The strongest critique we received about our recent guide on dual booting Windows 7 with XP/Vista was that we should’ve included information covering the likely event of you wanting to kick the beta OS to the curb, sooner or later.
Well, we couldn’t agree more, so as a follow up to that guide we’re going to look at the reverse process; deleting your Windows 7 partition and reallocating its hard drive space to another partition.
If you recall, in the dual boot guide we looked at two separate approaches for creating a new partition depending if you are running Windows Vista or Windows XP, and we intend to do the same here.
Before we get started, if you prefer to use the GParted tool for any reason, feel free to do so, though it’s not altogether necessary. Be sure to have your Vista DVD on-hand to repair potential boot loader complications.
Before proceeding realize that by removing your Windows 7 installation and partition you will be deleting any documents, pictures, videos etc. which you’ve accumulated on the Windows 7 partition if you haven’t backed them up previously, so consider doing that before continuing.
Once you are ready, boot up Vista, click the Start menu and enter “diskmgmt.msc” into the search bar. A window titled “Disk Management” should open displaying basic information about the drives attached to your PC.
Now, at this point you may or may not be able to boot into Vista as you’ve just potentially botched your boot loader – don’t worry! Even if you can access Vista but want to get rid of the OS selection during boot up, continue reading.
Break out your Vista DVD, boot off it and after the initial loading/configuration process you should be met with a screen with three potential options: “Install now”, “What to know before installing Windows” and “Repair your computer”, we want the third option, “Repair your computer”.
You’ll then be asked to choose a recovery tool. We’ll be going with the first one there, “Startup Repair”.
Eventually the utility should proclaim the issues to have been resolved at which point you can boot normally and remove your Vista DVD from the drive.
We will look at a similar process.
Download the latest copy of GParted here, and then burn it to a disc as an image file.
After you’ve downloaded and burned your image of GParted, pop it in your optical drive and reboot. Shortly after booting off the disk you’ll have to choose your preferred language, keymap and screen resolution.
Once the partition software has loaded, right click the partition where Windows 7 resides (it’s probably the second partition on “dev/hda1” if you followed our dual boot guide) and choose “Delete”.
You should now see unallocated space on your hard drive where Windows 7 once laid.
Right click your original (and probably only remaining) partition, choose “Resize/Move” and fill in 0 for both the free space preceding and following to occupy the entire unallocated space.
Be sure to click apply or all changes made thus far will not be put into effect.
Now, at this point you may or may not be able to boot into XP as you’ve just potentially botched your boot loader – don’t worry! Even if you can access XP but want to get rid of the OS selection during boot up, continue reading.Boot using your Windows XP CD and after the initial loading process you should be met with three options: “Enter” to setup Windows, “R” to load the Recovery Console and “F3” to quit without doing anything, we want to hit “R” for the Recovery Console.
The Recovery Console will search for all instances of Windows and ask you to select one. Enter the number pertaining to your XP installation, and you’ll be prompted for an Administrator password (if you’re not sure what it is you likely don’t have one, just hit enter).
Now, enter “fixmbr” (confirm with “y”) and upon completion enter “fixboot” (confirm with “y”).
Enter “exit” to reboot your system, remove your XP CD and you should be good to go.