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How to Remove a Vista Partition from a Vista/Windows 7 Dual Boot Installation

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This is the scenario:

You've been using Vista for some time and have a lot of applications and data; you don't want to delete your Vista install just yet so you decide to create a dual boot system with your RTM of Windows 7. After a while you get all your applications installed and configured in your new Windows 7 to the point where you are so happy that you do not want to start from scratch and you decide that you no longer want Vista or the Dual Boot. How to do this?

1. Log in to Window 7 and make a complete image of your hard drive through the backup utility included in Windows (just in case something goes wrong) to another drive (external if possible to avoid confusions-but internal works fine as long as it is not on the Vista or Win7 partitions).

2. Rename the Vista partition Os-Vista and the Windows Partition Os-Win7 so you can identify them later.

3. Move your data on the Vista partition to the Windows 7 partition corresponding data folders (make sure not to forget your favorites, .pst files, cookies, etc.).

4. Install Acronis True Image Home (trial version works fine). I have not tested with other popular partition managers like Paragon Partition Manager or Symantec Partition Magic but if they are able to copy complete partitions and overwrite them and do not have a 64-bit limitation they should (theoretically) work fine.

5. Make an image with Acronis of the Windows 7 partition and save it to your external drive or other internal drive - do not leave the image on the Vista or Windows 7 partitions.

6. Once the image is made and saved, overwrite the Vista Partition with the Windows 7 partition image you just created (it will want to reboot - this is ok).

7. Once this is done, Boot your computer from the Windows 7 DVD and select "Install" and keep on going until you get to the partitions screen. Select "Advanced". You will see 2 Os-Win7 partitions. Delete the 2nd one and cancel the Windows 7 installation.

8. Reboot and again go into your Windows 7 DVD but this time select the "Repair" option. It will find that the startup needs to be repaired. Allow it to repair automatically and to reboot again. Again go into the repair option and this time it will detect the Windows 7 installation and will offer you the option to use windows tools to repair. Repair the startup once more.

9. Done.

This is easy and it works fine.....The only caveat is that you lose/don't get the 100MB hidden "System Reserved" partition used for Bitlocker that you would have gotten if you would have done a clean install.

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Expert Comment

What was the Acronis image for, just in case things go wrong, or are there some missing steps?
LVL 22

Author Comment

You need to use Acronis in order to copy the Partition 2 (Windows 7 partition) and then to overwrite the Partition 1 (Windows Vista Partition). I haven't tested with other partition copy programs so if you like another, you can test and let us know. Of course, you could always do it the "Hard Way" using DiskPart and the BCDEdit command from the command prompt.
LVL 21

Expert Comment

Aah, yes, I see it now. The line "overwrite the Vista Partition with the Windows 7 partition image you just created" kind of slipped past me without clicking.

Expert Comment

Can you provide the screenshot as well? it would nice to follow the instruction with the screenshot.

Thanks for help

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