Need help re: "active" partitions?

#1
I have been having disk problems lately and noticed in Windows Disk Management that all of my drives (3 HDD and 1 RAMDisk) are shown as Healthy (Active, Primary Partition). My C: drive shows as Healthy (System, Boot, Page File, Active, Crash Dump, Primary Partition). I do not have the extra, what 100MB hidden partition that most new installs would have.

I use Easy BCD not for dual-booting, but rather so my boot menu contains not only Windows 7 but also selections for Acronis True Image and Puppy Linux (iso files). The ATI.iso is on my D: drive (totally separate hard drive).

When I read about Active partitions I find that "[only] the partition that you boot from should be Active" so I don't know why the D:, E:, and R:RAMDisk drives should be Active, though D: does have ATI.iso which could be needed at boot if I select that.

Anyway does anyone here know: should only C: be Active? Or C: and D: because of EasyBCD boot menu? Is it OK that they all are Active?
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#2
For an MBR formatted HDD, there can only be one active partition per HDD
"Active" is just a single bit set to 1 on one (and only one) of the partitions listed in the MBR partition table indicating to the BIOS "here's the partition with the next piece of code you need to continue the boot"
Every MBR formatted HDD contains a partition table in the MBR, so one (normally the first created) primary partition will be so marked.
It's of absolutely no significance or consequence unless you set the BIOS to boot from that HDD.

Disk Management flags have the following meanings

"boot" = "this is the system you're running"
"system" = "this is where I found the boot files for the currently running system"
"active" (on the first HDD in the BIOS boot sequence) = "this is where I started the search for the boot files"
"active" (on subsequent HDDs in the BIOS boot sequence) ="this is where I will look if I don't find something in the MBR on the first HDD"
 
#3
Terry60 thank you so much. I had surfed long and hard on this question and yours is the most succinct and understandable summary of the partition "options" that I have (never) found!

It even answers the subtler question I had when you state: It's of no significance OR CONSEQUENCE unless...

Good job, thanks again!