dual boot laption : delete partition vista installed on to free up space.

Hi Experts,
This is probably have a very basic question but im not sure if its possible.
I have a latop which has a 250GB internal drive.
When I got the PC it had vista installed. I got partition magic and a friend helped me set up partitions on the PC and install XP on the machine aswell (used some bootloader software). So I ended up with this setup:
C: Vista installed (75GB)
D: XP installed (75GB)
E: Files (100GB)

This was fine until i ran out of space :(
I dont use vista anymore so i was wondering if I could just format that partition and give that space to the E drive using partition magic. There is a boot script which i think resides on C:\boot\ to choose between xp and vista so i would have to sort the bootloader out first.

Basically my question is will my computer still boot if i dont have a C drive? Is there anything special about the C drive?
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noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
This is possible but we need to see first how your XP OS is booting.
Boot now to XP - right click on My Computer - Manage - Disk Management.
Take screen shot and post it here.
I will guide you through the movement if it is possible at all.
If you are trying to remove Vista to install Windows 7, I published the following article a while ago that may help you...
If you just want to remove Vista, you will need to delete the partition and configure the Windows XP partition to be the active partition. You will also need to recreate the file "boot.ini" which was probably deleted by Vista when it was installed because Vista does not use boot.ini but actually BCD (boot configuration database).
It is somewhat complicated, as noxcho mentioned above since you need to move the XP installation at the beginning of the drive (hopefully this is where it is located). This is why he is asking you to send the screen shot so we can see where it is.
If you are not very technically oriented or do not have a good understanding of how the partitions are layed out on a hard drive and how to move them and make them bootable, you will find this task challenging.
You might find helpful to take a look at this video. It will give you a good idea of how multi-boot works:


The video is using as an example XP and Windows 7 but the same principles apply to XP and Vista.
Bits ...

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When you delete the Vista Partiton their is a good chance that you will destroy your MBR or any files needed to boot with. The easiest way to do it (at-least to me) is to delete the Vista partition, then do a Windows XP Repair. This will fix your MBR back to original. They are other ways of  doing this but this is by far the easiest and learning to do a repair in Windows XP will be beneficial as many computers can be fixed using this method. After this is done you will need partition magic to shift your XP Partition so that the free space is next to the files drive. Then expand the files drive to use up the free space.

Forget all of this and use partition magic to shrink your vista partiton to as small as it will get hopefully less that 20GB. Then Shift your space around as needed with partition magic.

WindowsXP Repair install
GoTo:  http://michaelstevenstech.com/XPrepairinstall.htm

Go down the web Page and start reading Here
Please  read carefully and make sure you followed the warning links before  initiating the Repair Install. You can print a text version for  reference. repair.txt

1. Boot the computer using the XP CD. You  may need to change the boot order in the system BIOS so the CD boots  before the hard drive. Check your system documentation for steps to  access the BIOS and change the boot order.

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osionAuthor Commented:
wow! thanks for all the replies! I think i ve got a better idea of whats going on from the three posts.

noxcho: ok i'll get the screenshot of disk management :) In work at momrnt but will do it later.

BitsBytesandMore: Sounds like a good option. Im a programmer so im fairly technical but I havent a clue about hardware :( I'll give it a go though!!

EnriquePhoenix: The XP repair sounds good! :) I actually was thinking of leaving vista there but I only have 250 GB so i thought better to bite the bullet.

I think I've got a better idea of whats going on from the three posts. So I think a mix of BitsBytesandMore and EnriquePhoenix asnwers should work.
1) Install Acronis True Image Home
2) make and image of XP and then overwrite vista from it.
3) This will kill my booting thing but when its rebooting i stick in the XP cd and let it boot from that.
4) I then have to select repair. As EnriquePhoenix says this will recreate my boot stuff.
5) Delete the old XP partition

Is this it? Cheers!!
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
From description it seems to be easy. Like everything. But trust me when you go to the process it becomes complicated =)
First see where does your Windows XP boot from.
Second you must have Windows XP partition set Active to boot from it after repair.
Third your Boot.ini if located on XP partition should point to correct partition.
osionAuthor Commented:
thanks noxcho. I 'll not do anuthing until i get the device manager screenshot. :)
yeah..things always seem easier.
In the meantime II do have a pic of  the disks are now. Id actually tried to redistribute the free space from the vista drive but partition magic started giving out that my drive was in use and all that...
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Your drive looks strange. Can you take Windows Disk Management screen shot as well so we could compare them both?
osionAuthor Commented:
yep i ll do that tonight...
If you decide to remove Vista here is the correct method for removal.

Microsoft has made this step very simple as well.

