Thread: formatting
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08 May 2011  

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by niff View Post
hi friends............. i'm new here..........

i hav Win Xp & Win 7..............i hav'nt used XP much..............but it was a week ago that i found somthn wrong with my XP.........i want to format it, when i tried it says "windows was unable to complete format"...........i jus need to 4mat it somhw............
Did you have WinXP installed originally, and then you installed Win7 as a second OS?

Single hard drive, with multiple partitions on it? Or even multiple hard drives, with WinXP on one partition of some drive and Win7 on another partition of that same or different drive?

If so, then your WinXP partition is no doubt the "active" partition on that drive, which is set in the BIOS to be "hard disk #1". That defines the WinXP partition to be where the BIOS goes to start the boot process.

On that WinXP partition is the boot manager, which presents the boot menu which enables you to then choose between WinXP and Win7 (which is probably set to be the default OS to boot). Originally, it was the WinXP boot loader that was on that partition, but when you installed Win7 as a second OS the Win7 installation process changed the boot manager on the WinXP partition to be the Win7 boot manager.

So... since the WinXP partition is CRITICAL to the whole integrity of your 2-OS environment, and is characterized as being the "active" partition where the BIOS goes to boot, I'm sure that Win7 is smart enough to know that you CANNOT FORMAT THAT PARTITION... because it is "active" and CRUCIAL to the entire boot process that allows you to choose to boot Win7.

I don't think you will be able to FORMAT your WinXP partition and revert from a 2-OS environment to a 1-OS environment, without actually formatting everything on that drive (i.e. deleting the partitions and re-creating them, or at the very least formatting both WinXP and Win7 partitions) and then reinstalling Win7 from scratch... into a pure 1-OS environment, namely Win7 only.

I don't know if it's possible to use a 3rd-party program such as EasyBCD to actually create new boot manager files on the Win7 partition, and then use a 3rd-party program such as Partition Wizard to change the "active" partition to be the Win7 partition.

But if that can be done, my hunch is that you will THEN be able to FORMAT the WinXP partition (and make it available as a completely new partition for data) while running booted to Win7. Or, you can certainly FORMAT the WinXP partition while running from Partition Wizard's standalone boot CD.

Or, once you get to the 1-OS environment then you can even delete the old WinXP partition and merge its space into an existing partition on either side of it, thus enlarging that partition. You can do whatever you want... but first you need to change the "active" partition to be the Win7 partition, and that means you need to get the boot manager files onto the Win7 partition.

Normally, installing Win7 on a completely empty drive as a brand new 1-OS environment, the Win7 installer will create a small 100MB "system reserved" partition which is marked as "active", and the Win7 boot manager files are placed there. Then, a second large C-partition is created, into which the real Win7 OS is installed. So, if you really can accept reinstalling Win7 from scratch, that would be the normally recommended approach... format the whole drive, and install Win7 only as a 1-OS target.

Otherwise, if you want to "salvage" your existing Win7 and just get rid of the WinXP partition, the issue is what I've described above... you need to (a) make the Win7 partition the "active" partition, and (b) get the Win7 boot manager files planted onto that Win7 partition. Once that's done you will now be able to get rid of your WinXP partition and do whatever you want with it.

NOTE: if you actually have more than one hard drive, and WinXP was on a partition of one drive (marked as "active", and "hard disk #1" in the BIOS) and Win7 was on a partition of a different hard drive (say "hard disk #2" in the BIOS), then you'll have to make your Win7 drive "hard disk #1" in the BIOS, and also mark its partition "active"... in order to swap from your current 2-OS world to a 1-OS world. Again, this would only be necessary if you have your WinXP and Win7 on different hard drives right now.

That's my theory.
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