Ways to remove the second copy of Windows from the hard disk

Have you ever used another operating system together with an already installed Windows? This is a great way to try a new operating system without affecting your version of Windows. You can choose between operating system versions using the built-in boot manager. But what if you decide that you no longer want a second operating system? Is there any easy way to remove an additional OS entry from the manager to avoid confusion at startup? Let's look at four ways to remove the old boot options.

Method of removing the second Windows from a PC.

How to remove second OS from boot

Windows Boot Manager is a small piece of software that runs when the OS boots. The manager code is loaded from the beginning of the active system partition, sometimes marked “Reserved by the system”, so that you do not accidentally overwrite it using cat selfies. The manager helps start the installation of Windows. The dispatcher is general and does not know about any requirements for the OS during its launch. When only one version of Windows is present, the OS will boot into it without displaying the manager selection screen. However, after installing another OS, this process changes, allowing you to select the OS you want to use. Modern versions of Windows store configuration information (BCD) in a database similar to the registry. Previously, you controlled the boot screen settings with a tiny boot.ini file (and boot Windows NT, ntldr). However, this unprotected text file is vulnerable to attack, so it has been changed to a more secure, but universal solution. Moreover, BCD provides the BIOS and EFI based OS with the same options for editing configuration data using a boot parameter editing tool, such as BCDEdit.

How to remove the second Windows from the settings:

  1. Click Start, type MSCONFIG and press Enter (or select with the mouse).
  2. Press Tab, select the OS you want to save, and click Set Default.
  3. Select an unnecessary OS and click "Delete."
  4. Click OK.

You have just removed the second operating system from the startup manager, so now it will no longer be displayed when the computer starts. In fact, the computer no longer has 2 versions of Windows. The next steps are to simply delete the Windows.VHD file. After you delete the Windows.VHD file, all remnants of the Windows XP operating system will disappear. You will need to go to the first disk with Windows installed and manually delete all files and folders on it. Be careful not to delete anything you need for the current / original OS you want to keep.

Hide options

So, the first option does not just delete the record - you can hide alternative startup options using the Windows Advanced menu:

  1. Press the Windows key + I to open the settings panel.
  2. Go to the "Update and Security" / "Restore" section and in the "Advanced Start" section, select "Restart Now" (alternatively, press Shift when choosing "Restart" in the "Start" menu).
IMPORTANT. Please note that this will instantly reboot your system, so be sure to save all important documents before clicking a button.
  1. Select Use another OS / Change defaults. Here you can set the Windows Boot Manager timer screen, as well as select the default OS. Selecting the default OS does not remove other installations, but stops the Boot Manager that appears every time the system is started.

Use BCDEdit to remove Boot Manager settings.

BCDEdit is a built-in download manager editing tool.

IMPORTANT. Removing the wrong entry manager download leads to very unpleasant results. Double-check each edit before pressing Enter.
  1. Type cmd in the search bar of the Start menu, then right-click on the command line and select Run as administrator.
  2. When a command prompt window opens with elevated administrative permissions, enter bcdedit / export c: \ bcdbackup to back up the BCD settings.
  3. Then type bcdedit / v to get a list of bootloaders that are currently in your OS.

The Windows Startup Manager section describes its location, as well as other identifiers. The Windows section describes the Windows 10 bootloader for this OS, the unique identifier where to find the winload.exe file to continue the startup process, if recovery is enabled in the section, and the root directory. If you have more than one installation of Windows, here you can find information about the bootloader. OS type is displayed along with the description. In addition, the Legacy OS Loader will be displayed in a separate bracket.

  1. Copy the identifier (long alphanumeric string) of the bootloader that you want to delete. Now type the command bcdedit / delete {id}. Double check that the input is correct, then press Enter to delete the OS version.

Using the Visual BCD Editor

If using the command line is not for you, there is the Visual BCD Editor option. Visual BCD Editor implements a huge set of BCDEdit commands in a convenient visual graphical interface. You get the same functionality as when using BCDEdit on the command line, but you do not need to worry about entering the exact command.

