Hidden partition / true hidden partition
Boot-US supports the hiding of partitions both for MBR and GPT partitions.
In general the idea of partition hididng is to prevent operating systems (e.g. Windows)
from accessing certain partitions.
For example, if more than one primary C: partitions are present on a hard disk
the assignment of drive letters to these partitions might lead to problems.
These problems can be avoided if all but one of these primary C: partitions are hidden.
It is then possible to boot only from the remaining non-hidden partition. The other
C: partitions are not visible, i.e. they are considered as unknown partitions.
The drive letter C: is thus always automatically assigned to the booted operating system.
1. MBR partitions
Simple hidden partition:
To (simple) hide MBR partitions the value 10h is added to the partition ID. And
to make a partition visible only this value 10h needs to be subtracted from the
partition ID. The OS/2 boot manager uses the same scheme for hiding partitions.
Both in the configuration program Boot-US and in the boot manager
Boot-US only partitions which use drive letters can be hidden. Hiding
partitions therefore applies only to the following partition IDs:
01h, 04h, 06h, 07h, 0Bh, 0Ch and 0Eh, (see
list of recognized partition IDs).
All other partitions (e.g. Linux with partition ID 83h) cannot be hid.
True hidden partition:
The simple method of hiding a partition described above does not work with Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/10.
This means, even if the partition ID is switched to hidden, the partition is accessible
under Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/10. To true hide the partition the boot sector is additionally
changed. Hence true hiding a partition means to change both the partition ID and the boot sector.
Then the partition is not anymore recognized by Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/10.
Starting with Windows 10 version 1703 it is necessary to change the boot sector
and the end sector of a NTFS partition. Only then Windows does not recognize
the file system of the respective partition any more.
Boot-US 3.7.0 (and higher) contains this improved version of true hiding a partition.
It is possible that Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista/2008/7/8/10 considers a true hidden partition as unformatted.
This can be changed by removing the drive letter from a true hidden partition. This prevents that you
accidentally format such an "unformatted" partition thereby deleting all existing data
on that partition. Drive letters are assigned or removed within the Windows disk administrator (Computer Management / Storage / Disk Management).
2. GPT partitions
To (simple) hide a GPT partition the HIDDEN bit of the attribute value of the GPT partition is set.
To unhide the partition the HIDDEN bit is cleared.
The GUID partition type remains unchanged.
The CRC checksums in the GPT table are recomputed and updated when an attribute value changes.
Boot-US supports the hiding of GPT partitions only for the type Microsoft basic data and the file systems
FAT16, FAT32, exFAT and NTFS.
True hidden partition:
Starting with Boot-US 3.7.0 the MBR method for true hiding a partition can be applied also to GPT partitions
of type Microsoft basic data.
Here again the boot sector and the end sector (if necessary) are changed which prevents Windows
from recognizing the file system of the true hidden partition.
As a consequence the partition is not anymore accessible by Windows.
The change of the boot and end sector can be easily reverted which makes the partition accessible again.