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Windows 7: Win 7 Pre-Installation Advice please

06 Oct 2010   #1

W7 Home Prem, Vista home Prem
Win 7 Pre-Installation Advice please

Hi Folks,

New to the forums and frantically reading the millions of threads and posts. Overwhelming! However I have some questions which are more 'what would you do/advise' oriented before I get stuck in at the weekend.

Current System info (that matters):
Vista Home Premium x64
C: Vista Installed here (300gb) - no more partitions. 200 gb free.
D: Data drive (1TB) - mainly games, photos, vids

Ok so my new Win 7 software arrived today (Home Premium full retail) - here are my goals:

Get Win 7 installed whilst still being able to boot to Vista
Once Im happy - its bye bye Vista - I have no desire to dual boot these two

However I have several options to achieve this and here is where your advice is required:

a) Shrink my Vista partition on C:\ and install Win 7 here
b) Partition my D:\ and install Win 7 here
c) By a 3rd HDD (im tempted) and Install Win 7 here.

I want the easiest solution possible. Ive heard shrinking a vista partition can yield a really poor shrink due to immovable data, pagefile etc and the work involved in getting a good shrink is probably beyond my abilities (and patience).

if I but a new HDD and whack Win 7 on that....i see two more options:
1) Vista is aware of what I do
2) I unplug the Vista Drive and install Win 7 on the new drive and use Bios to choose which drive I boot from rather than using a boot some of you are probably sniggering about now cos I just reached the very edge of my understanding....

So perhaps I should hand over to you and your advice. just remember that once Win 7 is up and running and everything is stable - i dont want Vista anymore and I WILL want to reclaim my 300 Gb C: to use elsewhere (media server/NAS) and as such I dont want Win 7 falling over when I pull the plug/format it. Im sure easyBCD is going to get mentioned.

Anyhow...what do you far more experienced folks think?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2010   #2
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello IcarusII, welcome to Seven Forums!

To me, the best way would be to shrink the Vista partition is from the left so that Windows 7 will be on the first partition on the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) it's very easy and safe to do using the third party Partition Wizard boot disk; then it will be easier to reclaim the space used by Vista into the Windows 7 partition; have a look at this tutorial at the link below for an out-line on the procedure.

Dual Boot : Create Partitions Using PWBD

You were more correct than you thought when you mentioned another HDD, have a look at the info below for some ideas; be sure to post back with any further questions you may have and to keep us informed.
information   Information

The easiest way to do away with boot issues between separate Operating Systems (OS) is to use the BIOS one time boot menu to select which OS to boot at system startup, each motherboard has an individual hot-key to tap during system start-up to access this menu.

If you have 2 separate Hard Disk Drives (HDD) and have one OS installed to one HDD and you want to install another OS to the second HDD, disconnect the HDD with the first OS installed on it and leave only the HDD you want to install the second OS to connected.
Just be sure not to change where the original HDD SATA cable was connected, it has to be re-connected to the exact same port to avoid boot issues.

Install the second OS to the connected HDD and when complete and the system is booting good, power down and reconnect the first HDD with the first OS on it.

This way the OSs will boot independently of each other and there will be no boot conflicts between the 2 separate OSs to have to sort later.

Then set the BIOS to boot the HDD / OS you want as default and if you want to start the other (new) OS you use the BIOS one-time boot menu to select that HDD / OS to start when the PC is started.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2010   #3
Microsoft MVP


Actually you are more advanced than most Users if you know that booting via BIOS with OS's on separate HD's is the best arrangement. You are also correct that you would want to unplug Vista HD during install if you do this.

However, since you want to get rid of Vista soon afterward you might want to consider the same-HD Dual Boot BarefootKid refers to above so that you have Win7 in first partition and can delete Vista easier when ready.

There is only one complication: Win7 should place the Dual Boot files on the Vista partition so that it remains System Active. In order to remove Vista, you'll need to again use Partition Wizard CD to Modify>mark Win7 partition Active, Delete Vista partition, then boot into the Win7 DVD Repair console to run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times to write the System MBR to Win7.

Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times
My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 Oct 2010   #4
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

He could use Partition Wizard during the "create" to mark the Windows 7 as active for the install then all he'd have to do is use EasyBCD to add a boot entry for the Vista and that will do away with the startup repairs when the time comes to remove Vista, then, all that will need done is to delete the Vista partition.

EasyBCD Free Boot Manager Software

Though it would be better to do a partition specific wipe "secure erase" of the Vista partition before it is deleted to remove all the old Vista code; have a look at Option Three of this tutorial for an out-line of the wipe procedure.

Partition Wizard : Use the Bootable CD
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2010   #5

W7 Home Prem, Vista home Prem


Thanks for the welcome (nice to see a fellow Christian banging around in the ether :) and thanks for the replies.

Im reading about the partitioning BarefootKid suggested and absorbing and comparing to the worries I have and really am just asking about how that works...

Ive read a previous tutorial (cant remember where) that gave 3 ways to create a new partition on the vista drive in order to install 7. Two of them were essentially the same....using Vista itself via either GUI or a prog on the 7 dvd to 'shrink' the partition. The other way was using a 3rd party app to do the partition move.

What im confused about was that I went through the process of 'shrinking' my Vista partition all the way to the penultimate stage (before the changes were commited) just to see what happened and from my 300Gb drive with 200Gb free, Vista would only shrink the partition by 80Gb....thus wasting 120 Gb.

What Im querying really is how does partitioning from the left actually work?
I understood the reason that Vista 'shrink' didnt recover much space was due to immovable files, pagefile, system restore points etc. So how does the PWBD get over this?

ive heard that some 3rd party apps will move the partition but becasue it does it unsympathetically, Vista then wont boot becasue the files arent where it left them? Just curious.

(i also was replying to the 1st 2 posts here - and i note there are now others which I need to read!)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2010   #6
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

We have had no issues suggesting the Partition Wizard program to people though it is still the rule BACKUP FIRST; is a good idea.

I would not try a very big shrink of Vista, remember you will be recovering the space into the Windows 7 partition before very long and the smaller the shrink the better; I don't feel one would need more than 40GB to install W_7 to in your situation.

Windows disk management won't shrink large amounts because it's not designed to do that; Windows puts the Master File Table in the middle of what space it has (is allocated) to install to and that is what concerns everyone but Partition Wizard seems to have no trouble moving it safely.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #7
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Hello again.

Be sure to post back with any further questions you may have and to keep us informed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #8

W7 Home Prem, Vista home Prem

Hi there,

I will definitely post back. I had another question but it was more suited to another thread so I asked there.

I spent most of last night (I'm in UK so it's noon now and I'm at work) downloading the recommended utilities from this forum for win7.

I'm just doing all the prep work so I've got all the profs, drivers etc available before uneven start! I'm sure I'll have more questions before the weekend.

Awesome forums, awesome resource. So glad I found it and thanks for being so friendly.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #9
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate

Welcome aboard Matt.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1

I had XP on my machine. When I decided to install Win 7, I just formated my HD and put it on. I had no desire to keep XP. If you are only keeping Vista to make sure you like Win 7, I think that is a lot of extra work. You won't find anyone on here who is sorry they switched to Win 7. It is the best OS ever made. It will simplify your whole process to get rid of Vista when you install Win 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Win 7 Pre-Installation Advice please

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