Windows 7 Really Fubar Computer!


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Okay, here is the problem! Started out with Window 8 on new computer. Attempted to dual-boot Ubuntu. Went through all the steps to disable Secure Boot, etc. Somehow in all the different ideas folks have provided me, I have DELETED the MBR (i.e., there is NO NTFS partition), but only Ubuntu partition. So, how do I get back to where I can install a "legal Windows 7" disk - software has NEVER been opened. Whenever I start the computer Ubuntu loads and I can use Ubuntu, except for the fact I keep getting an error saying there is only about 120m of space left as Ubuntu files are at the end of the 750g disk! So, like I mentioned, I really did FUBAR the computer and am needing help to get an NTFS partition back so Windows can install
So you're saying you've deleted the MBR...:thumbs_up: Great going. *smirk* (It's okay, I've done it before too when I tried to Hackintosh)

Anyways, you'll want to use the Windows 7 disk to start up, and select the "Repair" option in the bottom left corner of the first window that pops up. Running the Automatic Repair or Startup Repair, or whatever it's called should clear it up.

Should the Startup or Automatic Repair option not work, use the inbuilt Command Prompt and try:

bootrec /fixboot
bootrec /fixmbr
bootrec /rebuildbcd

Hopefully, that should clear things up.
Since you removed Windows 8 you have a few options available including the use of the Wubi ubuntu installer which allows a working ubuntu install in Windows without seeing Grub replace the Windows boot information. You could always run any Linux distro on a virtual machine as well with the Oracle VirtualBox or free VM Player.

Since no Windows installation is present you will want to look at the present partitioning of the drive. The default primary for any Windows install is the first primary partition of the drive. The Win 7 installer will automatically create the mbr entries when creating a new BCD store(Boot Configuration Data store) and placing the boot files on the drive at the same time. Simply rewriting the boot information for 7 after 8 has been wouldn't alone see 7 start up anyways since you will need a fresh new primary to see a fresh clean install of Windows to go onto.

For another alternative to see a dual boot without Grub the EasyBCD program offers the NeoGrub form of Grub with the option to not see any form of Grub installed into the boot sector. To get EasyBCD you would have to sign up as a member at the Neosmart Technologies forum however. The Wubi option allows you to dedicate the entire drive to Windows 7 while ubuntu simply sits as a file on the drive.

Another option would be seeing a live ubuntu stick made with a usb flash drive you can take with you as a live data recovery stick. When custom installing any distro to a flash drive the option to boot into Windows is added into the Grub installl to the flash drive not the hard drive leaving the 7 mbr untouched. You simply have to select the flash drive as the place when prompted during the Grub install portion to which drive or device and select the flash drive to avoid seeing Grub replace the mbr entries for 7 following a complete wipe of the main drive. The Startup repair tool and manual commands to repair the boot information are only good for 7 when a 7 install is already present on the drive.
It is hard to believe a new computer came with Windows 8 with an MBR install. They normally come with a UEFI install, which Ubuntu will also do.

Could you get us a picture of the partitions on your system, using G-Parted with a camera, or a capture file with a shorter name than is normally assigned to screen shots in Ubuntu?

Sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes, just responding to the original post.
It is hard to believe a new computer came with Windows 8 with an MBR install. They normally come with a UEFI install, which Ubuntu will also do.

Could you get us a picture of the partitions on your system, using G-Parted with a camera, or a capture file with a shorter name than is normally assigned to screen shots in Ubuntu?

Sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes, just responding to the original post.

That would be the new security seen with 8 which mainly will be noticed more on OEM premade systems however over custom builds. The new security does present an obstacle for dual or multiboots even with previous versions of Windows let alone other OSs to start with. You won't want to miss one particular ZDNet article about... 2013: Installing Linux on Windows 8 PC is still a pain

The Secure Boot brings another item of concern besides hampering malwares like rootkits by labeling other OSs as invalid as that writer brings up. Originally setting a dual boot with both 7 and the two Customer and Release Preview builds saw a major problem when trying out the PC Refresh option which reinstalls 8 and saw the boot entry for 7 added in. On the CP the boot entry for 8 was added in on the 7 boot options while following the Refresh on the RP 7 was booted into from the 8 boot options screen instead.

That resulted in both versions suddenly freezing up solid when countless errors were found and repaired on both C volumes! The Disk Check tool was able to get both running again however after the two volumes were cleaned up running the tool while booted live. Funny how that went when you could boot into 8 from 7 but not vice versa without a problem due to the new Secure Boot making 8 less dual boot friendly.

