Removing a Dual Boot in Windows

Removing a dual boot can be dangerous, and it does not guarantee that Windows will forget about the second boot sector. This is your first step in removing the boot option screen and second OS installation.

Use the following steps to remove a dual boot:
1. Right-click on My Computer, and select Properties.
2. Move to the Advanced tab.
3. Under Startup and Recovery, select Settings.

4. If you wish to leave the OS on the machine but not see the option screen, you can simply set the ‘time to display list of operating systems:’ to 0 as winXP should now be your default OS.

5. Otherwise, if the removal of the OS is your goal, then click edit.
6. First save a copy of the Notepad file which opens ‘boot.ini’ just in case you make a mistake.

You will see lines such as the following:

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn

There will also be a line for the other OS here under [operating systems] which reads similar to the following: ‘multi(1)disk(0)partition(#)…’

7. Check that your default line points to XP, as it does above. Then erase the line with the other OS, in this case DOS 7.1 (for example, ‘multi(1)’). Please note that the entire line of code to be removed may be more than one line in Notepad. Save the file.
8. Reboo.t
9. If everything looks correct, you can delete the folder associated with the OS that you wish to delete.

If any mistakes occur, load back into your existing OS, copy the old boot.ini over the modified one, and try again.

This is a follow up to the tech-recipe regarding the installation of XP on a laptop without a floppy/cd drive.

The Conversation

Follow the reactions below and share your own thoughts.

  • tak

    If you use knoppix it has a way to manage the drive partitions or edit them. If the second OS is on another partition then you can edit it or delete the partition. Then if you want to merge to another partition you would restart the computer and load knoppix to merge them.

  • Andrew

    i am using win xp and windows 7 i already deleted the windows 7 partition and i want my pc to automatically boot into xp any suggestions for what i should do with boot.ini?

    • Same problem iam facing now
      my boot.ini file looks like
      ;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems.
      ;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows Vista boot options.
      [boot loader]
      [operating systems]
      multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Professional” /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN /FASTDETECT /TUTAG=PQGJVW

      wht to do with this ??????????

      • Rob

        You need to put the partition back and reinstall windows7.
        Once it is installed you need to go into the command prompt as an administrator and use the bcdedit to delete the windows 7 description.
        There might be more than one description if you have previously installed windows 7 before.
        This is where i got my info from:


  • Anonymous

    Fine. It works

  • Aarchei

    REally Good…
    Thanks a Ton

  • Anonymous

    “-upon any mistakes load into either DOS or XP, etc which ever is easiest (or still remaining on your system)
    -copy the old boot.ini over the modified one, and try again”

    Doesn’t say WHERE these files can be found. πŸ˜‰

  • Tatta

    thanks a lot xD

  • eyestryker

    thanks dude it really works.. thank you so much

  • 2000

    worked great, I just unchecked the Display for 30 second box under XP

  • Samco121283

    I have a dual dual boot pc. Linux Mint 9 and Windows 7. i want to remove linus mintΒ  os from my pc. What do i do. pls help.

  • Ankit Agarwal

    i have a dual windows system on different drives. i want to remove win 7 which is on c:, but formating c: will erase my xp boot files stored in c:(system) drive..
    What to do?

  • ben


  • Josh B

    If you’re using Windows 7 (and Vista I believe) you can run msconfig and go to the startup tab and remove OS boot files as I’m assuming most of you have the problems I’ve had. It’s a heck of a lot easier and you can identify different OS installs easily. To get to the msconfig app either search it in the start menu search bar or RUN, CMD, then msconfig

  • arul

    sir, I have windows 7 home premium and fedora in my computer
    my friend accidentally go into my computer>disk management and right clik on the C: and provide active
    now my system is not booting at all. please some one help me

  • Nikhil

    thanx a lot. it has worked. i am afraid of that but it worked very thanks

  • Mayurmilan

    I was wanting to do this, your information helped me to remove other os startup Thanks a lot! I was scared at starting while doing this ……….when everything came to normal what I thought it to be…..& finally it worked,I am happy now :)………..Thank you very much!

