can't delete XP, both partitions active

#1
Hey gang. My Toshiba notebook came with Vista64 and I dual boot XP just to see which I liked better. Im sticking with vista. So, now im trying to get rid of the partition with XP on it and it's seemingly impossible. How can both partitions be primary?(meant to say primary in post title, not active :smile: ) here's what disk management shows:


C: is Vista, D: is XP. I tried Paragon partition manager and Easy BCD...no dice. This is my first time dealing with deleting a partition from a dual boot system so i'm completely clueless. Help is much appreciated! Thanks!

-Eric
 
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JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
Deleting the D: partition would be bad because it is the partition you're booting the computer with. If you delete it, you won't be able to boot Vista.

If you'd like to continue, boot from the Vista DVD -> Repair my computer -> Next -> Command Prompt

First you'll need to find which partition is which by drive letter. You can do this with diskpart:

diskpart
list volume
exit
Next you'll need to copy the boot files for Vista over to the Vista partition using the copy command. Replace A: with the drive letter for XP and B: with the drive letter for Vista:

copy /Y A:\bootmgr B:\bootmgr
copy /Y A:\boot\bcd B:\boot\bcd
Last part is to set the the Vista partition as active:

diskpart
select disk 0
Replace 0 with the correct number for the partition as listed:

list part
select part 0
active
exit
Now reboot the computer and see if you can still boot Vista. If you can, delete XP's partition/re-format it for other purposes.

If you can't or can't delete the partition from disk management now, boot from the Vista DVD again.

Go back to the command prompt on the Vista DVD. To delete the XP partition replace 0 with the right number for partition again:

diskpart
select disk 0
list part
select part 0
delete
exit
If you cant/couldn't boot Vista up to this point exit command prompt and select startup repair if you select your install from the OSes to repair.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#3
The Master Boot Record contains a Partition Table with space for 4 entries. Each entry defines a primary partition.

When HDDs got so big that people wanted more than 4 partitions, they invented the concept of an extended partition.

One (and only one) of the 4 partitions can be extended, the other 3 are still primary.

The extended partition can be subdivided (there's no point in having it otherwise) into logical disks.

The original definition of a primary partition (it doesn't mean primary in the sense of "first") was "a partition which can contain an operating system". Since Windows XP (SP1 I think), the OS can also be on a logical disk, but the old restriction partially remains because the Windows boot files must still be on a primary partition. (Indicated by the "system" flag)

One (and only one) of the primary partitions is flagged "active". This is the flag the the MBR IPL code looks for in order to locate the partition which is going to be used to boot the PC.

Your XP partition is "active" "system" i.e. that's where all the boot files are, including Vista's (the "boot" flag on Vista just means that Vista is the running (or booted) system. Confusingly, it has nothing at all to do with the boot files.

That's why you can't just get rid of XP without making Vista "active" "system" first.
 
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