As for a look at the partitions on the drive that would be the best option to see how things were laid out and how they look now. GParted includes the option to take screenshots while saving them to view later can be tricky at times unless you can get it to save on the root of usually C while in this case a location on the ubuntu root partition unless another part was set aside for storage. If this is on an OEM machince you can expect to see a hidden recovery partition either right at the front or back end of the drive. But from the description it sounds more like a custom build where 8 was the first OS installed rather then worry about voiding any warranty replacing 8 with 7.
Okay, going to restate everything REAL SLOW!

START WITH - Have bought new HP Pavilion g7z Laptop AMD Dual-Core A6-4400M 2.6GHz laptop and want to install / dual-boot Ubuntu 12.10. Have Ubuntu LiveCD, which I used on Windows 7 machine with no problems.

NEXT - So, figured out that I needed to DISABLE SecureBoot to load software. And, also needed to make sure CD/DVD boot was first rather than hard drive.

NEXT - I attempted to install on new laptop, and did a reboot when required, and appeared laptop hung. So, did a hard power off, and screen came up with choose Windows or Ubuntu, and clicked on Ubuntu and got an error of some sort. Clicked on ESCAPE key and it automatically took me to Windows.

Appears Ubuntu was loaded, as now have a "F drive", which did not have prior to attempting install. So, am confused as to where to go from here.

NEXT - Okay, finally got around to doing the Boot Repair and the report it generated is:

Bios boot on sda4/efi/ubuntu/grubx64.efifile

Also, stated the boot files of the OS now in use - Ubuntu 12.10 are far from the start of the disk. Your Bios may not detect them. You may want to retry after creating a /boot/efi partition (FAT 32, 100mb - 250mb, start of the disk boot flag). This can be performed via tools such as gPartd. Then select partition in the [separate/boot/efi partitionoption of Boot Repair]

Also, attempted to install some software and was told I had run out of space or was running out of space in /??????? WTFO, have 750gb hard drive!? So, guess something is definitely fishy in Holland!

NEXT - Okay - installed gparted and here is what I have

dev/sda1 ext4 /boot 2.7g
dev/sda2 ext 4 / 3.78g
dev/sda3 ext 4 /home 232.83g
dev/sda4 fat32 boot/efi 33.0m
dev/sda5 swap 2.79g
unallocated 354g

NEXT - Attempted to continue to hit "F11" as computer started. Briefly noted "F11" system restore in bottom left-hand corner of screen. As soon as I released "F11" key Ubuntu loaded.

So, again what I need help with is HOW DO I return the laptop to a state where I can install Windows 7 (do NOT want Windows 8) and dual-boot with Ubuntu. There has to be a way to UNDO the fubar on my part!?

Hope this long-winded retort makes sense and someone is able to help.
The Startup repair tool and manual commands to repair the boot information are only good for 7 when a 7 install is already present on the drive.

Ah. Sorry, I didn't see that he didn't have an existing Windows install.

Also, attempted to install some software and was told I had run out of space or was running out of space in /??????? WTFO, have 750gb hard drive!? So, guess something is definitely fishy in Holland!

The /??????? might just be some tiny partition that doesn't have enough space allocated (just that the HDD is 750 GB doesn't mean you have 750 GB of usable space). From the info you provide, it appears that the trouble could be occurring in "/dev/sda4 fat32 boot/efi 33.0 m".

So, again what I need help with is HOW DO I return the laptop to a state where I can install Windows 7 (do NOT want Windows 8) and dual-boot with Ubuntu. There has to be a way to UNDO the fubar on my part!?
Well, judging by the fact that you have 354 GB free, you should definitely be able to put in Windows 7. Just put in the install disk, and you will have to create a new partition out of the unallocated space. Then, just run a normal install of Windows here.

You will be prompted to reboot. Once you do so, you'll be stuck in Windows (because M$ doesn't play nice). Well, only for a short while.

You'll want to get the program "EasyBCD" which you can use to chainload grub2 and in turn Ubuntu. The details on how to do that are here: grub2 - How to install Windows 7 after Ubuntu and dual boot? - Ask Ubuntu

Attempted to continue to hit "F11" as computer started. Briefly noted "F11" system restore in bottom left-hand corner of screen. As soon as I released "F11" key Ubuntu loaded.

