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  1.    02 Dec 2015 #51
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 2,366
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1706 (CU build 15063.674)

    Windows 10 registration is kept at Microsoft servers. You can reinstall the same version at the same computer by skipping serial. It will activate automatically once connected to the internet. To backup all partitions, you may have to clone to another disk or create an image of the whole disk to another disk
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    02 Dec 2015 #52
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 73
    Windows 10 Home
    Thread Starter

    As a quick comparison, these are the partitions that my Acer Aspire (with Windows 7) has:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Nice and simple - System Reserved (which could be a bit bigger, but hey), Recovery and Windows 7 (C). So how comes my HP has got this weird "Other" partition, and the "WINRE" partition? Could these be deleted, or will it make Windows 10 unbootable?

    Because if I deleted those two, I would have: System, Windows 10 (C), Recovery (D), Windows 7 (F). They are all primary and I would only have 4 partitions - so I could convert my hard drive for windows 7 to recognize.
    @spapakons: I have a 2TB external hard drive, which I have already started to use for my Acer Aspire - could I use this to clone the unnecessary partitions to, which I could then delete and thus be able to convert my hard drive for Windows 7's format?
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    03 Dec 2015 #53
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 2,366
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1706 (CU build 15063.674)

    You can make a disk image (single file or set of files) of your hard disk, no need to clone it. Then you could try deleting "other" and the WINRE partitions. If something goes wrong, you can restore from the image. If all is OK you will need to repair startup to boot into Windows 10
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  4.    04 Dec 2015 #54
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 73
    Windows 10 Home
    Thread Starter

    Hi,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I have got legacy boot enabled and my boot order has been changed so that it checks the DVD drive and USB drive as well, as I'll need USB boot for recovering Windows 10.

    I should be able to make a disc image, so long as I am able to find the option in Windows 10. As for converting the hard drive to MBR format (which is apparently the required format for windows 7), can you please explain how to do this via Partition Wizard?

    Also, I have just had a look on the Windows 8 laptop that we have, and here is the partition layout for it:

    Click image for larger version. 

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    It's not very clear from the photo but it says:
    450MB (Healthy, Recovery) -> 350MB (Healthy, System Reserved) -> C: (Windows 8) -> 750MB (Healthy, Recovery) -> D: (RECOVERY).

    Why on earth are there so many partitions on Windows 8/10, yet on Windows 7 and earlier, it is very straightforward?
    Last edited by spotify95; 04 Dec 2015 at 09:13.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    04 Dec 2015 #55
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 9,548
    Windows 10 Pro

    On the computer I am upgrading for my father in law (old computer which had Windows XP on it) I have two partitions. I have a combined system reserved (boot), recovery and install partition and the OS partition. Here is what I did:

    This computer will not boot from USB flash drive (no bios support) and I really did not want to make a DVD for it (started it too late at night). This computer only supports MBR booting, I do not know if this would work with UEFI and GPT disk. So, from the Windows XP on it I used MiniTool Partition Wizard free to shrink/move partitions as required to create a 7.5GB empty space at the end of the hard drive, formatted that as primary partition NTFS. I mounted a Windows 10 install ISO and copied all the files from it to the new partition. I used the bootsect command (from boot folder on the files I just copied) to write nt60 boot sector to the new partition and mbr on the hard drive. I set the new partition as the active partition.

    I used MiniTool Partition Wizard to delete all other partitions on the hard drive except for the Windows XP OS partition and the new partition I created and expand the Windows XP OS partition to fill the remainder of the hard drive. When the computer rebooted, it booted into Windows setup running from the new partition. I selected custom install, reformatted the Windows XP partition so that it is now an empty NTFS partition and pointed Windows install to it.

    As I expected, the Windows 10 install added itself as a boot menu item to the boot files on the install partition so I ended up with a dual boot between installed Windows 10 and Windows 10 setup. I used EasyBCD to bypass any delay/user choices so the computer boots right into Windows 10, but the Windows 10 install item is still available as "another operating system" in advanced recovery. If it was my computer, I would have a 3-5 second delay on the boot menu screen.

    Instead of creating a separate recovery partition, Windows 10 installed the recovery environment (WindowsRE.wim) right inside the Windows 10 OS partition. I have not been successful yet in moving it to the combined boot/recovery/install partition because \Recovery\WindowsRE is a highly protected folder that I haven't broke yet, but I will. It is probably also available somewhere in the files I copied from the Windows 10 install ISO. Once I get \Recovery\WindowsRE established on the boot/recovery/install partition, I will point recovery agent to it using reagentc /setreimage /path: to point to the b/r/i partition. I already set reagentc /setosimage /path: to point to \sources\install.esd in the b/r/I partition. That enables "copy system files" to the make recovery disk process and also enables the reset windows function in advanced recovery mode. After this is all done, I will remove the drive letter from the b/r/i partition.

