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I have Windows 8 and Linux Mint both installed on my system. Now I want to remove both Linux Mint and Windows 8 and install Windows 7 from a USB flash drive.

I don't know where the Linux Mint files are.

When I boot from the Windows 7 USB drive, I can't install Windows 7.
It says the following:

Error: Windows cannot be installed to Disk 0 Partition 1. (Show details)

Details: Windows cannot be installed to this disk. 
The selected disk has an MBR partition table.  
On EFI systems, Windows can only be installed to GTP disks.  
Windows cannot be installed to this hard disk space.  
Windows must be installed to a partition formatted as NTFS.

So my question is how to safely remove Linux Mint and restore the NTFS filesystem without losing any files on any of the partitions?

I have no problem losing all files stored in the Windows partition C:

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migrated from unix.stackexchange.com Feb 6 '13 at 17:21

This question came from our site for users of Linux, FreeBSD and other Un*x-like operating systems..

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2 Answers

You'd better copy/backup all the files you want to keep to an external drive and then perform a clean install (removing all the partitions, etc.). You don't really seem to understand what you are about to do, so I think this will be the less error-prone method as well as the safest one (for your data).

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You can convert an MBR style disk to a GPT disk without changing any of the partitions much (the first one does have to be moved a bit). I have not done it, but apparently gdisk can be used for this on linux (you will probably need to do it from a live CD):

How can I change/convert a Ubuntu MBR drive to a GPT, and make Ubuntu boot from EFI?

The fact that the original question was about Ubuntu doesn't matter; the answer looks well written and contains further references. If you follow that guide, obviously, you can stop at the point where the disk has been converted to GPT. Ie, you just do the first two steps:

  1. Resize partition
  2. Convert the disk

Do of course back-up your truly important tish before you do anything. I am sure there are also windows based tools around if you google, but you can't use the windows on the disk itself.

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He does not even know what MBR/GPT are. Which is perfectly fine, but for the sake of his data, don't ask him to convert one to the other, then resize the partition, then copy files from one partition to the other, then reformat, then install, then reformat and resize. At each step, He can loose his data. BTW, he won't need grub if he only has Win7 installed... –  Gael Feb 6 '13 at 14:03
That is not what I am asking nabil to do. I am just pointing out that s/he can change the disk "without changing any of the partitions much" (1st paragraph), which should be fairly simple (as in, 5 minutes). This will save having to erase anything (except whatever you want to erase). I am presuming nabil has the brain to skip the steps which involve installing grub, ubuntu, etc, especially since those aren't done until after the disk has been changed to GPT...at which point nabil will be done. –  goldilocks Feb 6 '13 at 14:09
Yes, I understand your point of view. Your post is useful. But if anything goes wrong, just anything, I am not sure nabil will be able to fix it himself. He can try what you propose (which is not stupid at all and will be helpful to many readers), but not in 5 minutes: he has to backup his files first. –  Gael Feb 6 '13 at 14:17
Thank you both . Could I just move all important files from a partition to another then format it then move the files back and do this for all partitions one at a time? –  nabil Feb 6 '13 at 14:44
Yes you can, provided you don't erase your MBR in the process or that you don't delete/reformat the partition you plan to use. As goldilocks said, you can do everything without backing up. But as we both say, this is not recommended. –  Gael Feb 6 '13 at 16:38
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