TechSpot

Need to Replace Ubuntu with Windows

By SgtBlades
Apr 9, 2009
Topic Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. I had Windows on this comp a while back. But I got it rid of it for some stupid reason. Now I have Ubuntu and just want to scrap it. Here's the deal, both of my drives still think there's a windows partition when there's not. I can't boot from cd or usb or floppy. can only boot to currently installed OSs. I've tried replacing GRUB with MSDOS but it hasn't been working. I've done the dd command where it erases all data including partitions on the drive. All this and still can't get to booting another OS. Even one that erases everything on the drives like DBAN.
    Any help will be very much appreciated.

    (I'm trying to replace Ubuntu with WIndows XP Pro)

    edit:
    I've gone into the dang bios and done all I can with the boot order, hard drive activity, memory checks, etc... So stop saying go to bios!
    More clearly stated: after changing the boot order to have CD-ROM device boot first, and after inserting the Ubuntu 8.10 LIVE CD, and after saving changes and whatnot, it reboots and shows the loading screen where it's turning on the computer itself, not the OS, you know the screen where it shows Press this key for setup and that key for options, at that screen, after having done previously stated stuff, I hit F12 (the options key) and it goes to this menu with 12 or so options, the 6th being the one stating "6. IDE CD-ROM DEVICE", I select that as being the one to boot from. Right once I click that, it gives this error message saying that I CANNOT boot from that device as it is not a bootable devicer and says for me to insert a floppy disk to continue or press any other key to go to continue. (I currently possess no floppy disks so I just hit a key) when I hit a key it says "Loading GRUB Stage 1.5... GRUB Loading please wait..." and it does that in a couple seconds.

    Also, I DO NOT HAVE WINDOWS ON THIS COMP! The drive just picks up a Windows Partion and at the bottom says: "Other Operating Systems: Windows XP Professional" to boot from. When I click it, it says "Loading GRUB 2.0... Loading please wait" and all it does is flash that message for like 2seconds and then takes me back to the OS selection screen.
  2. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 8,421   +217

    When trying to boot from the Windows CD, did you set the CD/DVD drive as the first boot device?
  3. Matthew

    Matthew TechSpot Staff Posts: 6,052   +84 Staff Member

    You're sure that you aren't overlooking something basic, like, your SATA drivers for the XP installation or your drives' boot sequence positioning.

    With absolutely NO data on the drive (like after a sweep with Darik's Boot and Nuke), there shouldn't be an issue.
  4. SgtBlades

    SgtBlades Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 42

    I cannot boot anything. Only what is already installed. Even if I have one drive powered on and connected, I still can't boot from cd/usb/floppy device. I have changed the boot order and turned them on and off y'all, a lot. DBN acts like an OS, and I can't install it. For the dd command, I did the 446 first and tried working with just that one drive, didn't work. Then I did the full 512 last few bytes and got rid of everything, tried to use it, still didn't work. My last guess is that it lies in the system bios. What I think I should do is flash it with an older one then flash it with the newest one to fix the problem, but, since it's a windows installer, WINE has problems working it. I can get it to start and it'll be about halfway done and then it'll just close down about halfway through. With no error or warning message it just closes.

    had Windows on this comp a while back. But I got it rid of it for some stupid reason. Now I have Ubuntu and just want to scrap it. Here's the deal, both of my drives still think there's a windows partition when there's not. I can't boot from cd or usb or floppy. can only boot to currently installed OSs. I've tried replacing GRUB with MSDOS but it hasn't been working. I've done the dd command where it erases all data including partitions on the drive. All this and still can't get to booting another OS. Even one that erases everything on the drives like DBN.
    Any help will be very much appreciated.

    (I'm trying to replace Ubuntu with Windows XP Pro)
    Final guess is I need to flash the bios with an old one then the newest one. But, WINE has problems doing this because the bios is a windows installer.
  5. BorisandBailey

    BorisandBailey TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 206

    Have you tried completely erasing your disks? I mean to say bringing them all back to ones and zeros. Kill Disk offers a freeware that easily does one pass of erasure. That should rid the disk of any remnants of partitions. How about resetting the BIOS to its default?
  6. SgtBlades

    SgtBlades Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 42

    I would do a full erase but, this is my only computer and I use it for school as well. If I was going to do that I'd want to be able to use another comp. just in case something went wrong.

    bump, please help
  7. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,593   +864

    If GRUB still thinks that Windows is present, there's a slim chance that it might be. Try booting into "Windows NT" That turned out to be the recovery partition on my Emachines.

