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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    How to remove Windows 7 From a Dual Boot with Windows 8?

    How do you safely remove Windows 7 Pro (32-bit) from a dual boot with Windows 8 Pro (64-bit)? I'm quite happy with Windows 8 Pro (since I've got Start8 to give me the Start button, menus, and booting directly into the desktop).

    The scenario:
    Both are on the same hard drive (an SSD).
    Windows 7 was on the hard drive initially. I added Windows 8 on a new partition and am ready to completely abandon Windows 7.
    I have not been able to find information on how to safely remove the Windows 7 partition.

    The advice I've come upon online suggests:
    (1) Reformat the Windows 7 partition or delete the Windows 7 partition.
    (2) Expand the Windows 8 partition to occupy the entire drive.
    (3) Remove the Windows 7 choice from by going into System Configuration (via Administrative Tools) - then select the "Boot" tab and delete the Windows 7 choice.

    But since Windows 7 was the original operating system, isn't there some concern about losing the Master Boot Record that Windows 7 had established on the drive?

    To address this, I've seen advice to:
    1. Install and run EasyBCD (a free program) in Windows 8
    2. Open the BCD Backup/Repair, and set C: as the default boot drive
    3. Delete the Windows 7 partition and expand the Windows 8 partition to include the whole physical drive (using your partitioning program of choice)

    So I'm a bit perplexed and hope that the good experts here could steer me in the right direction with a step-by-step.

    Thanks for your insights and guidance.

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Create a complete system Image ahead of time. This will make it easy if something goes wrong. The first time you do these things it is easy to make a mistake. An Image will let you get back to where you are quickly and easily. This will also give you a media from which to grab your data. I would also back up my data separately just to keep it safe.

    You may not have to repair the MBR, but if you do, often booting to the Win 8 Installation DVD and choosing Repair My Installation will solve that problem. If you use EasyBCD, go in ahead of time and delete the Win 7 entry in the MBR. Ensure the Win 8 MBR is set as default, then delete the Win 7 MBR entry.

    EasyBCD.jpg

    I would use an app such as Partition Wizard mini tool (free edition) to delete the Win 7 partition. This will leave unallocated space there. You can then grab the left border of the Win 8 partition and drag it to the left. When you reboot the Win 8 data will be moved to the front of the new larger partition. This has to be done outside of Windows, and the Windows disk manager is unable to accomplish this. You NEED to use a 3rd party app.

    My screen shot shows expanding the partition to the right. The same process is used when expanding the partition to unallocated space to the left as well.

    Partition Wizard.jpg

    This is the procedure I used when I did exactly what you are doing.
    Last edited by Medico; 2013-04-02 at 05:38.
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  3. #3
    3 Star Lounger
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    It might be faster to delete both partitions, create a new Win 8 partition, and then restore the image backup. I've noticed expanding a partition to the left is quite slow.

  4. #4
    New Lounger
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    Thanks. So I installed EasyBCD and made sure that Win8 is the default (which it was). Due to a lack of time, I haven't done anything else yet.
    Strangely, though, when booting I've lost the graphical interface when the choice of OS screen comes up. Now it's just a text screen, reminiscent of Windows 7. Any idea why this happened and how to restore the graphical boot interface?

    I will definitely create a backup (and a disc clone) before attempting this feat, probably this weekend. I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks again.

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Somehow you just started using the Win 7 boot manager rather than the Win 8 boot manager. You might double check Easy BCD. You can also check msconfig (type msconfig into search) See what boot manager is selected there.

    I no longer have a dual boot so I'm shooting in the dark a little here.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  6. #6
    4 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by dlauber View Post
    since Windows 7 was the original operating system, isn't there some concern about losing the Master Boot Record that Windows 7 had established on the drive?
    No. When you install a newer version of Windows on a system that also contains an older version, the MBR boot code is updated to the newer version's along with the boot code in the active partition (e.g., bootmgr gets installed there if necessary, though earlier boot managers like ntldr are retained for bootmgr to pass control to if you want to boot the older system).

    when booting I've lost the graphical interface when the choice of OS screen comes up. Now it's just a text screen, reminiscent of Windows 7. Any idea why this happened and how to restore the graphical boot interface?
    Exactly the reverse happened on my system: when Win 8 is set as the boot default I get the blue GUI screen, but when the 'earlier version of Windows' is set as the default I get the black text-based screen. I suppose that COULD be the Win 7 boot manager at work (I did have Win 7 installed for evaluation before I replaced it with Win 8 - my 'earlier version of Windows' is MUCH earlier...), but it does include Win 8 as a boot option so I had assumed it was just a quirk of the Win 8 boot manager's presentation process (could your use of EasyBCD rather than Win 8's own controls have confused it, I wonder?).

    One interesting aspect of the text-on-black screen is that it allows you to get to Win 8's Safe Mode (as well as recovery options, which the blue GUI screen also provides access to but I'm not sure Safe Mode is available via that screen).

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