Help (please!) needed with installing Windows 7 on a Dell laptop?

No expert

New Member
Hi there,

I have a Dell Inspiron 1721 which came pre-loaded with Vista Home (32bit)
The laptop has a "recovery" D: drive which I guess allowed the laptop to revert to factory (Vista) settings in case of problems.

I then upgraded to Vista Ultimate (32bit)

I have recently done a clean install to Windows 7 Home Premium (64bit).

I have a couple of questions:
(1) Do I need the existing D: "recovery" partition? I do not intend to ever go back to Vista but is it useful as a a safety net in case something happens?

Note that I have the Vista Operating System CD that came with the laptop when I bought it.

(2) I presume Windows 7 already includes a "recovery" section somewhere on the laptop. If I delete the Vista recovery partition, can I use the Windows 7 recovery in case of problems?

If so how can I do that? (e.g. press F2 or something when the laptop boots?

(3) Finally, would be advisable to re-install Windows 7 cleanly, (after having removed the Vista partition) so that Windows 7 can create its "recovery" data in its own dedicated partition?

Many, many thanks and I'd appreciate a reply!


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
I would say get rid of the Vista recovery partition. It would seem the chances of it causing problems are greater than it being useful.

Windows 7 has a small partition for several reasons, but not like the one Dell uses.

Most folks advise doing a Custom(clean) install from Vista, so it is really your decision.

No expert

New Member
Thanks Saltgrass,

there is important distinction here:

Whilst it's true that I did a "clean install" of W7, I did so using the Upgrade version of the software, i.e. it used the existing Vista OS as a basis for the "clean install".

Therefore, it's my understanding, that the Vista Recovery partition should be kept, because in case I need to do a "system recovery" then I would only ever be able to go back to a "full" version of an operating system, i.e. Vista.

(this is different to a System Restore, which can be done anyway through W7).

Have a look at what I was told here: Link Removed - Invalid URL

posts by MyronH.

Would you agree?

Many thanks


New Member
The D: recovery drive is from the factory for restoring Vista if you haven't made your own CD/DVD's of Vista that came with your computer, if you have CD/DVD's from the manufacturer or have made your own you don't need the D: recovery drive.

You will need either the D: recovery drive or the CD/DVD for Vista if you ever have a hard drive crash or other catastrophic failure.

If you have all ready backed up your files to other media then you wouldn't need the windows.old folder.

My hp has a D: recovery drive but I also had the option to create recovery DVD's which I did and I have used them to restore Vista after playing around with my laptop and messing things up on purpose.

Hope that helps but don't take my word as written in stone.
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No expert

New Member
Thanks for your reply,

the issue is really, whether I need the Vista recovery partition, given that I installed Windows 7 using the upgrade DVD (albeit using the "clean install") method).

In other words, I'm being told that I cannot do a System Recovery directly back to Windows 7, because Windows 7 is upgrade media. I can only ever do an update to the full operating system, i.e. the pre-installed Vista.

Have a look here: Link Removed - Invalid URL

Does this make sense?


New Member
I guess you'll need someone with more knowledge on it than me. I would think if you can do a clean install with the upgrade media to a virgin drive with no previous os then a previous os would not be needed. If you do need a previous os to do a clean install then you would need to be able to install Vista back on before installing the upgrade to 7.

System recovery takes your computer back to the state from the factory. If you can install the 7 upgrade to a virgin hard drive and don't care about Vista then it wouldn't be needed. If the upgrade needs a previous os then you will need to be able to install Vista first either from the recovery partition or other media.
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