  1. Deleting an old entry is a simple task. Download and install the Visual BCD Editor, then open it. The tool needs a short time to scan your OS.
  2. In the left list of parameters you will see the Bcdstore / Loaders / [parameters of your bootloader]. Select the bootloader you want to remove and click “Delete” at the bottom of the right information panel.

Deleting EFI Boot Manager Parameters Using BCDEdit

In some cases, a series of old Linux bootloader entries remain in the EFI boot manager. Again, they do not cause any problems, but over time they accumulate and become annoying. The EFI boot manager is part of the UEFI firmware management package. You might find this if you have ever booted from USB or another media source; it is usually available by pressing a function key during the boot process. To delete old EFI entries:

  1. Open an elevated command prompt, type bcdedit / enum firmware and press Enter. Unlike the command used for the Windows boot manager, the “enum firmware” command lists all the objects available in the BCD storage, including any Linux installations.
  2. This will display entries for Ubuntu and openSUSE that are no longer used. Copy the ID of the firmware entry you want to delete, and run the following bcdedit / delete {your id} command.

Your Windows boot manager is now free of any unwanted entries. In addition, you have simplified the boot process to ignore any alternative installation in your OS, leaving the ability to boot from the default OS.

How to remove the second Windows operating system completely

Here are the steps you need to take to remove the second Windows 7 from your computer:

  • Click Windows + X, and then click System.
  • Click on Advanced system settings.
  • On the Advanced tab, select Startup and Restore, and then click Settings.
  • In the “System Startup” section, you will need to click the default OS and select Windows 8.1 or 10, depending on the version of your OS.
  • On the next screen, uncheck the box "Time to display the list of operating systems."

If the section has an extra copy of Windows 10, 8.1 installed, simply follow the instructions below:

  • Press the Windows key + X, and then click "Disk Management."
  • Now expand Disk Management and after that select the Recovery partition.
  • Right-click and select Format, then you will receive a warning dialog box.
  • Now select your default file system format - NTFS.
  • After the formatting process is completed, the disk will be displayed as “Logical disk” in the “Disk Management” section.
  • Now you need to right-click on "Logical Disk" in the "Disk Management" section and select "Delete Volume"; select "Yes" when the warning dialog box appears.
  • The volume you removed will now appear as “Free Space”.
  • Right-click on the “Free Space” section and click “Delete”, then click “Yes” in the “Disk Management” warning that appears.

Now follow the instructions below:

  • The volume will now appear as Unallocated.
  • Our next step is to combine this unallocated free space with the system partition. Right-click on the “System” volume and select “Expand Volume” in the context menu, click “Yes” when the warning appears.
  • Now the wizard will start, which will guide you through the steps to combine the unallocated space with the system partition. The wizard provides a simple procedure for combining unallocated space with a system disk.
  • After you have chosen the space, click "Next", at the end of the wizard you will see the allocated amount of free space.

Speaking about the removal of unnecessary installed copies of Windows, do not forget to delete the files and folders from the Software distribution folder:

  • Go to My Computer, open the partition on which you installed Windows;
  • Go to the Windows folder, find the Softwaredistribution directory;
  • Open the Download subfolder and delete all files from it.

The Download folder contains temporary update files, and deleting them will help you free up disk space.

How to configure the boot menu

Running multiple versions of Windows on one PC gives you more options, but in the end you probably want to go back to just one. And when you do this, you'll soon get tired of the dual-boot menu that constantly appears when you start your computer. You can easily disable the Boot Menu, but deleting a previous version of Windows can be dangerous. These instructions assume that you have Windows 10 and you want to keep it. With minor changes, they will work with other versions:

  1. To close the boot menu, right-click “Start” and select “System”. In the left pane, select "Advanced system settings."
  2. In the dialog box that appears on the Advanced tab, click the Settings button in the Startup and Repair section (the third and final button on the Settings tab).
  3. This will bring up the Startup and Restore dialog box. Make sure that the default OS is Windows 10. Then uncheck the box “Time to display the list of operating systems”.

That's all! Our tips will help you not only to remove the unused OS from the Windows boot menu, but also to completely remove it from your PC. If you have already encountered a similar problem or have found another effective solution to a problem, tell our readers about it in the comments under the article.