I want to upgrade a laptop from XP to 7. My current XP does not have the required 16GB in one partition, rather than getting a new drive I was going to eliminate the D partition as it is not used. What is the best way to do that? Do I need other software to increase the C partition from the deleted D partition or will windows 7 be able to expand the C partition?
There is no direct upgrade from XP to 7. You need to do a clean install of windows 7. If you don't plan on keeping XP, you will be given the chance to create/delete partitions when installing 7. Delete all partitions and create a new one as large as you like up to the full size of the drive, then have 7 install to that new partition.
As Hawkeye22 stated, there isn’t a direct upgrade path from Windows XP to Windows 7. As usual and as other members in this thread have recommended, it is strongly recommended to backup all important data prior to upgrading any operating system. It is also strongly advised that you first run the Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor in an effort to ensure your PC is ready for Windows 7.
As far as resizing partitions is concerned, you can begin the process of doing so within Windows XP and complete the process in the installation / migration to Windows 7 direct from the Windows 7 Installation Media. You can also accomplish all steps from within the Windows 7 installation to simplify things as opposed to beginning the process within Windows XP.
1. Remove the unnecessary partition which you referred to as “D.” By performing this step, you will leave unallocated space available for you to expand the partition within the Windows 7 install process.
a. From Windows XP, you would navigate to Computer Management and right click to delete the desired partition, as is outlined here.
2. Boot from your Windows 7 Installation Media and click, “Install now.”
3. Once you follow the prompts to arrive at the step in which you are given the option of where you would like to install Windows 7, you should see your existing partition and the unallocated space available. You should also be able to select the existing partition and select the “extend” option and create one standard partition.
a. If you did not delete the partition from within Windows XP, you could do that during this step. Rather than the former drive “D” appearing as unallocated space, it would appear as a partition available for deletion. You would highlight it and select delete.
As a last step you may also want to take a look at this great resource detailing the process of installing Windows 7 on system currently running Windows XP entitled Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7.