How can I restore Windows boot?

Discussion in 'Windows 8 Help and Support' started by John Beere, Dec 7, 2015.

  1. John Beere

    John Beere Member

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    Hi guys,

    I have a laptop given by my employer. It has WIndows 8.1 and UEFI.
    I disabled UEFI and I installed Linux.
    With UEFI disabled I can boot Linux but I don't have an entry in the boot menu for Windows.
    If I try to enable UEFI then the message from BIOS is that there is no operating system on the computer.
    So now, UEFI or not, I can't boot in Windows and I absolutely need it for work.
    I had fast boot enabled in Windows, but now I can't disable it because I can't boot in Windows.
    I don't have another Windows computer around so I can only use Linux.
    What can I do to restore Windows (even if that means removing Linux)?

    Thank you in advance

    Edit: I can mount the Windows partitions in Linux, so they they seem not damaged and in good condition
    Also, this computer does not have a CD unit, so I can only use a USB stick for recovery
     
    #1 John Beere, Dec 7, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  2. ussnorway

    ussnorway Windows Forum Team
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    You lost me at disabled UEFI but you say the Bios still works so enable UEFI and point the boot at windows from the bios screen... has the Windows boot manager been formatted by mistake?

    What system are we talking about here i.e an Asus c500 laptop or something from Dell?

    p.s. fast boot = ignore the grup/ windows manager and boot back into whatever was running at shutdown... you can override it by making a shortcut target;
    C:\windows\system32\shutdown.exe /s /t 00
    i.e. shutdown now but still load the grup/ windows Boot manager at next system start
     
  3. John Beere

    John Beere Member

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    @ussnorway
    Thank you for helping.
    If I enable UEFI in BIOS then the message from BIOS is that there is no operating system on this computer.
    This is an Acer Aspire V 15 Nitro Black Edition.
    I am not sure what grup is but I can't boot Windows so how do I make that shortcut?
     
  4. ussnorway

    ussnorway Windows Forum Team
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    There are 4 of them but have you wiped the recovery drive?
    • boot up with [Alt] + [F10] to enter recovery mode
    • click 'Troubleshoot' and then 'Reset PC'
    Otherwise you can contact Acer, tell them what model you have and ask for a recovery disc.

    Sorry my dyslexia kicked in... a GruB is the linux version of WBM... it picks what system to boot too.
     
  5. John Beere

    John Beere Member

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    Wouldn't that "Reset PC" wipe off all of my data? I would like to keep it if possible.
     
  6. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    When you got your system, it was probably set up for Secure Boot which requires the UEFI configuration. You do not have to turn off UEFI in able to disable Secure Boot. You can disable Secure Boot and leave the system where it will see both UEFI and Legacy boots, depending on your Bios?

    If you install Linux using the Legacy configuration, what exactly do you see when you boot your system? Is it a boot menu of some type or is it just the Linux install? If it is a boot menu and Widows shows as an option, what happens if you choose it?

    As ussnorway mentions, GRUB will or can take total control of your boot scenario. Depending on where you let it install you may or may not have certain options.

    Cameras work well for screens you can capture. Linux has screen shot capabilities where you can post a copy of your Hard Drive configuration. Make sure and use simple names for the files the long one Linux might use don't work well in Windows.

    Exact descriptions of what happens or messages received can be very important.
     
  7. John Beere

    John Beere Member

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    OK, now I can finally boot Windows.
    After trying lots of tutorials (on the Linux side and the Windows side), after trying Microsoft's own recovery tools, my employer bought a tool for some $40 and it managed to make Windows to boot from MBR.
    When I tried Microsoft's own recovery tools (both for UEFI and MBR) they reported that they found a Windows installation and it is in good condition and they reported that they successfully repaired it. However, when I tried to boot the message was: "Missing operating system", so I was still stuck.
    Then I used the tool bought by my employer. I don't know the name and if I posted the name it would probably be considered spam advertising. If you want to know the name, PM me and I will go ask the admin. The funny thing is that this tool was a live FreeBSD image with LXDE and it succeeded where Microsoft had failed.
    So now Windows is able to boot from MBR with UEFI disabled.
     
  8. John Beere

    John Beere Member

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    Thank you saltgrass for helping.
    I didn't see your message until after I posted my previous message.
    The BIOS has two options: either UEFI or Legacy (MBR). If UEFI is enabled, then I can't boot Linux from usb in live mode, so I can't install Linux. That's why I switched from UEFI to Legacy. But with UEFI disabled, GRUB can't find Windows because it was not in MBR. If I enabled UEFI then Windows couldn't boot, probably because Linux edited the EFI partition.
     
  9. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    Normally when you install as you did, Linux will make it own MBR partition which may be perhaps 1MB in size. If you check your drive configuration, you might notice it.

    I don't have your system, so I can't comment on how it is set up, but usually you can disable Secure Boot and allow the boot to show either UEFI or MBR. It may not of helped even if you had done that, but it sounds like your situation is straightened out.

