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I'm very new to Linux. I installed Ubuntu on my laptop with dual boot alongside Windows 8. Now I would like to replace windows 8 fully with Ubuntu. Should I go through the installation process all over again? Will doing this erase all of the programs I have already installed? I apologize if this is a duplicate question. I would appreciate any advice. Thank you.

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No, you dont need to install ubuntu again. You can simply format the partition in which your windows reside and it will remove it. Use gparted for that. After formatting the windows partition do this to remove it from grub(os selection menu) too,

sudo update-grub
sudo grub-install /dev/sda

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