   1. Boot your computer in to Windows XP.
   2. Ensure you have the Vista DVD image emulated or in the DVD drive.
   3. Go to “Start” and “Run”. Type in “e:\boot\bootsect.exe /nt52 ALL /force” (without quotes, and replacing e: with the drive letter of your Vista DVD).
   4. Restart the computer, and you will notice the boot selection menu is gone.
   5. Format the partition/drive where you had Vista installed.
   6. Remove two files (Boot.BAK & Bootsect.BAK) on your XP drive’s root folder (C:), these were backup files of your previous bootloader, now no longer useful.
   7. Optional: Restart to ensure it still works.
   8. Use your partition software to merge your partitions together.

And now you have returned your computer to its previous state, without Vista and without the new bootloader.
osionAuthor Commented:
hi all.heres the pic of my laptop..
looks like theres bits of space all over the place :(

Ok ... there is a lot going on here:
When I see the comparison of the Paragon image vs the Disk Management image above... I agree with noxcho... it may sound easy but you should actually expect problems.
What I would do if I HAVE TO (I really would do a clean install):
1. Make an image of the whole disk (I noticed that you are using Norton Ghost.... you might want to use Acronis to make this image - free fully functional 30 day trial) and also make the recovery boot disk from Acronis. This will allow you to go back to TODAY if all hell breaks loose.
2. Keep the restore partition.
3. Make an image of the XP Partition.
4. Delete the Vista partition and replace it with the image of the XP Partition.
5. Make the XP partition active and use the following tools to make it bootable:

Non Booting System:
Use any XP CD (Pro or Home) and try booting to the Recovery Console by selecting the Repair option at the first screen.
Execute the following commands:
fixboot  (repairs the boot sector if damaged)
fixmbr ( repairs the master boot record if damaged)
attrib -h c:\ntldr
attrib -s c:\ntldr
attrib -r c:\ntldr
attrib -h c:\ntdetect.com
attrib -s c:\ntdetect.com
attrib -r c:\ntdetect.com
This step assumes that the CD is device "D". If not, use the proper drive letter. You can look at the mapped drives by typing "map" (without quotes) and hitting enter.
copy d:\i386\ntldr c:\ntldr
reply "Y" to overwrite
copy d:\i386\ntdetect.com c:\ntdetect.com
reply "Y" to overwrite
attrib +h c:\ntdetect.com
attrib +s c:\ntdetect.com
attrib +r c:\ntdetect.com
attrib +r c:\ntldr
attrib +h c:\ntldr
attrib +s c:\ntldr
exit recovery console and reboot.
Yeah... I know... complicated.
It may be faster... more stable... better... If you do a clean install of XP....
Bits ...
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
He he, Bits, nice picturing, I really like it. What tool did you use for that?
Back to the discussion. Completely agree with Bits here. Reinstall it from scratch. That could be a real pain for you.
But, if you have time and another system as substitute for this PC for the time we dance around it then go on.
First try the steps suggested by Bits. They are wise.
I do this more simple way if necessary files are found on Vista partition such as:
ntldr ntdetect boot.ini etc. Do you have such files on Vista partition?
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Thanks buddy.
osionAuthor Commented:
ok guys thanks so much for posting all this info!!
well i know that things never go smoothly with computers :(
i m starting to think like you guys now..
i'll give bits technique a go it might just be easier to do a clean install alright
fingers crossed!!
i'll let u know how i go..thanks for all the help..
really appreciate it!
read carefully :)
If your friend used 3rd party boot software, deleting files on drive C should make no change on the booting process.
I Do not recommend formatting drive C.
osionAuthor Commented:
hey guys..
sorry for the delay in replying. new born babies really take up precious computer time!!
well as you all foretold its all gone a bit wrong :(

last night I tried using true image to make a copy of the xp install on the D drive.
stuck the image onto the formatted C drive.
went to boot with XP but the repair option wasnt there.
So I tried the commands BITS suggested with the recovery console didnt work.

Now It couldnt find hal.dll
I did find this article to fix that problem though: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314477 which said to use this command:
bootcfg /rebuild

Looked like it was working and all was going great!
i got my xp image working on C, booting and looking very familiar. All still looking great..
was going to break out a beer to celebrate when i thought i would try and move all the old XP files from the D drive rather than delete them outright. just to see if they were in use.... guess what YEP they were.
**Beer put back in fridge in disgust**

All ive really managed to do is stick a copy of XP on the C drive that points to programs on installed on D.
So basically everything is still refering to the D drive.

Was just about to start again when the thoughts of losing the celebratory beer got to much for me..
So here is what ive come up with...
- I've wiped the whole drive...
- Im currently installing XP on a small C partition (5 gig)
- Im gonna create a D drive and put the original XP image back on there.
- Then i 'll reboot and goto recovery console.
- I can use bootcfg /rebuild to get the D version of XP booting.
- HOPEFULLY i should be back to where i was before i stupidly tried to resize partitions!!

will have a 5 gig basic xppartition hanging around and an extra boot option but im fine with that.
I've lost some of the cds for my programs so id rather have the programs :)

does this sound crazy or is it remotely feasible.

osionAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone! In the end I fought it til the end but i'm reformatting the pc now :(
your help was great though...
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