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Solved: Deleting old system partition

Discussion in 'Windows Vista' started by Morthian, Jul 4, 2009.

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  1. Morthian

    Morthian Thread Starter

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    I used to use WinXP, then later installed Vista on my other identical drive. I now want to format the drive containing WinXP, but when I try, it fails because it "cannot delete the system partition".

    My CDs are deep in storage somewhere, so I can't (conveniently) do it through a Windows install program.

    So basically what I'm asking is... how else do I format this hd?
     
  2. peck1234

    peck1234

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    if it says "cannot delete the system partition" as you mentioned, thats beacause your operating system is using that as your main partition.... (without this you could not boot into windows)

    You'll need the disk's to properly format and reinstall....

    Im guessing you tried right click my computer>mangage>disk management
     
  3. Morthian

    Morthian Thread Starter

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    Yes, I did try disk management.

    I considered the idea that Vista might actually be using data on that drive... but I just couldn't think of any good reason why it would be.
    However, I do notice that only the XP drive shows "System", but both drives show "Primary Partition".
    See here -> http://morthian.googlepages.com/Untitle2d.jpg

    Is a Windows disk really the only safe way to do this? There's no way I'm looking for that thing...
    I guess I'll just have to make a new one. =/
     
  4. ANDI-R

    ANDI-R

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    you have to try with 1)partition magic 8.05 2)easus 3)paragon
     
  5. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    The "system partition" designation means the partition that contains the boot files (manager). So, the boot manager needs to be moved to or rebuilt on a different partition, presumably the one that now has Vista installed. I do not know if you can do that with the tools suggested by ANDI-R, but that's the function you're looking for.
     
  6. Morthian

    Morthian Thread Starter

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    Apparently Partition Magic and Easus are not compatible for Vista. Paragon, however, claims to work with Vista and even Windows 7. So I'm going to give that one a try...
     
  7. Morthian

    Morthian Thread Starter

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    I am afraid of damaging one of my HDs or losing files by using one of these programs; they do not seem to mention anything regarding my problem.

    Regardless of the fact that I installed Vista on a separate HD as XP, Vista, for some reason, installed vital system files on the XP drive.

    Vista requires my old XP hard drive to boot, and I am unable to format it... which I really need to do.
     
  8. TheOutcaste

    TheOutcaste

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    Windows always puts the files that boot the OS onto the first Active partition (shown in Disk management as both System and Active), regardless of where you install the actual OS files (shown in Disk management as Boot, may also be Active). It's the first Active partition that the BIOS uses to start the boot process, so that's where the system files have to go.

    Is there some reason you need to format?
    You can just delete all the files on that partition (Except for the boot files in the Root of C: and the Boot folder)?
    You'll have to disable the Recycle Bin for drive C, turn off System Restore monitoring of the C: drive, and also take ownership of the System Volume Information folder (and possibly others) to be able to delete some of the folders.

    You can move the boot files to the Vista partition using the Vista DVD or a Win7 DVD to do a Repair.
    If you can't get to your Vista disk easily, you can download the Windows 7 RC, and use it in place of the Vista DVD to do a Startup Repair.

    First, in Disk Management, right click the Vista partition on Disk 1 and click Mark Partition as Active
    Power down the system and disconnect the XP Drive. Since the Vista boot manager is on this drive, it will now be "missing", so we can repair it
    Connect the Vista drive in it's place so it will be Disk 0. If these are IDE drives you'll have to change jumpers or positions on the IDE Cable. If SATA drives, just move the DATA cable from the XP drive to the Vista drive.
    Boot with the Vista/Win7 DVD
    Select your Language settings, click Next
    Click Repair your computer
    It will search for Vista installations and display a list, Highlight the Vista entry and click Next
    Click Startup Repair. This will restore the "missing" bootmgr to the Vista partition.
    When it's finished, click Finish, and the system should boot to Vista.

    HTH

    Jerry
     
  9. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    If your machine will boot OK with the old drive disconnected, then you have all your needed boot files and MBR on the new drive.

    The old drive may be designated as "system" simply because the new installation detects a pagefile on that drive, even if it is not being used.

    If your machine will boot OK with the old drive disconnected, then just connect the old drive and boot from a partitioning CD. Use the booted tool to remove the partitions from the old drive.

    Then, reboot and set up the old drive as you want in Disk Management.

    Right-click Computer > Manage > Disk Management.

    Partitioning Tools-->

    Free:

    Dr.Freeware Boot CD (also has file recovery, disk imaging and cloning)
    EASEUS Partition Master (Vista-compatible)
    Paragon Partition Manager 8.5-- PPM Special Edition serial and free registration
    CloneZilla GParted LiveCD (Complete partitioning and drive imaging/restoration tools)
    SystemRescueCD
    Gparted LiveCD
    Parted Magic
    Vista Recovery Disk (Shrink, expand, create, delete partitions)
    XP Recovery Console CD image (Create and delete partitions with diskpart.exe)


    Commercial:

    O&O Partition Manager 2 (Vista-compatible)
    Paragon Partition Manager
    Paragon Hard Disk Manager
    Terabyte BootIt NG
    Acronis Disk Director
    V-Com (Avanquest) Partition Commander
    EASEUS Partition Manager
     
  10. Morthian

    Morthian Thread Starter

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    I found my Vista CD, rewired the drive, and ran the Startup Repair a few times until it finally told me it could not find any more problems.

    When I try to load Vista I receive this error:

    Code:
    GRUB loading, please wait...
    Error 17
    I could be wrong, but this looks like an error from Linux, which I had installed on that hard drive before Vista. However, I formatted the drive before installing Vista.

    Vista still requires both hard drives to load.
     
  11. TerryNet

    TerryNet Moderator

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    Technically it's a message from Grub, not Linux; but I understand what you mean, and you are correct. You may have to use Grub (or another non-Microsoft partition/boot application) to straighten things out. Beyond that I'm sure that TheOutcaste and Elvandil can give better and more specific advice.
     
  12. TheOutcaste

    TheOutcaste

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    Formating re-writes the Boot Sector, but doesn't overwrite the MBR, so Grub was not removed from the MBR.

    Just goes to show that Startup Repair doesn't check the MBR to see if another bootloader is installed. You'd think they would have an option to let you overwrite it if desired, but we have to do it the hard way.

    Remove the XP drive again and set the Vista drive as the first boot device.
    Boot with the Vista/Win7 DVD
    Select your Language settings, click Next
    Click Repair your computer
    It will search for Vista installations and display a list, Highlight the Vista entry and click Next
    Click on Command Prompt
    When the prompt opens (should be showing X:\Sources>) type bootrec /FixMBR and press Enter.
    Shouldn't need to, but can't hurt to also type bootrec /FixBoot to write a new boot sector.
    Close the prompt, remove the DVD, and click Restart.

    That should fix it for ya. Just to check I installed Grub onto a Vista system and got the same error 17 you got. The Bootrec /FixMBR command fixed it.

    Jerry
     
  13. Morthian

    Morthian Thread Starter

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    THANK YOU!!

    This worked perfectly. Vista now boots from the right drive, and I was finally able to format the other one.

    For some reason I had to "reactive" Windows afterward, but everything works great now!

    Thanks again,
    Morthian
     
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