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Old March 15 2014, 03:04 AM   #1
farmkid
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Which partitions can I delete?

So I just got a new computer at work, a Lenovo Thinkpad W540. The first thing I need to do with it is remove the Windows 8 OS that it came with and replace it with Windows 7 and Linux in a dual-boot configuration. I went to start that process and (after a bit of fiddling around to get it be able to boot from a DVD) found that there are already 5 partitions on the hard drive. I was expecting the main partition and a recovery partition, but not the other three.

There are two recovery partitions (one is only 1 GB and has some Windows something or other on it; maybe it has the recovery environment?), the main partition, the EFI partition, and another Microsoft reserved partition. I'm tempted to just delete them all and start over as if it's a new drive, but I don't want to screw it up. So, can anyone tell me which I need to keep, or can I just wipe it all and start over from scratch?

No, I don't need to keep the recovery, as if I ever migrate to Windows 8 I will be using my institutions volume license, not the license it came with.
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Old March 15 2014, 04:21 AM   #2
Ar-Pharazon
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Re: Which partitions can I delete?

If your plan is to completely wipe & reinstall a new OS (or 2), you really can't screw anything up.

Probably best to install Win7 first, as it has the process to delete the partitions and set up new ones if that's the way you want to go.

Since Win7 has been around as long as it has, I would do a slipstreamed install of it, so you can build in SP1 and avoid a lot of updates when you are up & running.

But slipstreaming is a pretty involved process.
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Old March 15 2014, 03:10 PM   #3
farmkid
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Re: Which partitions can I delete?

I figured I was safe just nuking them all and starting over, but I didn't want to do that and then find out it was a mistake. I've never worked with a computer with EFI, so I'm not so familiar with it and didn't want to screw something up.

As for the install order, Win 7 has to be first because it doesn't have the ability to create a bootloader with multiple OS's. If Linux is installed first, then Win 7, all access to Linux will be lost. Linux, OTOH, will find all the other OS's on the system and create entries for them in the bootloader so that you can choose which you want to use each boot. You actually have better control over the partitioning scheme with Linux, so it would be nice to install it first to get the partitions as desired, but it really has to be second. I'll just use Win 7 to delete all the partitions and then make its partition, leaving the rest blank, then use Linux to partition the rest of the drive.

I've done a lot of slipstreaming with Win XP, but never with Win 7. I would consider doing it in this case as well, but the install disc I have was downloaded from my institution just a little while ago and already has SP1 in it. The last time I used it (a couple of months ago) there were some updates to be installed but not that many. I think my IT department must create new updated install images every so often.
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Old March 15 2014, 03:44 PM   #4
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Re: Which partitions can I delete?

The way I understand it, EFI might need the EFI system partition to boot from. If you're in any doubt, just don't delete it. Unless it is in the middle of the disk, it won't interfere with your repartitioning. If it does, nuke it too, you could then make a new one if it turns out to be necessary.

I've never seen such partition on a computer before, so I can't tell you for sure how you should deal with it, but if anything goes wrong, you can always create a new one with your partition manager and format it. Just create a big enough partition with a type of "EFI system", and format it with FAT32. Not to mention that it will be stupid if Windows and your Linux distro can't create it for you during installation. I even suspect Linux/GRUB might allow you to boot without it, but I might be wrong.
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Old March 15 2014, 05:52 PM   #5
Ar-Pharazon
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Re: Which partitions can I delete?

farmkid wrote: View Post
I figured I was safe just nuking them all and starting over, but I didn't want to do that and then find out it was a mistake. I've never worked with a computer with EFI, so I'm not so familiar with it and didn't want to screw something up.

As for the install order, Win 7 has to be first because it doesn't have the ability to create a bootloader with multiple OS's. If Linux is installed first, then Win 7, all access to Linux will be lost. Linux, OTOH, will find all the other OS's on the system and create entries for them in the bootloader so that you can choose which you want to use each boot. You actually have better control over the partitioning scheme with Linux, so it would be nice to install it first to get the partitions as desired, but it really has to be second. I'll just use Win 7 to delete all the partitions and then make its partition, leaving the rest blank, then use Linux to partition the rest of the drive.

I've done a lot of slipstreaming with Win XP, but never with Win 7. I would consider doing it in this case as well, but the install disc I have was downloaded from my institution just a little while ago and already has SP1 in it. The last time I used it (a couple of months ago) there were some updates to be installed but not that many. I think my IT department must create new updated install images every so often.
Yeah, I slipstreamed XP too, but not Win7, but it's old enough now it should be doable.

I actually wish I had done a few months ago when I reinstalled Win7 on this machine.
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Old March 16 2014, 02:10 PM   #6
Venardhi
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Re: Which partitions can I delete?

Or, instead of downgrading your OS, you could upgrade to 8.1, set it to boot to desktop, switch all default programs to desktop applications and never ever see the touch interface ever again while still maintaining all the performance upgrades.
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Old March 16 2014, 02:31 PM   #7
farmkid
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Re: Which partitions can I delete?

No, I can't use 8.1. The impetus for getting this computer was to run a new piece of equipment I'll be trying out, and the software to run it only runs on Windows 7. Once I'm done with this trial (it's an early access program for some new technology) I may go to 8.1 as you suggest, but for the time being at least it has to be 7.
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Old March 16 2014, 02:36 PM   #8
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Re: Which partitions can I delete?

Compatibility mode doesn't help?
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Old March 16 2014, 04:10 PM   #9
farmkid
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Re: Which partitions can I delete?

I don't know. I don't have the instrument yet, but I need to have the computer ready to go when I do get it. The instructions I received say it is only compatible with Windows 7, so I intend to put that on it so that I don't lose a day or two getting it ready to go when it does arrive, which may happen if I were to keep 8 and plan to use compatibility mode. Besides, I need to repartition the drive anyway to put Linux on it and to create another data partition to be accessed from both operating systems. I might as well recover as much hard drive space as I can when I do.
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Old March 17 2014, 07:05 AM   #10
GalaxyX
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Re: Which partitions can I delete?

You should see 4 partitions. There should be a small Recovery partition, an EFI partition, and the main Windows 8 partition.

Then there's a large Recovery Partition, that's where your Lenovo has all the install files for Windows 8.

I believe Windows 8 has an EFI partition to maintain compatibility with EFI BIOS, which new PC motherboards are starting to support.

If you are going to install Windows 7 only, you should theoretically be safe deleting them all, and installing Windows 7 from your DVD. Some BIOS' require to be switched from UEFI to Legacy for this to work successfully.

I would confirm with Lenovo all of this just to make sure, and I would also create Recovery CD's out of that Windows 8 if you ever plan on selling that laptop to someone.
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