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Due to virus issues and Windows Vista license issues, I'm hoping to upgrade my laptop by first formatting my second partition, installing Windows 7 on my second partition, then formatting the Windows Vista partition.

Are there any issues I might run into by doing it this way? Both partitions are accessible on both operating systems, right?

I'm also wondering if there's any core software I need to run my laptop, or if just the operating system will be enough. I know that enabling "special" keys and touchpad needs separate software, though I don't use those, but anything I'll need to simply run it?

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Your plan should work, but you'll run into boot sector issues - the OS won't necessarily boot off the drive unless you tell the computer where to find it. So you'll use DISKPART and BCDBOOT (off the recovery disc).

Scott Hanselman had to play around with his boot sector after a hard drive failure. Check it out.

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So when you're saying it won't necessarily boot off the drive, you mean after the vista partition is formatted? Does the boot sector check for a certain drive name or is it checking for something else? Maybe I could just rename the second partition after the vista partition's gone? –  j.i.h. Jan 27 '11 at 23:28
    
The boot sector sits on the first physical partition on the first physical drive. So if you format your current Vista partition, even though Windows 7 is installed on the second one, you'll have to recreate the boot sector on the first partition again. It's not hard and it doesn't take long. –  user3463 Jan 27 '11 at 23:35

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