Don't know what's up there (not very familiar with my Linux sysinternals). Sorry. :(
It sounds like the C volume 8 was on was wiped from the drive completely and the hidden recovery partition was reformatted to ex4. You have a few too many partitions for a ubuntu install besides seeing the main root, swap, and possible separate boot partition.

If you are interested in cleaning all this up you can start by planning a fresh install of ubuntu once 7 is back on with care of course not to trash the new 7 boot information or allow the 7 installer to create a new 100mb System Reserved boot partition once the draw is made "raw". That will mean a full wipe you can perform with a GParted live cd preferred over the limited form of GParted used by the ubuntu installer to remove all and start over fresh allowing the 7 installer's drive tools to work.

Or if you are not looking to see the System Researved boot part you can still nuke the drive and create a new primary with GParted or the Disk Part tool while booting from the 7 dvd. That would be seeing the drive wiped but have to manually enter the size of the new C primary for 7 to install onto. GParted live or Partition Wizard another free open source partitioning program would be used to create the new primary via live gui method.

Once you have 7 on you can then create the new root and swap partitions for the Linux install. You may want to consider the Wubui installer for this to avoid problems with the new 7 install since that will install on 7. For a single drive system that is a popular choice by many over seeing any boot issues created by the Grub install.

One thing I should add here is how to go about booting live from any dvd or even usb flash drive in case you create a usb installation key from one for installing 7. When going to boot live you do not have to make any change in the boot order on most laptops or desktops but simply press the designated F key like F4, F8, F11(on yours used for recovery), or F12 to bring up the boot device menu. Once you select the intended drive and during the 7 install once all setup files are copied over to the drive and the initial restart is seen the laptop restarts and you are then automatically booting from the hard drive to allow the installation to continue and finish.

There's no rush to go back into the bios setup to change the boot order back to the main drive. This method is a one time boot from removable media or device where you would select the CD Rom for optical drive(cd or dvd), usb zip or usb hard drive to boot up from a flash drive. It saves time and is often used when a second OS drive is present without any boot entries added into the host drive's OS's own boot loader. Some laptops allow for a second drive or second drive with optical drive swapped out where the usb key woiuld then be used to install the OS.

For either Windows or Linux a usb install key is made up when seeing an iso diak image either made from the 7 installation dvd or downloaded Linux iso and written to a flash drive made bootable often by the program used to write the image to the drive. Some programs will also burn iso images to disk as the other option helpful for Linux distros or even seeing a live GParted stick made up.
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Thank you for the well-thought answer. Yes, Windows 8 was completely blown away when I attempted to resize partitions - not a very bright move on my part. So, when I start the computer, Ubuntu automatically comes up. I have attempted to install Windows 7, but never get the chance to do anything! Ubuntu comes up with three options: Ubuntu; Security settings or something like that; and then go to BIOS or something like that - never get to do anything else. So, definitely want / need to WIPE the hard drive completely and load Windows 7 first, and then Ubuntu. Know these play nice together as have this on my old computer which is dying, and why I bought a new laptop.

So, how do I do a COMPLETE WIPE!? Create a GPartd LiveCD and then hopefully, Ubuntu will allow me to do something???? Believe I have downloaded on my old laptop the GPartd ISO and believe I just clicked on the download ISO and Windows burner "burned the ISO" to CD. So, I should just be able to insert the CD into drive and hopefully all will be well and then remove all partitions? If that happens, then should be able to insert my Windows 7 CD and install.
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Since you are already familiar with GParted you shouldn't run into any problem simply calling up the boot device menu if you look closely at the initial post screen or refer to the user guide in order to press the correct F key. That could be the F4, F8, or F12 since F11 is taken there. Once you see the screen you use the NumPad plus and minus keys as well as the arrow keys to move around until the CD Rom or Optical item is selected and press enter to select the optical drive(only one present to find) and press enter to see the live cd booted from.

The other option when going to boot from the 7 dvd itself is to go into the repair tools link found under the Install Now button on that first screen and open the command prompt option. There you would use the manual commands with the Disk Part tool or built-in partition manager to enter the following commands.
Disk Part = opens DP tool
List Disk = lists all hard drives(excluding optical) Your single hard drive would be seen listed as "Disk 0" since you are on a laptop.
Select Disk # = command to select a specific drive which would be "select disk 0" when entered. The commands are typed in lower case at the prompt.
Clean or Clean All = On a desktop with more then one hard drive the Clean All command would be avoided to prevent a major folly! That's the ultimate wipe all drives type command when entered at the wrong time to see all drives wiped clean!

