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My machine originally had a 7200 RPM HDD with windows 7 installed on it. I recently bought an SSD drive, and decided to upgrade to windows 8, so I installed windows 8 in the new SSD drive.

I could now boot from either the old drive with windows 7, or from the new SSD drive with windows 8. After configuring and updating the windows 8 installation, I copied most of my files from the windows 7 drive.

I didn't need that windows 7 installation anymore, so first I tried deleting the Windows folder along with Program Files and related folders, but the system wouldn't let me. After searching for a bit, I read the only way to remove windows was to format that drive. So I made a backup of all the remaining files that I needed from that drive, but then windows wouldn't let me format the drive nor erase its partition.

Back then I didn't know that there was something called a System Partition that contained the Master Boot Record used to boot the computer, so I messed up and after booting with the Windows 8 installation DVD, I formatted the windows 7 drive that also happened to be the system partition... my computer wouldn't boot anymore.

So I booted again from my Windows 8 DVD but no option from the repair or troubleshooting options would fix the issue. Finally, I had to start a new Windows 8 installation on the formatted drive, and finally it would boot and let me choose to start windows 8 from the SSD drive.

However, now I am back to square one, since I have a fresh windows 8 installation on the old drive that I'd really like erase to reclaim the disk space.

Is there a way to erase the windows installation from that drive (I don't mind if that drive remains as the system partition)?

Or maybe a way to move the System Partition files of the MBR to the SSD drive without losing the data I already installed on it so that I can format the old drive?

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You may or may not have to change the boot order in the BIOS. Otherwise it may never boot from the SSD – cybernard Jul 28 '13 at 14:41
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It shouldnt be that difficult to remove your other hard drive from the boot equation (making the SSD as the sole boot drive).

Use Disk Management in Windows 8 to set your SSD as "Active" Primary partition...That way your system knows that is the boot drive. Also go into msconfig's "Boot" tab and remove the extra entry that points to your other hard drive so your system knows you want to boot from the SSD only.

Also under "Advanced System Settings" > Advanced > Startup and Recovery under "Default Operating System" select your SSD.

You may need to rebuild the boot manager via bootrec /rebuildbcd from within the System Recovery disc/usb but that depends how messed up things are.

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Using the bootrec.exe utility like you suggested I was able to make the SSD drive the System Partition and finally was able to format the old drive. Thanks! – andragon Jul 28 '13 at 18:06

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