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I've got a Dell laptop that comes pre-loaded with "Recovery" and "Utility" partitions - I know I'm not going to use for these partitions (and I am dual booting, so unless I remove at least one of these partitions I exceed a maximum of 4 primary partitions per disk) so I want to remove them.

Normally I wouldn't find this a problem, however the "Recovery" partition is in fact the boot partition - removing it prevents Windows 7 from booting and a simple switch to boot from the Windows 7 installation partition doesn't do the trick.

It appears that Dell have moved some of the boot code from the standard Windows 7 partition to the "Recovery" partition, and so to delete this partition I first need to make the Windows 7 partition bootable again.

How can I do this? Can this be done through the F8 boot menu?

Also I will be dual-booting this system via GRUB, so as I understand it I need to make the partition bootable (as opposed to the disk)

Update: Also I really need to keep the existing Windows installation rather than re-installing from scratch.

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I'd suggest taking a look at GParted, a partitioning tool that I've found to be very useful in the past.

You should blast away all the bootable partitions and start from scratch, formatting the drive exactly how you want and then installing each instance of whatever operating systems you want. Be sure you know the product keys and have a copy of all the OS types you want to use.

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I want to keep the existing Windows 7 installation - its quicker and also the Laptop didn't come with Windows 7 installation media. –  Justin May 17 '11 at 15:56
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