  • i have the problem from last few days, that i installs the window 2006 for the first time, but it didn’t work properly, then i install another crystal 2010 window, it is also not working properly, because its is not supporting the softwares that i wants to save in my pc. when i tries to run these software on the pc they appear for a millisecond and then disappear. i cannot also delete the existing window.can someone help out very worried about it

  • sunil singh

    i have the problem,

    in my system there was windows 2008 enterprise server OS was installed in my C:/ drive,

    2 days back i installed windows XP SP3, in D;/ drive

    usually when there are 2 OS installed on system while booting, it will ask to choose one OS we want,
    but, am not even getting that booting screen, its directly loading windows XP

    please help me to get back my 2008 server login, as i cant afford to lose data

    thanks in advance

  • guille

    thankyou, since windows xp sp2 does not have this option on msconfig, it has been a real issue for me, until now, thank you again

  • Marc

    William, this helped enormously. Someone brought in a machine with 2 XP installs on it. The only hiccup i ran into was that I couldn’t save the boot.ini (protected) so I ended up saving it as boot_bak,ini, running File Assassin to delete the original and then renaming my boot_bak to boot.ini.


  • Susan Decker

    At one time I had Windows XP Home on one hdd and Windows 7 on another. I formatted the hdd with windows 7 on it but when i boot my pc, it still shows Windows 7 as the default boot and XP as an older os and i have to choose the older os to boot my pc. I have read a lot about editing the boot.ini file but when i look at mine, I don’t see a problem. Here’s what mine looks like.
    I have my XP Drive and 2 slave drives on my pc. The would be C: D: & G:

    What do i need to do to fix this problem short of having to format and reload my primary drive which I reeeally don’t want to do. Please… i’m a novice so please keep it simple for me.

    Thanks for any help

    ;Warning: Boot.ini is used on Windows XP and earlier operating systems.
    ;Warning: Use BCDEDIT.exe to modify Windows Vista boot options.
    [boot loader]
    [operating systems]
    multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS=”Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition” /NOEXECUTE=OPTIN /FASTDETECT

  • Nishar

    I m having a pc with dual os(both are Win-xp).I installed the second os in d:\ drive as os in c:\ was corrupted.Now i ve to select the select the second Win-xp os at every startup of my PC.Pls help me out how to diskable the first OS in C:\ so that my pc will startup directly from second OS without prompting.

    Thanks & Regards

  • T.T

    It worked.I greatly thank you for instructions.

  • sachin

    i have the problem,

    in my system there was windows xp sp3 OS was installed in my C:/ drive,

    2 days back i installed windows 7, in D;/ drive

    usually when there are 2 OS installed on system while booting, it will ask to choose one OS we want,
    but, am not even getting that booting screen, its directly loading windows7

    please help me to get back my windows xp sp 3 i cant afford to lose data


  • balu

    what if both are windows 7 ?

  • dharmendra

    i have 2 different hard disk. 1st is 20gb in which xp installed & 2nd is 40gb in which windows 7 installed i need to remove windows xp from the 1st HDD and leave windows 7 only in my system. So what is possible to do ? give me relevant reply soon !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Mahadev

    The above article is realy very good.. πŸ™‚ thanks for sharing your ideas

  • Blo

    Hey Will…
    When you say “copy the old boot.ini over the modified one”…
    Do you mean we should paste over the text, after opening the file for edit, or copy and paste the file itself, (without opening it for edit)?
    Many thanks for your efforts – And all the best,

  • Costello

    It works !:) Thanks man !:)

  • Tariq Khan

    Thanks brother your method of timing to 0 in system startup recovery has solve my problems.
    Thanks alot…….

  • cots

    thanks a lot for the info, very helpful

  • Manav Aggarwal

    i have window xp n windows vista i want to delete windows vista please guide me πŸ™

  • Usman Khn

    sir i have installed two os on my pc win 8 and then i installed ubuntu… now the problem is with the order of the os when i starts the system on the top ubuntu appear and i bottom win 8 now i want to change its order win 8 first and then in bottom ubuntu…. please help

  • sss

    how to decrease the hdd used space in drive c: