QUESTION I upgraded to Windows 7 on a new hard drive with three partitions. It unexpectedly installed itself on a reserved portion, but worked perfectly.

However, on startup I am now offered a choice of loading Linux or Windows. How do I set up the PC so that I don’t have to go through this extra step every time? Neil Pamplin

HELPROOM ANSWER I suspect that the drive once booted into Linux - you didn’t say whether the hard drive was brand-new or taken from a different PC. When this hard drive was partitioned, the boot partition remained and a Linux boot-loader is still present there.

(If, however, you used Paragon Partition Manager to set up the drive partitions, you can skip the following three paragraphs.)

The easiest solution is to boot from the Windows 7 installation disc. Once you get to the ‘Where do you want to install Windows’ screen, click the ‘Advanced’ option, highlight each partition in turn and click ‘Delete’. Ensure you’ve backed up any important files and folders first as this will wipe your drive.

The dialog box will now show a single hard drive, referred to as ‘Disk 0 Unallocated Space’. Click ‘New’. You can create your initial drive by allocating the space specified in the size box. Note that Windows 7 requires 10.5GB for installation, but we recommend using 40GB as a minimum.

Windows will create the ‘reserved drive’ automatically, which is used to store recovery tools and important files that you’ll need in the event of an emergency. Recreate your drives as required. Highlight the first partition you created, click Next and Windows will install to the first partition.

You can format the other partitions once Windows has installed using the Disk Management applet.

You didn’t say so, but there’s a chance that this problem was caused by Paragon Partition Manager. The fix listed above will work, but you’ll find in-depth discussion about the cause and suggested fixes here.

If you don’t want to mess around with deleting partitions and you consider yourself technically minded, you can simply delete the old Linux boot-loader and have Windows boot correctly by following the instructions given here.