Simple question about dual booting Vista and 7

#1
Hello
I am upgrading my wife's laptop to Windows 7 (64 bit). It currently has Windows Vista (32 bit).
I know I can not directly upgrade. I would just do a clean install HOWEVER we would like to keep Vista around until summer, as we home school our kids and everything is set up. It would be a major undertaking to reinstall the school 20 gb of DVD data plus configs. Hours and hours of work. My wife only uses the laptop for school and to organize her photos and do a few sundry things on the web.
I would like to dual boot 7 and Vista, which I know how to do. My question is this:
Once summer arrives and I no longer need the school program, how do I remove the Vista installation and just leave the Windows 7 installation?
I can not seem to find the answer anywhere.
My other option is to wait til summer and just do the clean install then.
At this point I have done 5 installs - 2 clean and 3 upgrades to Windows 7 and I do not see the need to keep Vista around long term.
Thanks
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#2
Dual-boot Vista and 7 now (you say you know how - awesome. Otherwise, we're happy to help).

Once summer arrives, use EasyBCD to change the boot drive over to the Windows 7 partition, then delete the Windows Vista partition.

All done.
 
#3
But what about the other stuff on the Vista partition once I delete it? Will that be gone as well? I am concerned about the photo's here. If I recall correctly, when I did this with EasyBCD about a year ago, I did not loose a thing when I deleted the partition. (XP/Vista dual boot). Its no problem for me to back it up as I have a spare external drive and it totals maybe 12 - 15GB of stuff, but I prefer to leave it as it is.
Also, so that I make sure I do it correctly, where is the "guide" to dual booting Vista/7 when Vista is already installed?
Thanks.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#4
If you delete the Vista partition, it will be deleted. You need to copy them over to the 7 partition before deleting the Vista one and after setting up the dual-boot.

Or just don't delete the Vista partition.
 
#5
If you delete the Vista partition, it will be deleted. You need to copy them over to the 7 partition before deleting the Vista one and after setting up the dual-boot.

Or just don't delete the Vista partition.
I see... it leaves me right now with a 25gb C drive when I boot off the 7 OS. I have about 25 more gb free, but I can not add them to the partition with 7 installed, only the Vista partition...so you see why I am concerned about removing the Vista partition in June. If I delete the Vista partition, will the computer simply boot in 7 then? Could I then add the remaining 220 gb to the 7 partition, or would it remain a separate partition and separate drive???

Do I need something like Acronis to do this?

Addendum:

Tried Acronis to resize the partitions so they were equal size... it blew up!
 
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mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#6
I'm not sure what you mean 'it blew up?'

IF you delete the Vista partition, your PC will no longer boot. You first have to change the boot partition with EasyBCD 2.0, then delete the Vista partition.
 
#7
I'm not sure what you mean 'it blew up?'

IF you delete the Vista partition, your PC will no longer boot. You first have to change the boot partition with EasyBCD 2.0, then delete the Vista partition.
I had Acronis Disk Director resize the partitions so they were about equal. It locked both partitions and started doing its thing. It is slow going and I peeked at it every once in a while.
I figure it would have taken about 90 minutes as I watched the percentages go. I came back a while later and the laptop was shut down. I powered it back on but nothing. Had to remove the battery. Everything came back up, but none of the partitioning was done, but it did boot into both Vista and 7 partitions.

If I can use EasyBCD to do this, that would be great. I would want to shrink the Vista partition by about half, give that half to 7. In June I would make the 7 partition the boot partition and give it the rest of the drive space. I just do not know how to work EasyBCD enough to do that.

When I tried using Windows to do this it would only let me shrink the Vista partition by about another 30 GB AND it would not let me add that to the 7 partition, which is why I went with Acronis, which stopped working and powered off the laptop.

SO can I use EasyBCD to do this and how?

Thanks for your help so far!
Andy
 
#8
First of all you could have just use the W7 disk to dual W7 and Vista....MS coded it so you could do both. You just needed to install W7 on the other partition. Vista needed to be install first. Now use Macrium reflect from CNET, freeware and it gives you the option to delete partition and delete partition and delet e the contents........ Aftterwards you may have to use EASUS to resize your partition to get your full drive back. EASUS is the former partition master and also freeware from CNET. I just did it for my Windows XP and W7 RC version. I now have W7 home 32 bit..
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#9
No Sorry. EasyBCD isn't a partition manager. It manipulates the Vista/W7 BCD.
You can use Disk Management to shrink any partition (create space at the high end), or to extend it (into space at the high end).
It won't allow extending into space at the low end, or extending the partition with the pagefile so, though you can make Vista smaller, W7 can't extend into the space you create between it and W7.
You should be able to use just about any partition manager to copy W7 to any suitable external space you have, and then shrink Vista, reformat all the space after it as a new single partition and copy W7 back again. That will probably be a lot quicker than using Acronis to shuffle it all back down the disk dynamically.
If you couldn't shrink Vista by as much as you wanted, remember to defrag it first if you don't let it do so itself on a regular daily basis. Remember also to move the pagefile off Vista if it's there (control panel/ system/advanced/performance/advanced) before you defrag (it's unmoveable and will prevent liberation of all possible space)
 
#10
All very good suggestions.
Looking at the computer, it is simple to copy all her photographs over. The problem is retrieving her passwords for all her web sites that she has no idea what they are and then getting them into W7. She has almost no other software on there that she uses - most of it is bloatware that shipped with the computer. Mail. Surfing. Photos. School. That is it.
At this point I almost want to format and start over, but I will have to wait until June. Her computer is "acting funny" after the aborted attempt at using Acronis to resize the partitions.
It is working, but the desktop was reset to default, causing her to loose all her icons. I found them and put them back. Not sure what Acronis had to do with that!

On the good side, she moved all her photos from all over her hard drive to one directory.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#11
"Windows Easy Transfer" should copy all of the user settings across to a new install, though if they're now a bit messed up, it might be better to start again.
 
#12
"Windows Easy Transfer" should copy all of the user settings across to a new install, though if they're now a bit messed up, it might be better to start again.
MIght work. She restored most of her settings and passwords and can boot into either OS. I might go this route in June when school is done.
Problem is... she uses Firefox. Wonder if Windows Easy Transfer will get the passwords from there.
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#13
I'm not a Firefox user (Maxthon, Opera and IE8 in that order), but I believe it has a facility to transfer favourites, which a search of their site should reveal.