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Awhile ago, I installed a triple boot system with Windows 7, Vista and linux. Like most of the other people I know, I consistently use Win 7 more than any of the other two and want to delete the other two OSes.

When I installed linux, I deleted the 100mb system reserved partition that both Win7 and Vista use figuring I will use Grub to choose my OS to load. Everything works fine except that I cannot upgrade to Win7 SP1 due to the service pack looking for that system reserved partition. I also cannot create a backup of Win7 due to the fact that Win7 is not the active partition.

The interesting thing is that in Grub I choose a "Windows" startup option and then the MS bootloader shows up allowing me to select either Vista or 7 to load. Before installing linux, I could go into the system properties --> startup and recovery and select either Vista or Win7 to be the default when loading. After the linux install, that option is greyed out.

So my question is, can I use a program like EasyBCD to recreate the 100mb system partition or is there a different method to make Win7 the active boot partition. I am trying to install SP1 and remove the other two OSes.

Thanks for your help.

P.S. In Win7, I have made Win7 the active boot partition and almost completed the backup process... it failed with a file not found error. I don't know if that is related to the missing system partition

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Can you post a screenshot of your Win7 Disk Management window? –  Joe Internet Apr 29 '11 at 3:04
2  
How about popping in the Windows 7 CD and allowing it to repair the install or do it manually using fixboot or fixmbr? –  mindless.panda Apr 29 '11 at 3:27
    
I've already tried both of those methods. It seemed to work but did not recreate the system partition. –  wbeard52 Apr 30 '11 at 0:47

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I have never done this from within windows so not sure if it will work but I don't see why it won't ... it is normally done from Windows PE. If you want to be safe you should boot your computer with the installation disk and use the repair options to get a command prompt.

User Run as Administrator on the command prompt with this up execute DISKPART

Then execute list disk to get a list of your current drives after that execute select disk X replace X with the number of the drive your system partition is on.

Then list partition and select partition X where X is the 200MB partition which I assume you created for this purpose. If it is for something else you will need to create one and I suggest using the GUI as it is much easier.

With the system partition selected execute format fs=ntfs label="System" & assign letter=S & active and lastly exit

You now have a system partition that needs the correct data put on it so run C:\windows\system32\bcdboot C:\windows and this will copy the boot environment files over.

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The 200mb drive is where the GRUB install is located. Do you think it is a good idea to delete the Vista partition and create a new 100mb partition for this. This way if it doesn't work, I can still get back into Win7? –  wbeard52 Apr 30 '11 at 5:14
    
If you are not going to use Vista anymore then you could delete it and create the system partition there. You could then use another partitioning utility to expand the Windows 7 partition to use the rest of the free space... I don't think the windows one can expand to space located before the partition. –  Arctor Apr 30 '11 at 6:24
    
Make sure you backup your important data just in case... something you should do anyways even when not shifting around the partition tables :) –  Arctor Apr 30 '11 at 13:32
    
I followed your instructions in Windows PE and it worked perfectly. Thanks. I'm in the middle of installing SP1 right now and will see if it completes successfully. –  wbeard52 Apr 30 '11 at 18:31
    
Both SP1 and a backup completed successfully yesterday. Reinstalling the service partition fixed the two issues I was having. Again thanks. –  wbeard52 May 1 '11 at 15:10

The first thing to note is that the 100 MB system partition you are referring to is not used for booting, rather its a system restore partition that can be boot from to perform some repair type functions. If it no longer exists, you can always boot from the actual Windows CD and accomplish the same tasks.

Repairing your system boot process is unrelated really to the 100 MB partition. You basically need to fix the bootsector as well as master boot record for your system. You can do this manually by booting from the Windows CD and dropping to the command shell, or you can use Windows's "Startup Repair" after booting the Windows CD. More info and a guide are located here.

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You don't need a System Reserved partition. What you need are the files that Windows places in System Reserved. You can restore those files from the command line by rebuilding your bcd store. Or use the repair files option in Easybcd, or do an upgrade with your Windows 7 install disk which will not overwrite files on the partition. Your Windows partition should be marked as "active" which can be done in Disk Management. Once you are able to boot directly into Windows (no grub menu) then SP1 will proceed. The similar post to mine is correct but it omitted checking to see that your Windows partition is marked as active, even though it normally will be changed to active be earlier steps.

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