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Windows 7: Formatting hard drive containing old OS

27 Jun 2009   #1

windows 7 rc1
Formatting hard drive containing old OS

I'm currently using 7 RC1 build 7100, and my computer came with Vista 32-bit Home Premium. Is it a bad idea to format the first hard drive? I want to get rid of all the BS, as it's terribly slow using Vista now (7 working great), but I can't find the recovery disc and cannot find anyway to make a restore disc or boot off of the recovery partition in Vista.

I've posted a screenshot of my 7 disc management. The one with approx. 27 GB left contains Vista, and I now have all of my important files on my external drive, so I don't need it anymore.

Or is it possible to make a recovery disc using that partition anyway? Trust me, I've read everything I could find and I think my system only came with a disc, it's just that this disc management seems to show the "recovery partition" on the Vista drive.

Also, will this cause any problems? I read something about the boot partition maybe still being on the Vista drive, and the possible need to move it. 7 was installed on what was in Vista the "D" drive, although now they're swapped in 7 so the one I need to get rid of is now D instead of C.

I hope this makes sense, and thanks in advance for any help.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Jun 2009   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

Not sure quite what it is you want to do.

1. If you boot off the recovery partition - you should get the options to return that 1st HD to factory condition - i.e. with Vista on just as you received it.

You should be able to boot the recovery partition by marking it Active. Make sure you have a bootablle partition manager - in case in doesn't work and you need to mark Vista active again.

There is free downloadable .iso of GParted here: GParted: Files

GParted -- Download

The Vista partition is Marked as System - that means it contains 7 boot management files.

If you restore Vista to factory condition - you need to then Run startup repair from the 7 dvd to add it back as a boot option.

2. If you wish to delete the Vista partition - you need to Make 7 into the System partition , and make the 7 HD the boot drive( the first drive in bios HD boot order).

You also need to add the 7 compatible bootsector code and MBR to the 7 HD.

Don't worry, it is easier than it sounds.

Unfortunately, in your case, the 7 HD is an extended partition - you can't mark it active and make it the System partition, unless you convert it to a Primary partition first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jun 2009   #3

windows 7 rc1
Formatting HDD containing old OS

Easier than it how exactly do I go about changing which is active, or an "extended" partition, etc?

All I want to do is get rid of the crappy Vista state that is on there now. If there is a way to restore it to factory condition, I have no idea how. If I cannot do that without spending 20 bucks to get a new recovery disc from Toshiba, I'd rather just get rid of it and buy 7 when it goes gold.

So I suppose it's a 2 part question.

1. How can I boot off that recovery partition? I tried using the boot options during startup and never could find it. [The partition does not show up in "My Computer"...when I used the disc management in 7 was the first time I confirmed it existed.]

2. If I can't...what exactly do I do to switch which is active/primary and which is extended, or whatever? I'm not a TOTAL n00b, but I'm pretty new to using this program. Right-clicking on any drive in disc management only gave me the option "help." Does GParted make all this easy?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

28 Jun 2009   #4

windows 7 rc1
Formatting HDD containing old OS

As a note, when I right-click the recovery partition in disc management, THAT is when HELP is my only option. I think I mainly need instructions on how to boot off of it and subsequently to restore that physical disc to factory doesn't even have a drive letter.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jun 2009   #5
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

Welcome to the Se7enforums! infernalcolonel

Without a recovery disk while the recovery partition is still intact the owner/user manual that came with the system or the manufacturer's support site is the first place to look for instructions on creating a new recovery disk or disk set from the partition itself. That contains all of the preloaded drivers and softwares originally packaged with the system.

With the 7 boot on the Vista primary on separate drives reformat or removal of the first drive will put a halt on 7. The mbr entries are also written to the boot sector(64kb usually) on the first drive itself while the BCD store is on the Vista primary along with the bootmgr and other files needed.