The fast and easy Clean command will remove all partitions on the selected drive only. Once that is taken care of you can then opt to reboot with the GParted Live cd or continue on with one of two choices. 1) You are now ready to allow the 7 installer to create and format the new C primary when selecting the drive and how large that will be if selecting the entire amount of available drive space. The 7 installer will also then create a small 100mb System Reserved boot partition at the front of the drive then seen as "raw" unpartitioned and unformated. The new BCD store and boot files will be placed on the 100mb not on C.

With many the 100mb is unwanted and often people ask how to see that removed and the boot information rewritten over since that contains the boot files there. For seeing just a single C primary and later opting for the Wubi installer where ubuntu is stored as a file on C you can continue on at the command prompt with the next few commands.
create partition primary = creates new primary for 7 to install on.
Format command = format fs=ntfs quick That will perform a quick format of the new C volume to NTFS.
Assign = has Windows automatically assign a drive letter and not used for this however. The 7 installer will take care of assigning C.
Active = sets the C volume as the Active boot partition when avoiding the 100mb System Reserved
Exit = exits the Disk Part tool Entering that a second time closes up the command prompt itself and sees the laptop restart.

If you are still planning to create the second root partition for ubuntu you would bypass the manual creation since it can be awkward trying ot manually calculate the right number of bytes to enter when going to create the new C primary without using up the entire drive space. Most immediately prefer the gui method for seeing the drive split up. But if you are thinking about using the Wubi installer for ubuntu which can simplify things review the information at the site there. WubiGuide

Here I've used GParted to even split up flash drives to see a small root partition follow a much larger NTFS data partition when creating a live data recovery stick with ubuntu or another distro. GParted will clean the drive off completely when booted live since no OS is loaded to prevent it.
Okay, did a clean swipe of HDD and installed Windows 7 PRO with no problem - everything working fine. Then "appear" to have installed Ubuntu 12.10 alongside Windows. When I start the computer, I have the choice of either selecting Windows or Ubuntu. When I select Windows, I have NO PROBLEMS. However, when I select Ubuntu, I get the following error message and need to know how to fix:

Windows failed to start and you must either:

1. Install Windows install disk
2. Choose your language
3. Click repair

Status: 0Xc0000098

Selected entry could not be loaded because the application is missing or corrupt

So, thoughts on how to get Ubuntu to launch when I chose? Know there is something I am missing.......I believe the loader is looking for the file \NST\AutoNeoGrub0.mbr????
The NST folder seems to be related to EasyBCD and how it sets up boots.

Could you attach a picture of your Disk Management Window using the paperclip on the advanced replies. Use the Snipping Tool to take the picture and make sure the graphical partition representation is showing.

You could also open an Administrative command prompt and type bcdedit /enum all > %userprofile%\desktop\bcd.txt then attach the .txt file along with the picture. You could .zip the text file if you want.
Okay, here is what it looks like:

Volume Layout Type File System Status Capacity Space %Free Fault Tolerance Overhead
Simple Basic Healthy (EFI System Partition) 100MB 100MB 100 NO 0%
Simple Basic Healthy (Primary Partition) 4.66GB 4.66GB 100 NO 0%
(C:) Simple Basic NTFS Healthy (Primary Partition) 232.83GB 205.68GB 88 NO 0%
(E:) Simple Basic Raw Healthy (Primary partition) 476MB 476MB 100 NO 0%
(F:) Simple Basic Raw Healthy (Primary partition) 93.13GB 93.13GB 100 NO 0%
(E:) Simple Basic Raw Healthy (Primary partition) 139.70GB 139.70GB 100 NO 0%

So, do I need to delete everything but the EFI and NTFS partition? Then put the Ubuntu disk in and try again?

Please give me step-by-step as still learning here! Would like to get this right and not mess up again!
I really need to see the picture and the BCD setup. The boot system is probably pointing the Ubuntu boot to the wrong place.

Are you booting the Ubuntu install as UEFI?

Did you use EasyBCD and did you use the latest version, since only the latest ones are UEFI capable?

This is an attachment of a Windows 8 and Ubuntu Dual boot. Disregard the Recovery partition, it will not be on a Windows 7 install.


