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I have recently installed Windows 7 on my new Vertex 3 240 GB SSD. However, my old Windows installation is haunting me as I am unable to delete the files, and it appears in boot menu.

Now, I am not a super dummy. I have disabled the boot menu so it does not irritate me, but I still don't like the fact that there are 2 Windows installations in the boot menu, because I have a feeling it slows down the startup slightly.

Another problem I am facing is that I can't seem to be able to remove some of the old files. I have set myself as the owner of the files (recursively), and given myself Full Permissions, and yet it says I have no access to delete those files.

How do I get rid of my old Windows installation entirely?

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  • There's probably much better ways, but I would use a linux live cd for removing locked windows files. And for what it's worth I have over a dozen bootable OS partitions across 5 hdd's (which isn't uncommon for linux enthusiasts) and can't really notice a slowdown.
    – Blomkvist
    May 13, 2011 at 15:08

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Start > Run > enter "MSCONFIG" and hit enter > go to "Boot tab", you should be able to delete your second entry for you old Windows 7 installation.

To delete the files, your best bet is to copy over anything you need and format the second drive. Can you manage that (as far as having enough space to copy over the files you need)?

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  • No, I can't. The HDD contains about 1 TB of data which includes lots of family pics, movies, etc. and my main drive (SSD) is just 240 GB. I can't manage that.
    – rFactor
    May 13, 2011 at 15:13
  • I really hope that you have a backup solution for this data. What happens if the drive dies? May 13, 2011 at 15:19
  • You may be able to take permission of the windows files and delete them with a live Ubuntu disk. I've had luck doing this in the past. Alternatively, you can try to enable the hidden Win 7 "super admin" account, log in as the full admin, and change ownership or delete the files that way: howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/… May 13, 2011 at 18:36
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You'll need to edit the boot loader to remove the reference to the old OS. You can do this by using the BCDEdit command. Here are some references:

Blog on how to modify Boot Loader

Microsoft BCDEdit reference guide

To get rid of the files, you might try turning off Admin Approval Mode. I wrote a blog entry about controlling UAC here. The main thing you need to turn off is the EnableLUA setting. The windows files are protected by NTFS permissions and you need to be able to act as an actual administrator to delete them.

If windows still won't let you delete the files, you might try loading a linux live CD to clean off the files. If not, you're going to need a 3rd party tool to force the delete. I don't have a good tool to recommend but there should be something out there.

As a last resort, you could always reformat the drive. It's a drastic option but it would get rid of everything.

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Use the gparted Live CD/USB/whatever to format the partition of the old installation. After that you might need to remove the obsolete entry from you boot files, as stated above.

http://gparted.sourceforge.net/livecd.php

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