:

Step 29:
Remove the Windows DVD / USB drive and restart the PC.
You can restart by typing:

wpeutil reboot

The Windows installation should now start

// Install Windows //

Step 30:
It is usually automatic but when given the option, make sure that Windows is installed to the partition you want it to, usually the largest one!

Step 31:
Once the Windows installation is complete, click on the START menu and type msconfig followed by ENTER

// Change boot menu timeout option //

Step 32:
Choose the Boot TAB and change the default Timeout: from 30 seconds to 3 seconds

Each time the PC boots, you now have a three second window where you can boot into the Recovery partition and fix or re-install Windows!

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