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Windows 7: Can I safely delete this stuff from this partition?

11 Mar 2012   #1

Can I safely delete this stuff from this partition?

Hi all.

I just got my laptop's HDD replaced a couple weeks back, and I want to dual boot Windows XP. So first order of things is to create a new partition, right? My laptop only has one physical hdd so I thought it would just have two partitions. Turns out it's more complicated than that.

Can I safely delete this stuff from this partition?-hdd_01.jpg

I only see C: and D: in Explorer - I'm aware of this Lenovo One Touch restore thingy and I figured that would explain having an additional partition. But two?

If I'm not mistaken, 4 is the maximum number of Windows-supported partitions, right? So I was thinking, no big deal, I'm not using D:, I could just format that. Which leads me to my problem. I've removed all my data from D: but there's still lots of things in it.

Can I safely delete this stuff from this partition?-hdd_03.jpg

Can I safely delete this stuff from this partition?-hdd_02.jpg

That's after turning off system restore and deleting all the backups. A little manual snooping around shows me that the Lenovo folder and that WindowsImageBackup folder both account for 12GB each, which explains the remaining usage of the D: partition.

1. Can I simply format the D: partition and turn it into a bootable WinXP x86 partition? I don't care about the backups in the two folders currently in it.

2. I have backups elsewhere and don't care about the stuff in the existing Win7 x64 boot partition ( C: ); what do I need to get up and running in the event something goes wrong and I render the computer unbootable? A Win7 repair disc? Will that allow me to boot from it and rebuild Win7 x64 on C: in case it becomes necessary?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Mar 2012   #2

Windows 7 Pro x64 Windows 10 Pro x64

How much space do you want to dedicate to XP. D: has more then enough. you could make an 80 Gig partition from D: to install on.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Mar 2012   #3


You're right, I don't really need that much space for WinXP... but I didn't want to mess up creating yet another partition so I figured I'd just use the entirety of D: to keep things simple partition-wise.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

11 Mar 2012   #4
Microsoft MVP


It looks like someone has stored a Win7 backup image on D, and your User Profile or folders may be linked there from C - check now using these tutorials: User Profile - Change Default Location
User Folders - Change Default Location.

You can use the steps within either of those tutorials to restore User Profile or Folders to C. You can make another Win7 Backup image to save externally after you delete this one if you do that. You can also shrink D to keep what's on it and make a smaller Logical partition to install XP since you can have as many Logical subpartitions as you want.

But first I would try virtualizing XP because it is becoming harder to install it on modern hardware with few SATA controllers in the XP CD requiring slipstreaming them in before install: SATA Drivers - Slipstream into Windows XP CD.

If you must have XP for a few programs which simply will not install to Win7, even in Compatibility Mode, then try XP Mode which comes free in Ultimate/Pro, free Virtual Box, Virtual Player or VMWare to see how they work for you first before taking on installing a fading OS to modern hardware.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2012   #5


I have to confess, I want to boot XP because Wizardry 8 won't install in Win7 x64 - and the graphics driver that XP mode emulates (S3 Trio, boy haven't seen that in a while) chokes on the game's videos and crashes it.

Back up a bit on logical partitions; if I understand you correctly, I can simply shrink, say, 30GB off my D: partition and then use that 30GB for a bootable WinXP partition?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2012   #6
Microsoft MVP


Yes, XP should install and place its boot files on the first primary partition. You have a large System partition which should have room. But there are many factors which can complicate it so there are no guarantees.

If XP installs when it starts I would follow the steps in Method Two of this tutorial to add WIn7 to Dual Boot Menu.

If this fails start Win7 by running Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times.
Make sure first partition remains Active while doing this: Partition - Mark as Active (Method Two)

Then install EasyBCD 2.0.2 - NeoSmart Technologies to add XP, accept if it offers boot files, autocompletes, Save, Reboot.

If it fails to work you may need to convert D to Primary first using free Partition Wizard bootable CD. You are allowed to have four Primary partitions, but it takes PW to create the fourth. It can also resize C and D if you want D smaller.

See what I said about how it can be a bear?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2012   #7


That is exactly why I checked here first before going ahead and doing it :)

Back to the first image, what is the second entry? It's listed as a Primary partition, system, active. But it's not visible to me. Ditto the first entry. "OEM partition". If they're just for backups, I don't need them. When Lenovo replaced my hdd they said this was the "original factory configuration", nevermind that when I bought the laptop back in 2010 I'm fairly certain it wasn't like this.

Is it possible to unallocate both the partitions which aren't C: or D:, and then consolidating the resulting free space into one partition? Having fewer partitions around would simplify things, yes?

I just booted the laptop with the WinXP setup disc - not to do anything, mind, just to have a look - but after it loaded drivers and was preparing to start setup, it bluescreened. Ouch. After power cycling it and letting Win7 boot, it started up fine.

A little googling around seems to finger outdated SATA drivers as the culprit - some people with similar hardware i.e. Lenovo laptops also experienced getting a BSOD after booting a WinXP install disc.

Way in that thread someone posts changing the SATA controller from ACHI to Compatibility. Hmm, guess I'll try that.

Edit 2:
Yeah, that fixed it. My BIOS settings for the SATA controller were only AHCI or IDE (no "compatibility") but setting it to IDE did the trick and allowed WinXP setup to start.

At this point though I'm going off-topic from my original question so I guess I better stop here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2012   #8
Microsoft MVP


The 200mb System Active partition is the WIn7 boot partition containing boot files and whatever else the OEM put in there. You can temporarily give it a letter in Disk Management, then post back a screenshot of Explorer showing its expanded contents: Drive Letter - Add, Change, or Remove in Windows 7 - Windows 7 Forums

The OEM partition is Factory Recovery to use from Windows or by triggering with the hotkey given on first boot screen or in Manual. If you've made the Recovery Disks or prefer to rely on saving externally a Win7 backup image then you can delete it if you want, resize the remaining partitions using PW CD or Disk Management: Partition or Volume - Extend .

The BSOD when booting XP CD means you need the SATA controller drivers slipstreamed in as suspected. I not only mentioned this earlier but provided you with the tutorial.

If you're able to boot and install XP in IDE mode, then you'll still need to convert it to AHCI mode once you get to desktop or WIn7 will not boot since it is in AHCI mode. Enable AHCI in Windows XP After Installation - Bootbeta
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2012   #9


Thanks for the advice so far, those links were helpful.

1. I'll make a recovery disc and unallocate that OEM partition.

2. Is there any particular reason that 200mb partition was created? If someone assembles a computer and installs Win7 for the first time, don't they normally get to allocate all space to a single partition? I'm curious why my setup has that "extra" 200mb partition.

Someone had to borrow that machine so I'll have to put off attempting to install WinXP for a while :/
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Mar 2012   #10
Microsoft MVP


Win7 creates a 100mb System Reserved partition to place its boot files when installing to an unpartitioned HD.

Factory OEM sometimes uses 200mb for this boot partition to add other files in or for other reasons.

You can delete the 200mb boot partition but its hardly worth the effort and slight risk unless there is good reason. And you need to ask back for a series of steps to do it right.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Can I safely delete this stuff from this partition?

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