  • Ubuntu Test3.JPG
    Ubuntu Test3.JPG
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Glad to hear the wipe and clean install worked out well for you! But I think replying back with a good look at the DM as advised would be the best move now to see just how you have the drive laid out. It looks like the second E should be G there. And that shows no ext 2, 3, or 4 File Journaling System Root partition in that mix.

The C is large enough for Windows. The root and swap partitions wouldn't have to be that large to begin with maybe seeing a 20-30gb root and a small 4gb swap on an extended nor primary type partitions. And the remaining drive space could then be used for storage and backup purposes. The 476mb partition is too small even for a factory recovery partition there. Those are anywhere from 4gb upto 16gb on newer machines and for 7 or 8 may include the boot files and BCD store when found at the very front of the drive however. Depending on the drive's actuall size and how much you want to see for 7 you have space there to grow the 7 primary to 500gb or leave it at the 232gb.

I trust you didn't try the Wubi optiom available. Once you have the drive laid out for the size you want C to be the 476mb would go as well as the other two to allow the new root and even a smaller swap partition(extended not primary) to be seen immediately following C or wait until a large single storage/backup partition in created to follow C rather then several small parts where you can then place ubuntu at the back end of the drive for the dual boot.

The Wubi installer however will simplify getting both OSs running on the single drive setup however over having a mish mash and one not working as you are running into. That will leave the Windows mbr and boot loader untouched while allowing you to have a working dual boot with ubuntu without a large fuss over how to get both configured to play well with each other. It's a popular option many favor.
What I did was put Ubuntu CD in drive and when it got to the position to INSTALL, I chose "other or something like that" and from that point I set the partitions myself by clicking on NEW PARTITION and setting the size as I indicated. So, sounds like I hosed this up! So, how do I recover from this so I can dual-boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu!? Sure do NOT remember having these kind of problems when I attempted this a number of years ago! Maybe did WUBI install then, but don't remember how to do that either!
The first thing besides cleaning up the partitioning scheme you have there with the odd ball 476mb if that is the case being too small in size to even be useful for anything would be deciding just how much drive space you want to have available for Windows which will automatically use more. If you want a second partition to store files to back things up there and even consider storing a system image taken of the C primary ahead of time to preserve the 7 install once all programs as well as drivers and files are back on these are the first things to be looking at with 7 being the primary OS.

For adding ubuntu on for the second OS you then look at what options are there as well as which one is going to work out the best for you. Without being a Linux geek here either I would be looking at either a VM install, a seond OS drive I use for testing OSs anyways, or since most distros are small enough for the ubuntu and Debian based desktop flavors to fit on a usb flash drive custom install or write the iso image for live and boot from the flash drive to look over each release without even interfering with the host OS. The advantage of the Wubi installer as well as custom installs of distros to a separate drive is still seeing the 7 host here left intact while being able to run any other OS.

Besides the Wubi wiki on their main site you may want to look over a guide for setting up the ubuntu 12.04 release using the Wubi installer seen at Dual-Boot Windows 7 and Ubuntu 12.04 Using the Wubi Installer … Only this install will be by way of the ubuntu iso file you downloaded rather then by booting live from the cd or dvd to select te installation option while booted live.

I did NOT use EasyBCD to partition - should I have? I partitioned within Ubuntu. How would I know if I was within UEFI?

Again, had clean HDD, as I did NOT like Windows 8 on my HP g7 dual-core AMD. I put Windows 7 PRO 64-bit DVD in CD/DVD drive and followed directions to install. After install was complete, configured some of the things like wireless so I could access the Internet.

Then I put the Ubuntu 12.10 64-bit DVD in CD/DVD drive and followed directions to install. I chose the option of something like "Other" rather than replacing Windows. Don't remember exact words. But, this allowed me to "repartition" the unallocated space. What I posted was how the partitions are currently set. Obviously, did something wrong or Ubuntu is pointing someplace wrong, etc. I am trying to learn and recover.

So, should I be using EasyBCD and going in and deleting all the partitions except for the NTFS partition, which I assume is the Windows partition? Should I then allocate a partition for "/" which is where Ubuntu should be installed? How do I ensure this happens? Believe that may be the problem? Again, looking for step-by-step help as guess I am not getting the picture of how all this is to work.

Or, should I just do the Wubi install? And, if so, do I still need to go in and clean up all the partitions first, etc.?