How to Uninstall Linux or Windows in Dual Boot configuration

linux-windowsHere’s how to delete Windows or Linux from your system after you’ve dual-booted them. The process is actually quite simple. All you really need to do is delete the partition on which your unwanted OS is installed. That process will vary a little based on which OS you’re keeping, so here are two sets of instructions.

Note: Before you start, make sure you have an up-to-date backup of the system you want to keep. If you make one tiny mistake in the steps below, you could end up deleting the wrong partition, which would be very very bad!

Keep Windows and Remove Linux

To remove Linux and keep Windows as your main OS, you’ll have to go through a few extra steps. This assumes Windows and Linux were on the same drive, and the partitions are located next to each other. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Head to the Start menu (or Start screen) and search for “Disk Management.” Open up the Disk Management tool.
  2. Find your Linux partition. It won’t be labeled since Windows doesn’t understand the Linux file system, so you’ll need to figure out which one it is by size and where it is on your hard drive. Make sure you have the right one before continuing!18o8jdcbtkvntjpg
  3. Right-click on the partition and choose “Delete Volume.” This will delete the partition from your hard drive, leaving free space. If you get a green box of “free space,” you’ll have to right-click on it and choose “Delete Volume” a second time until you get the black “Unallocated Space.”
  4. Right-click on your Windows partition and choose “Extend Volume.” Extend it to fill the free space your Linux partition left behind.
  5. Lastly, insert your Windows recovery disc  and boot from it. Choose “Repair Your Computer,” go to “Troubleshoot,” and then enter a Command Prompt. Type the following command:
    bootrec.exe /fixmbr

    This will remove Linux’s bootloader and replace it with Windows’.

  6. Reboot your computer and you should find that it boots directly into Windows, with no Linux partition to be found.

Keep Linux and Remove Windows

If you have decided to go to Linux and remove Windows, then your job is pretty easy. Instructions may vary by distro and your specific setup, but for the traditional Ubuntu setup, it should look something like this:

  1. Insert a live CD or USB for your Linux distribution and start up its partition manager (like Gparted). Find your Windows partition in Gparted’s menu—it’ll be listed as an NTFS drive.gparted-main-window
  2. Right-click on that Windows partition and choose “Delete” from the menu. Your machine may have other Windows-related partitions as well, like “System Reserved” and recovery partitions. If you want, you can delete these as well (but make sure you have recovery discs handy if you’re going to delete a recovery partition).
  3. Right-click on your Linux partition and choose “Resize/Move.” Resize it so it takes up the rest of the now-free space on your drive.
  4. Click the “Apply All Operations” button in the toolbar to perform the selected tasks. It may give you a warning saying that your computer may not boot, but with most Linux instalations this shouldn’t be a problem. This process may take some time, so let it be!

When it finishes, you should have a hard drive with nothing but Linux on it. Your boot menu will still have some Windows entries, and it’ll work fine if you leave them there, but if you want to clean things up, just open up a Terminal in Linux and run:

sudo update-grub

to remove them.


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