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I originally had Vista installed on my laptop and installed Win7 as a dual boot option. Now I've moved everything from Vista, I have removed the dual boot option via msconfig.exe. Finally, I want to remove the Vista partition (and then extend the Win7 partition to reclaim the disk space).

So, in Win7, I see a C: drive for the Win7 partition and D: which is the Vista partition. But the Vista partition is the active, system partition which, after some investigation means it has the boot loader info and if this was deleted, would mean Win7 would no longer boot.

The question is, therefore, how can I safely delete the Vista partition? Can I somehow move the boot loader from D: to C:?

Some suggestions I've seen say to boot from the Win7 dvd, format the Vista partition. A reboot will fail, so boot from the Win7 dvd again performing an automatic startup repair. Is this the safest way forward? (I know this kind of stuff is inherently risky, but looking for the best approach before hosing my PC and having to go through the whole setup process again!)

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

I would do what you said in the last part.

There are ways by copying the bootloader / system files then marking as active e.t.c. but it can take time and can get complicated

By far the easiest way is simply to delete the other partition and mark your new one as active then put in the DVD and allow it to repair the startup for you.

(of course, this will fail and you can have a lot of problems if you use Bitlocker on your drive... Assuming you don't!)

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OK, I'll give the delete partition / repair startup a go and if it works will be back shortly and accept this answer! – Andy Whitfield Sep 19 '09 at 20:35
Well, this did work, so I'll accept this answer, but I will post a reply with some of the issue I came across. – Andy Whitfield Sep 19 '09 at 22:02

As I mentioned in the comments against the accepted answer, just using the Win7 DVD to remove the partition and do an "automatic startup repair" did the trick, however, I did have a few issues so thought I'd add my own answer...

I ended up deleting the partition in the Win7 setup (when booting from the DVD). After restarting, it took two attempts to auto repair startup problems (missing bootmgr).

However, the repair still didn't make my Win7 partition the system partition (D: still existed somehow), but in Disk Management, I could now set C: as the 'Active' partition.

Restarting again caused the missing bootmgr problem, so back into startup repair. After restarting (I think it took two repair attempts/restarts again) I could now delete the old Vista partition.

The final problem was extending the Win7 partition to use the newly freed-up space. Disk Management didn't seem to let me do this, but I'd previously downloaded a free partition tool called Partition Wizard which did allow me to extend the partition to use up all the free space. One final reboot later, and I have now successfully deleted the old partition and extended the new Win7 partition into all the available space. Phew!

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Great, that worked for me too, using a memory stick as I am on the RC. There were a couple of scary moments but all is good now. – NeedHack Jan 2 '10 at 0:30

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