    Funny, but for Windows to boot in MBR mode, it has to be on a drive configured as MBR. Linux doesn't care whether it is GPT or MBR. Maybe the software you used set up GRUB to boot either version.

    If you ever decide to try Linux again, there are some versions which work fine with the Windows 8/10 Secure Boot and install as UEFI.
     
  10. John Beere

    John Beere Member

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    For the past 10 years I have used Linux every day, all day (both at work and at home). The last Windows that I used was Windows XP back in 2005. So I know a thing or two about Linux. But UEFI is totally new to me and it seems to me that Microsoft not only did not make any effort to make this UEFI crap nice to other operating systems but I feel like Microsoft did everything they could to prevent users from installing other operating systems.
    The Linux that I had installed was Fedora. I tried all Ubuntu variants and Ubuntu itself and they all failed to install due to the nVidia issues cause by the Optimus Technology because nVidia did not care to make a proper driver for Linux. This Optimus technology is exactly why Linus showed them the finger (you can skip to time position 1:30)
    So Fedora was the only one that managed to work with nVidia.
    I am thinking about installing Fedora again, since now, I think and I hope GRUB will find Windows since the UEFI is disabled and Windows boots from MBR. I am not sure I have the courage to go through all this again. I am still debating that. But I find your attitude very interesting. You are encouraging me to try Linux again even if you seem to be a Windows guy (based on your profile). The opposite is not very common on Linux forums where the Linux guys encourage you to leave Windows and use Linux.
     
  11. Mike

    Mike Windows Forum Admin
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    I am assuming you changed from GPT partition to MBR? But the thing is if you install Windows in UEFI mode (or if it was preinstalled that way - very likely), you will end up having problems with dual boot. As far as I know, you need to have them both installed in "Legacy Mode" for dual boot. You can use something like grub loader to determine which OS will boot on startup, or alternatively, change the boot order in the non-UEFI BIOS for multiple drives. The thing is Windows has been optimized with "Secure Boot" and all of that in UEFI so that it boots faster than in non-UEFI mode. I can't say you'd notice a terrible difference since you got it working.
     
    #11 Mike, Dec 7, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  12. Saltgrass

    Saltgrass Excellent Member
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    Ubuntu installs fine in conjunction with the Windows 8 Secure Boot. I have not tried running it on a laptop, but I have an All-in-One which uses the Nvidia mobile driver and will swap GPU depending on the situation and I notice there is a version of that driver for Linux x64. Maybe Optimus does more and I am just not aware.

    Fedora 23 mentions it uses GRUB for the UEFI boot, but it does not mention the Secure Boot ability. I run my Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 systems as UEFI, but Secure Boot has to be disabled...


    I am not encouraging you to use Linux, just anticipating you probably will. ;) When I had Ubuntu running, it was set up with Windows and Linux having separate Boot managers and I could boot to either one. This method does not show a Boot Menu screen and it may introduce other problems with the Windows install.
     
  13. Neemobeer

    Neemobeer Windows Forum Team
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    I think a lot of folks are confused by UEFI, it is a complete replacement of BIOS and you don't really switch it off, you can however enable legacy boot versus EFI boot. Legacy supports MBR boot style which is sector 0 (512 Bytes) of whichever disk is your boot device. EFI boot only supports GPT partitions. If you enabled Legacy only boot, your system will try and read the MBR. The MBR does exist on a GPT disk, but it's a special protective MBR with one entry that spans the limitation of MBR (2TB). Linux and the Linux bootloader GRUB does support EFI booting and secure boot, in the pass Linux has not worked well with Intel's fast boot but this may have changed. GRUB should work on a GPT disk just fine, however if you have your boot mode as Legacy/EFI then GRUB requires a small "BIOS" partition of about 1MB in size to load properly.
     
  14. ussnorway

    ussnorway Windows Forum Team
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    If the idea scares you it's probably because you skipped the most important step:
    Backups... Image programs like acronis will make an exact copy of your hdd complete with any keys and is the best option with laptops.

    I'd suggest you grab a new laptop hdd and replace the current one with this before going any deeper into your Linux / windows testing... Having the opportunity to just put the old hdd back is a Huge stress release
     
  15. John Beere

    John Beere Member

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    Thank you all for your help. I certainly know more now about UEFI and secure boot than before. I'll probably leave this laptop as it currently is. The thing is I don't own the laptop, and I need it for work. If this was my personal laptop, I would do even more crazy experiments on it.
    Anyway, this laptop reminds me why I have never owned a laptop. They are just too cute for my taste. I have always built my own desktop where I can choose which components to buy, like a non-UEFI motherboard or a Linux friendly graphics card, etc.
     
  16. ussnorway

    ussnorway Windows Forum Team
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    I do recommend you turn secure boot back on mate... assumes the Linux is ok with it (which it should be)… It's your system so more power to you.
     

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