xp/xp dual boot: problem uninstalling


I installed a 2nd version of winXP on my HD which was partitioned into two (C=Primary and D=logical). The new version on D is running great as the old (C) one was full of glitches which was the reason for my reinstall. I would like at this point to free up more space and remove C if possible. I have done quite a bit of research and I have been unable to find an answer to the problem and after much effort and tools, unable to do a clean format of the C drive. In reference to this post here:

Windows XP Partition: Does it have to be Primary? - The NeoSmart Forums

Actually, versions of Windows XP post-SP2 can be installed to logical partitions, but you might have some problems getting it there.

But, for instance, you can change a primary partition to logical and still get the XP on it to boot if you update boot.ini as well.

The only requirement is that all the bootloader files be on a Primary, Active NTFS or FAT32 partition.

As you can see in this KB article, the ARC naming path supports logical partitions.

The problem is that Windows setup doesn't support the creation of logical partitions - so you'd have to format/partition your drive first with a tool that does (Acronis Disk Director, GParted) then install XP to the logical partition.

You may have to manually set up boot.ini to point to the correct location as well, though.
I was unable to find out exactly what files I would need to maintain on the C drive. My hope is to be able to shrik it down using Partition Manager if I am unable to completely remove it.

Thank you very much for any help you might be able to provide.


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
Hi nathaniel, welcome to NST.
As you've found from experience, XP runs fine from a logical disk as long as the boot files have a primary partition to go on.
In your case that was fine because they were already there from your pre-existing XP.
the IPL program in the MBR at the front of the HDD looks for the partition flagged as "active" and goes to its bootsector to find the bootloader (NTLDR).
Only a primary partition can be marked as "active", hence the need to have at least one.
You need to keep NTLDR ntdetect.com and boot.ini from your original XP install, and you can edit boot.ini to remove the entry for the old XP so that the new one is booted without the need for a menu.
Have a read of the wiki.
Thank you very much for the fast and informed response Terry,

After checking with the wiki you gave and your own response, I think I've found exactly what I needed!

" This partition should contain NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM, and BOOT.INI."

Sounds like as long as those 3 files are there I can remove the rest.

Also, maybe it might be of interest to other readers, but I found this a nice introduction into some of the tech regarding dual booting:


Thank you again!


Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
An even better guide, more up to date, for background reading Nat.
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