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Windows 7: remove it yourself


Imagine a computer without an operating system. Agree, working on such a computer is not only inconvenient, but simply unrealistic. This is due to the fact that the operating system is the very tool through which a person communicates with a computer. Without it, the process of working with a PC is impossible. However, the number of these operating systems today is quite large, and each person has a choice depending on his tasks and goals. So it is not surprising that sometimes users change their operating systems, installing new versions or even options from other companies. This is where the question of removing the previous version of the operating system arises. One of the most popular operating systems today is Windows 7. That is why Windows 7 OS, both uninstalling and installing, should be learned by everyone who is somehow connected with PC maintenance.

What is OS?

In general, the operating system is a whole complex of programs whose main purpose is to manage and process incoming data. It is responsible for processing incoming data and displaying the results on the screen. So in general, the operating system is the interface between the user and the computer. After all, it is she who ensures the interaction of all components of the computer and programs with the user. Therefore, it is so important to know what it is, which version you need and how to install it yourself. 

In principle, modern assemblies of operating systems do not require any special skills from the user, and the installation process itself, with a certain amount of knowledge, is as easy as if you were installing a regular program.

Another thing is the removal of operating systems. There are several nuances with which we will try to figure it out together. There are several options for removing the operating system, and we will try to describe the most important of them in order to make it much easier for you to switch from one OS to another. In general, it cannot be said that you can uninstall Windows 7, how to uninstall an application – after all, the operating system is not just a program. So let’s get started.

Complete removal of Windows 7 by formatting

Sometimes a situation arises when it is necessary not only to remove the operating system, but also to “clean up" the hard drive on which it was installed. This option involves formatting the partition on which the operating system was installed. As a rule, this option is the best in terms of preparing the PC for a clean installation. 

A clean installation means installing the OS on a computer in the form in which it leaves the assembly line. In other words, you will install the operating system as if it did not exist on the PC before. But there is one important point here – do not forget that the hard disk partition will be completely cleared. You will delete not only the operating system, but in general all the data stored on the disk. If you have a hard drive on your computer pre-divided into several sections, this option is for you. If you have one partition, use this method only when you do not need to save important data. In extreme cases, you can throw everything important on an external hard drive and safely format your drive. In this case, it is better to “break” it into several sections – separately for the OS and programs and separately for files.

This is easy to do – even when installing the operating system, you will be prompted to format or delete the partition. Those who want to allocate disk space according to their requirements – different file systems, preparation for installing multiple operating systems – should use third-party applications that can work from a boot disk. Such applications will greatly facilitate the formatting process and provide you with a huge set of tools for working with disk partitions.

Installing another OS on top of Windows 7

This method of uninstalling Windows 7 is perhaps one of the most popular. Yes, that’s right – the installation automatically "deletes" the operating system. This happens when you install the operating system on the same partition where the old OS is located. In this case, all folders related to the old operating system will be transferred to the Windows.Old folder. It is worth noting that only operating systems from Windows older than Windows XP work in this way. If you install other operating systems, you will have to put them together with Windows 7 on another partition and remove them using other methods (more on that later). Well, or you can use formatting.

So, the installation is completed, you installed the OS over the old one, but you still have files from the old operating system. You need to get rid of them. After all, they take up a decent amount of space on your hard drive. And given the development of the Internet and the huge amount of downloadable content, hard drive space plays a very important role. The only point – you should pay attention that the files from the Documents, Music, Images, and so on folders were also transferred to the Windows.Old folder. Therefore, before deleting a folder, check if there are important files there and move them to another one. And don’t forget to check your downloads folder – quite often there are important downloaded files and programs there.

Well, that’s it, the files have been transferred and you are ready to delete the folder. But then suddenly a message appears stating that the file is occupied by the program or you do not have permission to delete. Don’t worry, you can get rid of them, but first delete all the files that you are "allowed" to delete, this way there will be less confusion. Now we go to the Internet and download a wonderful utility called Unlocker. It allows you to work with protected files, regardless of prohibitions and restrictions. We install the program, and now we have an item for working with Unlocker in the context menu of files and folders. We use the application to get rid of the remaining files – and you’re done, the old operating system is no more. As you can see, this method requires some effort, but all your data remains safe.

Installing another OS in parallel with Windows 7

Let’s now consider the situation where you put the operating system on another hard disk partition. This situation usually occurs if you install Linux or simply decide to create a special partition for the operating system. Of course, you can format your hard drive, partition it, and start from scratch. But this option is not always acceptable, as you have noticed above. What to do in this case? The whole process of removing Windows 7 in this case resembles the previous version, only a couple of nuances are added. To begin with, please note that in this case, all the files of the old operating system are not in the Windows.Old folder, but as they were when using the old OS – the Users, Windows and Program Files folders are in root partition of the disk, and you will have to delete them from there.

Go to the control panel and open "Folder Options" there. Next, in the "View" tab, we need to check the box "Show hidden files". Uncheck "Hide protected system files". Accept the changes and close the window. Now you need to delete the files related to the old operating system from the partition on which the old OS was installed. They will look "pale" compared to the rest, so you can’t go wrong. The main thing is to delete two files – hiberfil.sys and pagefile.sys. Thanks to this, you can free up 3-4 gigabytes of hard drive space. Ready? Okay, let’s move on.

During boot, you probably noticed that the operating system selection menu appeared. Let’s now get rid of the line related to the old OS. This will save us from the need to constantly select the desired OS at boot, because we have one, although the system thinks that there are two. Now, depending on which OS you have installed, we will slightly edit this menu, leaving only one option.

Windows XP

In this case, the process is quite simple – just open hidden and system files (although you should already have them open if you did everything according to our advice – see above for more details). We need the boot.ini file, which is located at the root of the partition on which XP is installed. We delete everything related to Windows 7 there, we prescribe Windows XP by default and now everything works as it should. The file structure is quite simple, so it is almost impossible to make a mistake.

Windows Vista78

In this case, it will no longer be possible to act as in the case of XP. This file simply does not exist, so there is nothing to edit. It doesn’t matter – press Win + R, write "msconfig" and run. We need the "Download" tab. Doesn’t it remind you of anything? Yes, this is very similar to the boot.ini text file in Windows XP. The only difference is that now it is much easier to edit it, and the chance of an error is now an order of magnitude lower. In addition, there is a similar menu in the properties of the computer – advanced system settings – Boot and recovery. Uncheck the box "Display a list of operating systems". Everything, now there is no trace left of the old OS.


As for the Linux OS that uses the GRUB bootloader, there are some difficulties with editing it. A full description of this process will require a separate article, so the only thing I can advise you to simplify the process is the Grub Customizer application, designed to edit the bootloader. Otherwise, the process of deleting Windows 7 using Linux is almost the same, with the only difference being that deleting files is much easier.

Do I need to uninstall Windows 7

Now we know how to install Windows 7, how to remove it, and in general what options are there for this. It remains only to clarify one point – do not rush to remove the OS. There are many options for restoring the operating system and a bunch of preventive methods. Here are some tips for OS prevention that can significantly extend its life:

  • Immediately after the installation is complete, install an antivirus and regularly update its databases.
  • Check the registry regularly for errors. There are many utilities on the web for this.
  • Defragment your hard drive periodically.
  • Do not load the OS with a bunch of unnecessary programs and utilities.
  • Watch out for autoload.

By following these tips, you can greatly facilitate your work with your PC and increase the life of the OS.