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I was using Windows XP, and I just installed Windows 7 on another partition.

Now I want to format the partition containing Windows XP, but it says:

Windows was unable to complete the format.

Under disk management, Format is disabled.

enter image description here

How can I format the left partition (D:) and merge it with the current one (C:)?

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up vote 0 down vote accepted

If you look at the status of each volume, you'll see that the XP volume is your System volume. This is the volume which contains NTLDR. Windows won't let you delete it because of that.

I HIGHLY recommend you back everything up before trying to fix this.

First, you'll need to use a third party tool like GParted from a LiveCD to actually delete the XP partition. Create a 100MB partition in this space and make it active. Then you should be able to grow the Win7 partition into the empty space. The small partition is going to be the new system volume, so in the future you can add/delete partitions without going through this again.

You may notice your computer no longer boots! That's because NTLDR doesn't exist anymore. Run Windows 7 setup and perform a Startup Repair. Hopefully it will find the 100MB partition and make it the new system volume. It might also just make the Win7 partition the system volume, in which case you'll just have an extra tiny partition around. If that bothers you, you can delete it then use GParted again to grow the Win7 partition.

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I have reinstalled Window 7 :( but thanks for your answer Stephen, may be useful in the future :) – Aximili May 3 '10 at 0:47

You won't be able to format it, but you should be able to shrink it, then create a new partition with the leftover space.

Make sure you have good backups before doing anything.

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You cannot format the drive with XP on it because it is still your Boot drive and contains your page file, it will not let you. Because of the way this is installed, I don't believe you will be able to delete all of the files on C: either. Though you should be able to delete most of them.

Update for Page file answer: It was stated in the screen shot you provided. "Healthy (Boot, Page F" It's cut off but...
You can move the page file by (Windows 7):

  1. Start > right-click computer, select Properties
  2. On the left click Advanced system settings, the System Properties dialog opens
  3. System Properties dialog, go to the Advance tab
  4. In the performance section click the settings button
  5. You should now be in the Performance Options dialog
  6. Go to the Advance tab in the virtual memory section and click the change button
  7. From here you can change the page file from c: to another drive

Please note that the page file on that drive may be from the XP installation, not your Win7 installation. You will only know once you look.

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How do you know it contains my page file? How can I move it to the current partition (C:)? I want to get rid of that partition. Thanks for your answer. – Aximili May 2 '10 at 12:02
Thanks Brettski and everyone for your help! I ended up deleting all partitions and reinstalling Windows 7. – Aximili May 3 '10 at 0:46
Actually the Boot one was my Windows 7 partition... but anyway... – Aximili May 3 '10 at 0:50
Aximili, that is the way I almost always go, plow and reload. – Brettski May 3 '10 at 1:59

It seems that you're right clicking on your windows 7 partition in the picture. You can't format the current partition. Make sure you're trying to format the right partition. Also, it seems your windows 7 partition is marked with a boot flag, which is weird because windows 7 usually creates a 100 mb system partition for the bootloader. You should probably look into that first. I'm not quite sure how you set your stuff up. For the formatting part, go get yourself a gparted liveCD iso, burn it to a CD (or a USB following the instructions here). Boot from the cd and then you can format/delete/move/resize/etc partitions from there.

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No in the picture I was right clicking the XP partition (the left one). If I use gparted can I format the XP partition and merge it with the current one (C:)? Thanks for your answer. – Aximili May 2 '10 at 11:59

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