Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Use Bootsect to extract Vista or Windows 7 from a dual-boot configuration

I recently dug out one of the spare hard drives that I use on my test system to see what was on it. I discovered that it contained a dual-boot configuration consisting of Microsoft Windows XP and a late beta version of Windows Vista. The original boot partition of the drive contained XP, and Vista was installed on a second partition. Of course, this meant that Vista had installed its Windows Boot Manager and its Boot Configuration Data system on the boot partition.

I wanted to get rid of the Vista partition as well as its Windows Boot Manager system so that I could use XP and have access to the full hard disk. My first thought was to simply reformat the hard disk and then reinstall XP; however, the more I thought about that plan of action, the more it sounded like too much work. I was about to remove that particular hard disk and try another from the box when I remembered something about the Bootsect command.

After doing a bit of investigation, I found what I was looking for — the instructions listing the complete command line for using the Bootsect command to remove the Windows Boot Manager and its Boot Configuration Data system from the boot partition and replace it with XP’s NTLDR boot management system. Taking the next step, I discovered that the same command line will also work to remove Windows 7 Beta from a dual-boot configuration with XP.

In this Microsoft Windows Vista and Windows 7 Report, I’ll show you how to use the Bootsect command to extract Windows Vista or Windows 7 Beta from a dual-boot configuration.