Remove Old Windows Installs


I just bought and installed Windows 7 Pro. Previously, I was dual-booting Windows 7 RC and Windows XP on a 500GB split-partitioned drive. Windows 7 Pro is on a new 320GB HDD.

How do I remove Windows XP and 7 RC from the boot selection screen and just have the computer boot straight into Win7 Pro with no selection screen?

Once I take care of that, I want to remove the partition and use the 500GB HD as data backup. All my data stored on the partitioned drive has been moved over to either the C: drive (7 Pro) or another 320GB HD installed or an external HD.

—Jeff W

We’ll take this one step at a time. Your MBR likely resides on the drive your first two installs are on, so you need to move it to the new drive. First, power down your computer. Disconnect the 500GB drive with your old Windows installs on it, so only your Windows 7 Pro drive is connected. Now find your Windows 7 installation DVD, and boot from it. Once you’re past the keyboard and language setting screens, click Repair Your Computer and go to the command prompt. Enter bootsect /nt60 C:\ to repair your master boot record. Restart your computer. It should boot right into your Windows 7 installation.

Windows' built-in Disk Management tool is sufficient for basic tasks, like deleting or resizing old partitions.

Once you’ve done that, you can move to the second (and easier) part. Shut down your computer again and reconnect the old partitioned drive. Boot into the BIOS and make sure your first boot priority is the drive with your Win7 Pro install, then boot into that. Go to Computer Management (you can type it into the Start Menu’s run box), then Storage, then Disk Management (Local). You’ll see entries for all your physical disks. Right-click one of the partitions you want to remove and select Delete Volume, then do the same for the other. You should then have a drive with 500GB of free space. Right-click that free space and select New Volume; follow the prompts to create a new NTFS partition. Format the drive and you’re good to go.

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