Undoing a Windows 7 Dual Boot

If you want your full hard drive back, or are ready to go whole hog like Shaun did, there are two steps to recovering your partition.

1. Remove the Windows 7 partition.  You can do this simply with the free Easus Partition Manager Home, or GParted.  Make sure you have any documents or files you want to save backed up.

2. Edit the bootloader to remove the choice for Windows 7.  Windows XP uses a boot.ini file, but Windows Vista and 7 use a new boot resource called Boot Configuration Data.  If you use Windows XP and dual boot with Vista or 7, the bootloader is upgraded to the new BCD.  There is a command line tool called BCDEdit that you can use to edit the BCD if you’re brave, but there are also GUI editors.  I used the free EasyBCD, and simply deleted the entry for Windows 7.  Although EasyBCD is meant for Vista, it also runs on XP (because that’s what I have).

You now have your space back!

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Setting Up a Windows 7 Dual Boot

A nice, safe way to mess around with the Windows 7 beta is to set up a dual boot system.

1. Create an image of your hard drive.  Just in case.  For this, you’ll need an external drive with enough free space to hold your image (at least the same size as the drive you’re cloning, and a LiveCD of PING – PartImage Is Not Ghost.  Boot into the LiveCD, and start the imaging process.  This can take a couple hours, depending on the size of your drive.  You’ll have a sector-by-sector backup

2. Create a new partition.  You can do this with the free Easeus Partition Manager Home Edition, or the live CD for GParted.  I’ve used both tools without any problems, but be careful on your own.

3. Download the Windows 7 Beta, and get a key, too.  The beta program has been extended until Feb 10.  Burn the ISO to a DVD (it won’t fit on a CD), then run the installer.  You can either boot from the DVD, or start the installer directly from within Windows XP or Vista.  When it comes time to choose where you want to install Windows 7, make sure you choose the new partition, not your current one!

The downloads of PING, GParted and Windows 7 are all ISO images.  If you need a free tool to burn ISOs to CDs or DVDs, I strongly recommend Imgburn.

If you don’t have a DVD burner for Windows 7, you can mount the ISO as a virtual drive using Pismo File Mount, and then running the installer from the virtual drive.  This works because the Windows 7 installer can be run from within Win XP or Vista.  You can’t do this for Easeus, GParted or PING, since you need to boot out of Windows to make the changes.

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Installing II7 on Windows 7 Beta

Windows 7 ships with IIS 7, but IIS is not enabled by default.  To turn on IIS 7, you need to dig into a new area of the Control Panel.  One quick note—unlike past setups, when you choose a parent option, this does not automatically select all of the child options in all cases.  You’re better off expanding parents and choosing the children you need.

  1. Go Start >> Control Panel
  2. Click on the green Programs header
  3. Under Programs and Features, click on Turn Windows features on or off
  4. Select Web Management Tools.  This will only install the IIS Management Console.  If you need to install IIS 6 management scripts, you’ll need to expand Web Management Tools then IIS 6 Management Compatibility and select the parts you need.  Again, this is only for IIS 6 management scripts, not application compatibility.
  5. Expand the World Wide Web Services, and drill into each of the children nodes to choose the one you want.
  6. Finally, choose the Internet Information Services Hostable Web Core.

Keep in mind that IIS 7 is a radically different web server than IIS 6, so you have a learning curve once you get this installed.  Also, not every application that runs in IIS 6 will run in IIS 7.  You may become very familiar with IIS 6 compatibility modes.

Dual boot Windows 7 Beta – how to change the default OS

To test the Windows 7 Beta, I repartitioned my hard drive (with Easeaus Partition Manager—flawless, try the free Home edition) and installed Windows 7 on the new smaller partition.

When you do this, a boot menu appears before any OS is loaded, allowing you to choose which one to boot into.  The default is set to Windows 7.  After a short delay, the system boots into the default choice.

I’d prefer to have the default be XP, since that’s where everything I need is loaded.  I don’t have the time or room to reinstall everything I use on my Windows 7 partition.

Here’s how to change the default boot choice:

  1. Right-click on Computer, and choose Properties
  2. Choose Advanced System Settings from the menu on the left.
  3. On the Advanced tab, click the Settings button in the Startup and Recovery section.
  4. You can now choose which OS to boot into, and how long to display the choices.  The default was 30 seconds, which means that the choices are displayed for about as long as it takes Windows 7 to boot.
  5. OK your way back out, and next time you restart, your default choice will be changed.

Windows 7 Beta Installation Error: Windows cannot copy files…

When installing the Windows 7 beta, I received the following error:

Windows cannot copy files required for installation. The files may be corrupt or missing. Make sure all files required for installation are available, and restart the installation. Error code: 0x80070241


If you get this error, the problem is your ISO file.  I had burned a DVD and mounted the ISO directly.  My buddy Nate burned me a new cd from his ISO, and the installation was fine.

I think the problem occurred when I paused the download, and resumed at a later time.  I guess Akami’s download manager isn’t as robust as BITS or Bitorrent.

So if you get this error, download another ISO, or find someone whose worked.

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