Why are One or More Partitions not Visible from My OS when They Should Be, or Why are They Visible from My OS when They Shouldn’t Be?
Special Note Regarding External Drives
If an external drive is connected to the computer and supported by the computer's BIOS at the time BootIt BM is installed or updated, an EMBR may automatically be created on the drive. Common types of external drives that fall into this category include USB hard drives, USB flash drives, and eSATA drives (basically, any drive the BIOS maps as a normal drive). Whether or not an EMBR gets placed on an external drive also depends on the install options selected and the final location of the BootIt BM installation.
Usually, an EMBR is not desired on an external drive as all partitions should be visible on any computer to which the drive is connected. Having an EMBR on the drive means that each boot item must load the partitions into the drive's MBR for that item. Connecting the drive to a computer without BootIt BM will result in the last loaded partition(s) being visible or, possibly, no partitions being visible. In this case, all or part of the drive would appear to be completely empty (unallocated space).
To fix this problem, boot into BootIt BM and enter Partition Work. Select the external drive from the Drives drop-down box, click the Change Disk Type button, click the MBR button, and finally click the Yes button to confirm the conversion.
To avoid this problem, make sure the external drive is disconnected when BootIt BM is installed or updated.
The exact answer to the problem of why some partitions are visible or not depends on how you are booting (i.e. whether you are using BootIt BM's Normal or Direct boot menu), and whether or not you have the Limit Primaries setting enabled for the drive. Note that this option is located in two places -- in Settings and in Drive Settings. The Limit Primaries option in Settings is the global option, which can be overridden in Drive Settings on a per drive basis. Make sure to check both places when verifying the status of the option.
Choose the scenario below that applies to you:
1) You are booting the OS from the Normal boot menu and the "Limit Primaries" option is not enabled for the drive.
When primaries are not limited, making a primary partition visible requires that it be loaded in the MBR and it also requires that it not be hidden. Conversely, for a primary partition to not be visible to an OS, it either has to be removed from the MBR or it has to be hidden. These things can all be checked and corrected by going into Boot Edit and choosing to Edit the boot menu item in question. The MBR Details section will list which partitions from each hard drive will be loaded for that boot item and which of the loaded ones are hidden. Partitions can be added to or removed from the MBR by using the Fill/Clear buttons. Partitions can be hidden/unhidden by using the Hide/Unhide button.
For extended partitions, click on the Volumes button to show the volumes, and then use the Hide/Unhide button to toggle the status of each individual volume. Volumes can not be individually Filled/Cleared, although the entire extended partition (including all volumes) can be.
2) You are booting the OS from the Normal boot menu and the "Limit Primaries" option is enabled for the drive.
When primaries are limited, all primaries on all drives will always be loaded in the MBR and the Fill/Clear buttons will have no affect. To control which partitions are visible, you need to hide/unhide them by going into Boot Edit and then Edit the boot menu item in question. The MBR Details section will show which partitions are hidden. Use the Hide/Unhide button to toggle the status of each partition as desired.
For an extended partition, click on the Volumes button to show the volumes. Then use the Hide/Unhide button to toggle the status of each individual volume.
3) You are booting the OS from the Direct Boot Menu and the "Limit Primaries" option is not enabled for the drive.
Because primaries are not limited, only the boot partition will be visible when you boot from the Direct Boot Menu. This is true regardless of what you do with any other settings anywhere within BootIt BM. To have full control over the partitions with primaries NOT limited, you need to use the Normal boot menu.
4) You are booting the OS from the Direct Boot Menu and the "Limit Primaries" option is enabled for the drive.
Primaries are limited, so all partitions on all drives will always be loaded in the MBR. In this case, the hiding/unhiding of partitions is controlled by the setting shown in the Hide column on the Direct Boot Menu, next to the partition you are booting. There are choices of Auto, All, Some, None, and As-Is. The effect of each of these settings is explained in the manual and in the BootIt BM Help screens. You can change this setting by going to Item >> Hiding on the Direct boot screen. The only hide setting that has any affect is the one shown for the partition from which you are currently booting.
5) You are running Win2K/XP/2003 and you still have one or more partitions visible that shouldn't be, even though you have read the 4 scenarios above and have tried what was suggested.
This can happen under certain circumstances with Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows 2003. To resolve this issue, see the article titled How to Alter or Remove Drive Letters in Windows 2000/XP/2003.