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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Undoing a Win 7/XP dual boot set-up.

    When Windows 7 first came out, I wanted to use it but was unsure if I was ready to give up XP yet. To remedy this concern, I added a second hard drive which I had laying around, loaded Win 7 on that, and then used Easy BCD as a boot manager. Easy BCD is installed on the Win 7 drive.

    As I haven’t used XP for quite some time and am tired of keeping a “system” that I no longer use updated. I would like to just remove and repurpose the XP drive but am concerned how that will affect my system’s ability to boot my Win 7 drive. Both drives are formatted in NTFS and the following is the information regarding each drive:

    XP_SP3 (C: Healthy (System, Page File, Active, Primary Partition)
    Primary, Active & Boot (from Partition Wizard)

    Win_7 (D: Healthy (Boot, Page File, Logical Drive)
    Logical, System (from Partition Wizard)

    I have re-read Lincoln Spector’s May 6, 2010 article “The absolutely safest way to upgrade to Win7” but this addresses having both OS’s on the same physical drive and I’m unclear how this would differ in a two drive set-up.

    Other than backing up my D: drive and making it a primary partition, are there other changes that must be considered to remove the XP drive and have my machine operate normally?

    Thanks for any guidance you can offer.

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  3. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    In Win 7, open Disk Management and simply delete the Win XP drive. You can remove the Win XP entry in the MBR by using EasyBCD.

    You could probably swap the cables to the drives so that in Disk Management the empty drive is listed second rather than first. Then simple format it as a logical drive and use it for whatever.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  5. #3
    2 Star Lounger
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    The OP wants to remove the XP drive from his system. When he does that, the boot code will not be on the Win 7 drive.

    Can Partition Wizard convert a logical to a primary partition? I use GParted which can do this.

    He might try booting from the Win 7 install disk and using the Repair option.

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    jpp23510 (2012-06-29)

  7. #4
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    That's strange because both of my OS's in my dual boot are listed as Primary with my data partition listed as Logical.

    After deleting Win XP, may have to boot to Repair disk or Installation disk to Repair my installation and repair the MBR on Win 7. Make a Repair Disk if you have not yet! This is a vital disk to have in your arsenal, especially if you do not have an Installation Disk!

    Partition Wizard does allow a drive to be set as Primary. Highlight the drive in question, Right Click, choose Modify, one option is Set as Primary.

    PartitionWizardPrimaryPartition.jpg
    Last edited by Medico; 2012-06-28 at 16:30.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  9. #5
    New Lounger
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    Thanks Ted and Nate. It looks like the major concern will be the location of the boot record (MBR). I give it a try based upon your thoughts and using steps as if both partitions are on the same drive. I did note that Partition Wizard can be used to change a drive to primary and vice versa, but I don't see that as addressing the boot record issue. As long as I have the drive backed up, I should be safe from any screw-ups.

  10. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    If all else fails for the boot record, insert the repair disk and fix it that way. Good luck and have fun.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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  11. #7
    4 Star Lounger
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    1. Each of your disks has an MBR (Master Boot Record) on it which describes the primary partition layout on its disk and which (if any) primary partition on the disk is 'Active'. The MBR also contains the code snippet which is invoked by the BIOS if it tries to boot that disk to transfer control to the boot code presumed to exist at the start of the Active partition.

    2. Your BIOS is set up to boot the disk with XP on it and its MBR boots the partition in which XP resides. You can tell this from the fact that the XP partition is listed as 'Active' and as the 'System' partition (Microsoft, for reasons only it knows, calls the partition which is booted by the MBR the 'System' partition and the partition in which the currently-running system - whichever it is - resides the 'Boot' partition; Partition Wizard sensibly reverses these definitions).

    3. When you installed Win7 it replaced the XP boot code (which invokes ntldr) in the Volume Boot Record (VBR) at the start of the XP partition with its newer boot code (which invokes bootmgr - also in the XP partition), then installed Win7 in a logical partition on the second disk. Easy BCD is not a boot manager per se, just a program that controls the boot manager, so it can live wherever you want to use it.

    4. What you need to do to be able to remove the XP disk and still boot is to modify the Win7 disk such that its MBR points to an Active primary partition which contains a Win7-style VBR and bootmgr (plus bootmgr's BCD data files) set up to point to the Win7 partition. As several people have suggested once you remove the XP disk (if you don't remove it or at least disable it in the BIOS the repair process will just reuse it as the home for the boot mechanism) you can probably just 'repair' the Win7 installation's boot mechanism using the Win7 installation (or repair) disk - though you may first have to convert the Win7 partition to a primary partition to hold the boot mechanism unless there's already a primary partition on the disk (or room to create one) where the VBR and bootmgr mechanisms can be placed.

    5. If for some reason the normal 'repair' process doesn't work for you (as the 'Startup Repair' process did not work for me at least once), the manual way to accomplish this is to use the 'Command Prompt' repair option, type bootrec /FixMbr (this ensures that the Win7 form of the MBR boot code is placed in the MBR), then bootsect /nt60 c: (this ensures that the VBR of the first primary partition on the disk is populated with the Win7 boot loader that invokes bootmgr), and perhaps then bootrec /RebuildBcd (to place bootmgr and its associated data structures in that primary partition - though the earlier attempt to use the 'Startup Repair' option may have done that already). The Easy BCD documentation may have additional explanations in this area. Again, you may have first had to create a suitable primary partition on the disk or convert the Win7 logical partition to primary, and marked the result 'Active' using a third-party tool such as a partition manager.

    6. If you want to keep the XP disk in the machine for other use you can likely just change the disk boot order in your BIOS rather than have to swap the disk cables.

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  13. #8
    New Lounger
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    Bill,

    Thanks for the time you spent replying to my dilemma. I feel as though I now have a better understanding of the mechanics a play and that I'm more confident in attempting to resolve my situation.

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