My computer has three hard drives, one with Windows 7 installed, one with Vista installed, and one storage drive. For a while I was dual-booting W7 and Vista, but now that I no longer need the Vista installation I'd like to format that drive.

I used EasyBCD to remove the option of booting to Vista. (My computer now boots directly to W7.) There is no longer any data I wish to keep on the Vista drive at all. When I go to Disk Management in Windows 7, however, it will not let me format the drive. It gives the error: "Windows cannot format the system partition on this disk."

What steps do I need to take to format the Vista drive so that I can re-purpose it?

If it matters, in Disk Management it lists the Vista drive as Drive 0, my storage drive as Drive 1, and my W7 drive as D2.

  • I'm guessing some boot information for Windows 7 is still on the Vista drive. You'll need to move that before you format the drive. – user3463 Nov 15 '10 at 3:17
  • Could you elaborate on where that might be? I thought that by removing the Vista entry into the bootloader I got rid of what I needed to. – Michael Nov 15 '10 at 12:21

Was the Vista installation in place before the Windows 7 installation? The bootloader is probably on that hard drive, and that's why it won't let you format it - because it knows you booted to it! You need to completely rebuild a bootloader on the W7 drive (you should be able to do this with EasyBCD).

  • Yes, the Vista installation was first and then I set up Windows 7. Using EasyBCD I removed the entry for Vista to boot to, is rebuilding the bootloader a separate operation? – Michael Nov 15 '10 at 16:24
  • You removed the entry, but the bootloader is still physically located on the Vista drive, so you can't format that drive. You need a new bootloader on a different drive. – Shinrai Nov 15 '10 at 17:52

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