How to Delete the OS from a Hard Drive but Keep the Data

I'm in a strange circumstance. So I have a 1TB hard drive and a 60GB SSD. On the hard drive, I have Windows 8.1. I recently acquired the SSD and wanted to install Windows 7 on it. If I don't like 7, I can always go back to 8.1, but there's a problem. How do I remove my operating system while retaining user files and other data?

Best Answered by

Dany· Answered on Dec 20, 2022

It is possible to delete your Windows operating system from the drive and keep your data without formatting.

Firstly, the best way for you is to back up your data while deleting the Windows operating system from the HDD. This method is the safest way to protect your data from unintentional deletion.

Secondly, make use of the SSD migration. This will copy your current file configuration to the SSD providing the total size to be transferred is less than 60 GB. You simply eliminate the old Windows folders from the hard drive 1st and then run disk cleanup to remove any leftovers, including the OS.

Thirdly, you can delete the Windows boot entry to remove the OS. To remove the boot entry and the system files, you should follow the below:

  • Press the Windows + R key.
  • Now, type msconfig and press Enter.
  • Now, pick Windows 11/10/7/8 and then "Delete."
  • You should remove the entire Windows directory from your hard drive C/D/E)
  • After eliminating all of the Windows directories, the drive should have the Windows space without having to be formatted.

After completing all of the preceding stages, the boot entry process will be completed, and you will be able to format or wipe the Windows partition you want to remove from the machine. If you delete your other vital data or files, you can try EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover your data.

However, there's no need to uninstall Windows if you're installing to a new hard drive. Simply install Windows 10 on the new drive, set it as the primary, and you can even dual boot if necessary. You can also try to format USB drive without losing data.

If you failed to try the methods above, what about purchasing an external 1TB hard drive? Then, copy all the data to the desktop drive and format it. That's the easiest way for you.

Use EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard to recover deleted or lost files easily and quickly.

Tutorials on how to recover lost, deleted, or formatted data from HDD, SSD, USB, SD card, or other storage media on Windows and Mac.