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How to Uninstall or Remove Windows 8 From Your Dual-Boot Setup

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So far we have shown you how to setup a classic dual-boot for Windows 8, and we even showed you how to do it without creating a new partition. If you still aren’t sold on the new version of Windows, here’s how to remove it entirely.

Note: We will be playing with the Boot Configuration Database in this guide, and as this is an integral part of the boot process you should follow this guide extremely carefully, or suffer the consequences, which will most likely be an unbootable PC. This guide also assumes that you have dual-booted according to our articles, and do not have any other operating systems besides Windows 7 and Windows 8 installed.

Restoring The Boot Loader

Note: This section applies to everyone who wishes to uninstall Windows 8 from both the classic dual-booting method, as well as the VHD method.

Since we will be removing Windows 8, the first thing you will need to do is boot into your Windows 7 instance. Now we could always use the command line to manipulate the BCD settings, but there is a much easier way using a tool called EasyBCD, so we will go that route. Once you have downloaded a copy, it’s an easy “next, next, finish” type of install. Once it has installed, go ahead and launch it.

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From here we need to delete Windows 8 from the Boot Configuration Database, on the left hand side you will see a button labeled “Edit Boot Menu” click it to get started.

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On the right hand side, there will be a list of all the boot loaders that your computer has been configured to use. Select the entry named “Windows Developer Preview” once you have it highlighted click the delete button. You will be prompted with a confirmation message, choose ‘”yes”.

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Now that Windows 7, is the only entry in the database. We need to set it as the default option. To do this select the check box, under the Default column.

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Since Windows 7 is going to be our only operating system, we should also select the radio button labeled “Skip the boot menu” under the Timeout Options.

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You can now click the Save Settings button. To check that the changes have been made, you should reboot, you should boot straight into Windows 7.

Editors Note: From here depending on which method you used to dual-boot, the finishing touches will be different. If you used the classic method, the next section applies to you, if you used the VHD method skip to the last section.

Finishing Touches (Classic Dual-Boot)

We still need to reclaim the space that your new partition stole. This can be done through the Disk Management MMC snap-in, to launch the snap-in press the Windows Key + R to launch a run box, type “diskmgmt.msc” into the run box.

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Note: After completing the following any information or data that you had in Windows 8 will be lost.

When the Disk Management snap-in has loaded, we need to delete the volume on which Windows 8 resides. To do that right click on the drive in the list and click on the Delete Volume option in the context menu. You will be prompted and warned that all data will be lost, select yes to continue.

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You should now see that you have an empty partition denoted by its black header.

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Now right click on the the partition the partition with the blue header directly before it, and select Extend Volume from the context menu.

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This will open a wizard, you don’t have to change any settings so just click next, next, finish. Once you have completed that you PC will be back to how it was before. If the above method applied to you, this is where you stop, as the next section only applies to those of you who dual-booted using a VHD.

Finishing Touches (VHD Method)

The only thing that you have to do now is to delete the VHD File, from the root of your C:\ Drive.

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Download EasyBCD from Softpedia

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 10/4/11

Comments (21)

  1. Craig

    Tried this yesterday, but still have a restart bug where it tries to boot but hangs at POST every other boot. Any suggestions?

  2. HackToHell

    Phew !! That EasyBCD rocks @Craig fix Windows 7 bootloader using Windows 7 DVD

  3. Johann

    All i can say it is a suberb tool and works fast and great. Thanks for sharing it with us . 5 out of 5 from me.

  4. ilteriş mutlu

    The software is very powerful to edit boot. it supports also linux and mac os X

  5. John

    How would this all work if your native Win 7 boot drive was D: due to removing Vista C: so that no C: currently exists. I want to set a dual with Win 7 and Win 8, but have been reluctant for lack of data on my maybe unique situation. Win 7 boots fine on D:

  6. Ashok

    @john

    one can probably do the above operation in any drive in which windows is installed !

    if u install windows 8 also in the current partition that is d: , then windows 7 boot drive automatically changes from d: to c: ! , i have stuck my head with the same situation and at the last hunch i got in ! may be u should try this !

  7. Manu

    Why go through all this pain? Here’s what I did to get rid of Windows 8 installation (on a separate 50 GB partition) from my computer already running Windows 7 Ultimate.

    Boot into Windows 7 and simply delete that particular partition. Next go to Run >> msconfig.exe and click the
    entry for the WIndows 8 OS, and click Delete. To finish click OK, reboot and you are done. Now you can extend any existing partition to include the free space you got after deleting the Windows 8 installation.

  8. Niks

    Nice. Very helpful. :)

  9. Jamie

    I guess I’m the only one having trouble getting EasyBCD to run on Windows 7 Ultimate?

  10. Manu

    @Jamie try the technique I have posted above. The worst that can happen is that your system would not boot into Windows 7, which u can fix using the startup repair tool.

  11. Jamie

    Got is to start…..had to uninstall ZoneAlarm, imagine that! lol

  12. ZEIGHY

    I uninstalled mine, and didn’t need EasyBCD… just used msconfig (open in RUN), and do the same thing….

  13. zolo

    thanks man

  14. Jeremiah

    BCD made that real easy. Thank you for the steps too!

    @Jamie – Maybe. I just executed the same steps in Win7 Ent. with no issues. Don’t know what to tell ya.

  15. Ben

    Like others have said, using msconfig to delete the Developer Preview boot option is much better than installing a program to do it.

  16. dlgn

    EasyBCD is a pretty good program though, and makes it easier for non-geeks. That’s part of the reason this site exists, isn’t it? To help the poor non-geeks find their way through computers.

  17. pebear

    I just made sure I backed up my Windows 7 installation with an external USB ATA Harddrvie and I made the CD/DVD Rom rescue boot disk. Got sick of Windows 8, wich I really hated, it sucked. Just put rescue disk in and had external hardrive hooked up. Within one hour Windows 8 was a bad dream just like it never happened. I guess Win8 is cool if you have a tablet or a phone but it sucks if you want to run it on a laptop or a desktop PC.

  18. Moshe Zik

    How to remove W7 ffrom xp + w7 dualboot? (need to leave only xp)

  19. rOB

    couldhave easily done this with any text editor. nice job promoting another piece of usless software
    log in as admin and change bootloader yourself

  20. chigui

    Manu, rOB,
    yes the manual labor does work, and you are under control, but for the other 99% of folks who don’t know it, this tool works great, and its simple.
    Best of all, the site is actually even betterm, as the best way to do the dual boot (with W8 at least) would have been without creating an additional partition, which the site describes well also.

  21. MirzaAsad

    @How to Geeks

    Thanks for this tut.But I want to uninstall windows 8 from dual boot through “command line to manipulate the BCD settings”, merely educational and learning purposes.

    Any kind of help would be highly appreciated, anyone from comments section may also help.

    Thanks.

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