How To Delete a Hard Drive Partition In Windows 7

By Norm Dickinson

Delete the partition on a hard drive in Microsoft Windows 7 in order to prepare it to become a mirrored, extended or standalone volume. Deleting the partition is a fast method to erase the data on a hard drive partition in Windows 7, and it is a logical step in the Windows 7 installation process. Use the deleted partition as free space by creating one or more new partitions in the space where the old partition was, or extend an existing partition onto the space formerly used by the deleted partition.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Windows 7

Disk Management

Step 1

Back up any important files or settings prior to deleting any partitions even if the data resides on a partition that is not targeted for deletion.

Step 2

Click "Start" (Windows Orb), "Control Panel" and "System and Security."

Step 3

Click "Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions" under "Administrative Tools." Enter the administrator password if prompted.

Step 4

Right click on the partition that is to be deleted and click "Delete Volume" from the context menu.

Windows Setup Disc

Step 1

Back up any important files or settings prior to deleting any partitions even if the data resides on a partition that is not targeted for deletion.

Step 2

Insert the Windows 7 setup disc into the optical drive. Cancel the setup program when it runs as well as any other prompts that appear.

Step 3

Restart the computer by clicking "Start" (Windows Orb), pointing at the menu arrow to the right of the "Shutdown" button, and clicking "Restart."

Step 4

Press "Enter" when the system prompts to boot from the CD/DVD drive.

Step 5

Click "Next" at the language selection screen, and click "Install Now" on the next screen.

Step 6

Accept the license terms and click "Next."

Step 7

Click "Custom (advanced)."

Step 8

Click on the partition that is to be deleted to select it.

Step 9

Click "Delete" and click "OK" for the warning dialog box to delete the partition.

Tips & Warnings

  • Back up all of the files on a drive before deleting any partitions. Windows 7 will not allow the primary boot partition or any partition that contains the virtual memory swap file to be deleted from Disk Management. Boot from the Windows installation disc to delete these partitions.
  • All of the information on the hard drive will be lost as soon as the partition is deleted, but it can still be recovered with data recovery or forensic software. To permanently erase the information on a hard drive it must be overwritten with a pattern of ones and zeroes by a program specifically designed for the purpose.