    I have a similar setup on my computer where I have also added the Macrium Reflect Free Rescue disk ISO and MiniTool Partition Wizard Free ISO to my customized recovery partition so my computer pauses for 5 seconds on a boot menu that offers: Windows 10 Home, Windows 10 Pro, Windows 10 Install, Macrium Reflect, and MiniTool Partition Wizard. I kept a separate boot partition on my computer, but I could easily transfer that function to my customized recovery partition.

    Again, unfortunately, this is all with MBR booting so I can't confirm it would work with UEFI (although, I have a spare UEFI laptop I will experiment on in the future) - my computer has a hybrid UEFI bios - it has some UEFI functions, but booting with a GPT disk is not one of them.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    04 Dec 2015 #56
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 2,366
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1706 (CU build 15063.674)

    Well, Macrium Reflect (or similar cloning tool) could have the option to create an image of the disk instead to cloning to another disk. Use that to create a image of the entire disk before you do any changes, so you can later recover if something goes wrong. Then use MiniTool Partition Wizard to delete all recovery partitions, so you have only 4 primary partitions (system reserved, "other", win10 and the target win7 partition). Now you should be able to convert GPT to MBR. Do the conversion and then boot with Windows 7 DVD or USB and try installing Windows 7 on the target partition. Since the disk will be MBR, it should allow you to do that. Then boot with Windows 10 USB and repair startup to boot into Windows 10. Add a boot entry for Windows 7 with EasyBCD and that's it. It is simpler than it sounds.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    04 Dec 2015 #57
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 73
    Windows 10 Home
    Thread Starter

    Hi, thank you for the advice.

    It is a bit late to do anything now but I should have time tomorrow to get all of this done. I am in the process of downloading Macrium Reflect, so that I can make a system image of my PC, in the case that something goes wrong.

    You mentioned before about deleting "other" and "Winre" - now you are saying about deleting D: (recovery) instead of Other. If something happened to my PC in the future, would it be problematic if I didn't have the recovery partition? More to the point, would it damage my PC if I deleted "other" instead of D:? I just don't see the point of why they made a 128MB partition for something...

    I have already found the conversion tool in Partition Wiz, it's quite easy to do. And I have a windows 7 disc and a windows 10 USB. Will I need a windows 10 ISO as well, or will the recovery USB that my supplier gave ke be fine?

    Thanks for clarifying, I just want to be certain I know everything before I do this tomorrow.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    04 Dec 2015 #58
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 9,548
    Windows 10 Pro

    The only partitions you need to have to boot into Windows is the partition that contains the boot files, which is usually labeled EFI or System Reserved and with Windows 10 is usually 350-500mb in size. It should the partition that is maked "active" and should have a file called BCD more than likely in a folder called Boot. And, of course, you need the Operating System Partition.

    What you will lose when you delete the WinRE (WindowsRE) and recovery partitions is the ability to boot into the advanced troubleshooting menu (Windows recovery environment) and to reset Windows via the troubleshooting menu. You will also lose any software and/or drivers that came from the manufacturer of the computer. You will also lose the ability to create a recovery drive from inside Windows.

    Some of the same functions can be performed by booting from a Windows 10 Install media - you will have the advanced troubleshooting menu available (repair this PC option) and you will have the ability to reset Windows. The only thing you lose permanently are the drivers/software that the manufacturer added.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  9.    05 Dec 2015 #59
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 2,366
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit 1706 (CU build 15063.674)

    There is a command you can execute to backup the drivers. I don't recall it right now, just browse the tutorials. After you do that, you lose nothing.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  10.    05 Dec 2015 #60
    Join Date : Oct 2014
    Posts : 73
    Windows 10 Home
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by spapakons View Post
    Well, Macrium Reflect (or similar cloning tool) could have the option to create an image of the disk instead to cloning to another disk. Use that to create a image of the entire disk before you do any changes, so you can later recover if something goes wrong. Then use MiniTool Partition Wizard to delete all recovery partitions, so you have only 4 primary partitions (system reserved, "other", win10 and the target win7 partition). Now you should be able to convert GPT to MBR. Do the conversion and then boot with Windows 7 DVD or USB and try installing Windows 7 on the target partition. Since the disk will be MBR, it should allow you to do that. Then boot with Windows 10 USB and repair startup to boot into Windows 10. Add a boot entry for Windows 7 with EasyBCD and that's it. It is simpler than it sounds.
    Hello there,

    Thank you for the advice. Today is the day I am installing Windows 7.

    I have made an image of the disk using Macrium - the disk image is on my USB 2TB external hard drive.

    I have deleted "Other" and "WinRE" partitions via Partition Wiz. I am moving C: and the unallocated space (about 750MB) has been added to F:.

    Once that is all done, and I can boot into Windows 10 (shouldn't be a problem as C: seems to have "boot" in it's description, and I have left the System Reserved equivalent partition alone.

    Next steps: converting the disk to MBR and installing Windows 7. Then using my USB drive to repair Windows 10 if necessary.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 
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