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How to access the recovery and boot partition in Windows 10

The hard disk or the SSD on your system is divided into smaller volumes/drives. File Explorer only shows drives that users can save files to but there are other, smaller drives/partitions that you can’t see. These partitions contain the EFI or the boot information or recovery information. If you view a list of volumes on your HDD or SSD via Command Prompt, or via the Disk Management utility on Windows 10, you will be able to see the size of these partitions, and how many there are.

Access boot partition in File Explorer

The boot and/or recovery partitions aren’t listed in File Explorer. There is no address that you can enter in the location bar to access them. You have to instead go through Command Prompt.

  1. Open Command Prompt with admin rights.
  2. Run the following command.
mountvol

  1. The command will return a list of all the volumes that your HDD or SSD is divided into. Note the GUID  given next to each volume and the *** NO MOUNT POINTS *** message.
  2. All volumes with *** NO MOUNT POINTS *** are boot or recovery drives.
  3. Copy the GUID of the volume you want to access.
  4. Run the following command. Replace ‘GUID’ with the GUID of the volume you want to access. Do not remove the curly braces.
start \\?\Volume{GUID}\

Example

start \\?\Volume{6718a8b3-0e21-4051-bd61-9c9ca9932023}
  1. Tap Enter.
  2. A new File Explorer window will open. You may be prompted to grant admin access. Click Continue to access the drive.

Unhide recovery partition

You cannot unhide the boot partition but recovery partitions can be unhidden. Once unhidden, you can access them from File Explorer without having to run the above commands in Command Prompt.

To unhide a recovery partition, follow these steps.

  1. Open Command Prompt with admin rights.
  2. Open the diskpart tool with this command: diskpart
  3. List all connected disks with this command: list disk. Note the number given to the disk.
  4. Select the disk with this command: select disk 0 (replace the number to match that of your disk).
  5. List all partitions with this command: list partitions.
  6. Select the partition you want to unhide: select partition 1 (replace the number with the number given to the partition you want to unhide.
  7. Double-check to make sure the partition is indeed hidden with this command: detail partition.
  8. Finally, unhide it with this command; set id = 07 override.

Need to hide the drive again? Follow this guide on hiding a recovery/reserved drive.

Conclusion

Boot and Recovery drivers are essential. They do not take up a lot of space so it is best to leave them untouched. Accessing files in them is easy, and you can create backups via File Explorer but never tamper with these files or drives unless you know what you’re doing.

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