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How to delete Windows system from computer

In several previous articles, we discussed how to install Windows on a computer with its various versions, even installing Windows 11 on unsupported devices, and even explained how to install the most famous operating system in the world on a USB flash drive or through a memory card (SD card) or an external hard drive. But what about removing the Windows system from the computer?

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How to delete Windows system from computer

You might consider this if you intend to sell the laptop or give it away as you want to empty the storage and make sure it is ready to install another operating system by the new user. Or maybe you are using Windows alongside Linux and want to rely on Linux as the main system, or let's assume a scenario that you are using two different versions of Windows and you want to keep only one version. Regardless of the reason, you can perform this task very easily as we will explain in the following lines.

As is clear from the introduction, there is more than one scenario in which you may need to get rid of Windows somehow, and each scenario has different steps. So we will try to cover in this article the most common scenarios such as deleting the Windows system permanently and leaving the device without an operating system, deleting the copy of Windows if there is a second copy installed, or deleting the copy of Windows if it is installed alongside a Linux distribution. But before you proceed with any step, make sure to backup your data on the hard drive in case any error occurs so as not to risk losing your important files.

Permanently delete Windows from the computer

This is a common scenario if you want to get rid of the computer or give it to someone else. If Windows is the only operating system installed on the device, you can remove it so that the new user has a chance to install the version of Windows they want or even install another operating system. To do this, you will need a USB flash drive that has any version of Windows burned on it. In case you do not have a flash drive ready, review our previous topic about burning a copy of Windows to a flash drive using Rufus.

After burning Windows on a flash drive and connecting it to the computer, you need to boot to the BIOS screen to change the booting settings so that we make the computer start booting from the flash instead of the hard and let's agree that this process differs somewhat from one device to another due to the diversity of graphical interfaces for the BIOS screens. For example, on our ASUS laptop, we needed to press and hold the F2 button and turn on the device while continuing to press F2 until the BIOS screen appeared, after that, we click on the Boot Menu option and then select the USB flash that contains the copy of Windows and press Enter to start booting to the flash drive.

Once you boot into the flash memory, the usual Windows installation window will appear, click on the Install Now button and follow the instructions that appear until you reach the stage where you are asked to select the partition you want to install Windows on, a window exactly like what appears in the attached image above. Here, all you need is to select the partition on which the Windows system is installed (be careful not to select any other partition that contains important files) and then press Delete and OK in the confirmation window to delete the entire partition or Format to delete Windows files from the partition.

Once done, close the Windows Setup window to exit the Windows installation process and the device will automatically shut down. Now if you try to turn on the computer again, the message "An operating system wasn't found" will appear on the screen, or it may boot to the BIOS screen. In all cases, Windows will not affect the computer and there is no other operating system to boot to.

Delete Windows if the device is running more than one version

If you are using Dual-Boot technology so that you are using two different versions of Windows, Windows 10 and Windows 11 on the same computer, and you want to delete one of them, whether to save storage capacity or for any reason, this can be done in simple steps. As an example, we explain below how to delete Windows 10 from the dual boot so that Windows 11 is the only system installed on the computer.

At first, we need to remove the option to switch between operating systems (Windows 10 and Windows 11) that appear every time we turn on the computer. To do this, we will use the System Configuration tool, and it can be launched by clicking the Win + R keys together and typing the "Msconfig" command in the Run window that appears, and then pressing OK to make the tool appear on the screen. Go to the "Boot" tab and select from the rundown the adaptation of Windows you need to keep, for our situation it is Windows 11, then, at that point, click on "Set as default" to ensure that it is set as the essential working framework for the PC.

Next, select the version of Windows to delete, so we will choose Windows 10, then press "Delete" to remove it from the list. To save the changes, press OK, and then agree to restart the computer by pressing Restart. This time, when the computer restarts it will boot into Windows 11 and ignore Windows 10.

This does not mean that Windows 10 has been completely deleted from the device, the copy files are still present on the hard drive, and therefore if you want to get rid of the copy completely and keep only Windows 11 on the computer, you must format the partition for Windows 10. This can be done easily with the help of the volume management tool "Disk Management", just press the Win + R keys together on the keyboard and type the "diskmgmt. MSC" command in the Run window, and press OK.

When the Disk Management window opens, right-click on the partition that contains the files of the copy of Windows to be deleted, and from the drop-down menu select "Format". A warning will appear that you are about to erase all the data stored on this partition. To continue the formatting process, press Yes and wait until you get a message confirming the success of the process. As such, your device is now running only one copy of Windows.

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Delete Windows if it is installed alongside Linux

You may have recently decided to move away from Microsoft's desktop environment and experiment with a broader environment related to a Linux distribution, such as Ubuntu or Linux Mint. Indeed, you installed the distribution side by side with the Windows system, using the dual-boot technology, then over time, the Linux system became your favorite and you want to get rid of the installed copy of Windows.

Regardless of the reasons in general, the steps involved in this scenario are very similar to the steps in the previous scenario, but this time we will delete the copy of Windows through the volume management tool within the Linux distribution used, whose name varies from one distribution to another.

For this explanation, a copy of Windows 11 was installed alongside Linux Mint on the same computer, and to delete Windows 11 and rely on Linux Mint as the only operating system for the computer, we will need to run the Disks tool. You can search for it in the "Applications" list and run it from there.

After running the Disks tool, select the partition that contains the Windows copy files to be deleted, and it will be easy to identify this partition because it will often be the only partition that uses the NTFS file system of the Windows operating system. After selecting it, press the – (minus sign) button under the Volumes menu.

Now you will be asked if you are sure you want to delete the partition, press Delete and confirm the action by entering the password for the Admin Account, then type it and press Authenticate to delete the Windows computer system and keep Linux as the primary operating system that is unique to the device.

But even after deleting a Windows system, the GRUB loader screen may still appear when you turn on the computer to tell you between booting to Windows or a Linux distribution, but this problem can be easily resolved by updating the GRUB list to confirm that the device no longer contains files related to an operating system Windows.

All you have to do is open the command prompt or the terminal in the Linux distribution used, often the shortcut to run it quickly is Ctrl + Alt + T, and in the window that appears, type “sudo update-grub” and press Enter, and then you need to type the word Administrator account password, type it again and press Enter. Now you can restart your computer again and the GRUB loader screen will not appear but will boot into your Linux distribution directly.

احمد ابو المجد
احمد ابو المجد
Ahmed Abu Al-Majd - Egyptian Arab blogger and YouTuber - supervisor and owner of the Abu Al-Majd YouTube channel - I share my experience in the technical field in a simple way that suits everyone. facebook ــــ twitter ــــ instagram ــــ pinterest ــــ youtube ــــ linkedin ــــ abouelmagd احمد ابو المجد 2