To end Vista's life entirely with or without making up a recovery disk or set would be the fast solution of nuking the drive entirely and creating a brand new single large primary for 7 to install onto. The latest ISO disk image for GParted is found at GParted: Files

That you simply see burned to a blank cd-r being about 97mb in size. The general documentation/instructions for use are seen at GPARTED DOCUMENTATION - GENERALITIES

Some more screenshots are seen at GParted -- Screenshots

Once burned to disk you simply boot from that like you would the dvd you burned the RC iso image onto. You'll see about 4 stops where you simply press the enter key to continue loading to the main gui. HD0 drive #1 will be on display once the main window is open.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jun 2009   #6

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

You can use that disk manager to delete the two partitions on hard disk 0 OR

The best and easiest option would be to into the Windows 7 installer and when it asks where you want to install windows, click on hard drive options and itl give you options of deleting partitions and then installing Windows 7 in the new place. Before you leave the Windows installer disk manager you would probably wish to also delete the partition on disk 1 and create a new partition so that you get rid of your current windows 7 installation. If I read you right.

Make sure you backup any data you want from the old vista partition before you even start this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jun 2009   #7
Night Hawk

W7 Ultimate x64/W10 Pro x64 dual boot main build-remote pc W10 Pro x64 Insider Preview/W7 Pro x64

I was under the impression that 7 went onto the second not first host drive there. The first host drive is the one seeing the factory preinstall of Vista on that along with the recovery partition at the front of the drive.

Without a set of recovery disks made up you won't to lose that if still good before checking into creating a set in order to switch back later. If you are done with Vista entirely and the system is past any warranty then GParted will clean the host and reformat the second in case you want that for storage or see the 64bit on one and the 32bit RC on the other in that type of dual boot.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2009   #8

windows 7 rc1
Formatting a HDD containing an old OS

Sheesh. I'm overwhelmed. But I expected that.

For one, the computer is still under an extended (EXPENSIVE) warranty I purchased from Best Buy.

Two, I have two main concerns:

1. I was hoping not to have to go through the installation process for 7 again, since I have it all set up the way I like it, but I suppose that's something I can deal with if I have to. Is there no way to make the drive it's on the primary one, by moving the mbr files and such? As a note, I tried making it the primary boot option from the BIOS, and the startup got really I changed it back (it took forever at some dos-ish loading screen saying something about DHCP...whatever). Is another install my only option? And if it is, since I have 2 120GB internal HDDs, should I and can I set them up as RAID 0 to boost performance?

2. Is there anything bad about axing Vista? I mainly was going to keep it there "just in case," RC1 being a temporary solution and all, but I suppose there is no reason. I looked on Toshiba's website...there doesn't seem to be anyway to make a recovery disc. All instructions and downloads pertaining to that do not include my model number in the list of "applicable models." >_< So I guess I might as well get rid of it, huh? I like 7 better anyway.

ANYWAY, I have everything backed up as needed. Once I know my first step (I downloaded GParted, but it wasn't an was a folder tree within a zip file. I burn that as a data disc?)...I can get started on this mess.

Thanks a LOT for all the help, folks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2009   #9

Windows 7 64bit Ultimate Build 7268.0.090701-1900

swarfega is absolutlely correct, your easiest option here is to boot off the win7 disc, and as you said, axe the vista, and any other unwanted partitions. You wont mess up anything, as long as you don't mess with the new Win7 part.

You dont have to re-install w7, just use the disc to format/delete the partitions you don't want. Since every OS is independant of the others, you won't have any problems.

Let us know how this goes.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2009   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

Hi ,

1. You could delete Vista with the partitioning functions on the 7 dvd.

If you do that - you will not be able to boot 7.

You would need to run startup repair to recreate the boot files you just deleted.

The recreated boot files will not be on the 7 drive anyway.

2. To do what you want - reinstall 7 - delete and recreate the partition during the install.

If you want the Vista HD to contain the 7 boot files - leave the Vista drive first in BIOS boot order during installation.

If you want 7 hd to contain the 7 boot files - set 7 HD first in BIOS boot order prior to reinstall.

3. An alternative would be to use a 3rd party tool to convert 7 HD to Primary non - destructively. Some of the Paragon products do that, but I am not sure if the free ones do. You would also need to make it bootable.

Easier to do the reinstall - or leave it all as it is.

4. Also, why get rid of Vista ? You already paid for it. If you have no Vista "recovery" method - you won't be able to get it back if you delete all that.

If you want the Gparted .iso , here is the d/l ( Here is the .iso download for Gparted - in case you want it )
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Formatting hard drive containing old OS

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