    You don't seem to overly concerned with the data on the drive, so you could always just buy the smallest HDD you could find, (around 80GB & 40 bucks nowadays) and do your install on that. If that won't work, then as others have suggested, the BIOS is at fault.

    You could also install your HDD on another machine and run a drive scrubber type program from there.
  8. SgtBlades

    SgtBlades Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 42

    That would be the first thing I'd do, if I had money, just buy a new hard drive and get it done with. But, it's still the BIOS that I think is the problem. And yea, I don't really care about the data on it. It's just a bunch of random videos and games. The data that is important is all on my usb.

    Now, the BIOS being the problem, how would I go about fixing it on Ubuntu?
  9. AudioVayne

    AudioVayne Newcomer, in training Posts: 142

    Personally I'd run over it with Darik's Burn And Nuke (DBAN) and start from scratch...I couldn't figure out why windows couldn't install but zeroing the drive fixed the issue...
  10. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,593   +864

    First, you can't "fix" the BIOS with Ubuntu.
    The BIOS is OS independent, and the only problems there could be that somehow the boot order has been changed, or the drive mode, IDE, SATA, or ACHI has been changed.

    I've experienced problems similar to the ones you're having when I tried to remove Ubuntu via removing it's partition in Windows. System no bootie, no how. I reinstalled Ubuntu, then booted into "Windows NT", which grub listed as "other OS es". It turned out to be the Emachines recovery partition. I actually forget the next series of misadventures, mis-clicks and ensuing bad decisions, but an hour or so later, I had Windows back up and running.

    As others have said you can zero out your drive with software, then just reinstall Windows. You could also remove the drive, install it in another machine and reformat it. That should enable you to return the drive to your machine and install Windows.

    By all means, do boot your machine into BIOS first, just to make certain the drive is still being recognized by the computer.

    If you choose the "drive scrubber" solution, make sure you burn the CD as an "image file", do not try to simply copy the file onto a CD, it won't work.
  11. BorisandBailey

    BorisandBailey TechSpot Enthusiast Posts: 206

    Have you gone into the BIOS before, Sarge? Sounds like a silly question, I know, but the first time I went into the BIOS was after I built my first computer. On many computers you just press Delete after it starts up. Keep pressing if you have to. Other computers it's one of the F keys.

    Once in the BIOS, I'll check to see that the hard drive is listed. Then I might find the selection that returns the entire BIOS settings to its defaults. Go back and check the boot order and set the CD/DVD ROM in first place so that you can can boot from a CD if you have to. That might actually be more work than what Captain Cranky suggests, and maybe unnecessary, but sometimes I like to start fresh.
     
  12. SgtBlades

    SgtBlades Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 42

    I've gone into the bios before... that's how I change the boot priority. The main problem is probably the hard drive with the filesystem on it (sdb1) which is the 300gb drive. I don't care about the data but, this is my only computer and I use it for school. If I messed up I would be realllllllllly out of luck. I would so erase everything on here and completely redo everything if I had access to another computer, but, sadly, nope...
    Which, erasing everything would probably be the key thing to do at this point...
  13. AudioVayne

    AudioVayne Newcomer, in training Posts: 142

    Zero the drive dude...Then it'll run...
  14. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,593   +864

    OK Sarge....., if you went into the BIOS and changed the boot priority, and now it won't boot, you could speculate that you changed it incorrectly. If the boot order is wrong, you won't be able to zero the drive anyway, since the machine won't recognize the (DC or DVD) drive as a boot source anyway.

    Set the boot order with the CD/DVD FIRST, still no boot, wipe the drive. Pretty much the only other possibilities are; the BIOS is in the wrong drive mode, the SATA drivers , (if necessary), are missing or damaged. As to the "drive mode", in many cases it should be run as IDE or sometimes it's called "Combination".

    Oh, as an afterthought, if this is a store bought machine, it might require restoring with it's own "restore" discs. If another copy of Windows is used, sometimes a "boot agent error" is produced, as the BIOS is password protected and keyed to the OEM Windows copy it was supplied with.

    I did run into an odd situation one time, where a CD drive was not recognized by Linux, and as a consequence of this, a friend was unable to load Windows as a result. "Boot Agent Error"! I do not know why I had to force the machine to recognize the CD drive, nor do I know why this would prevent the machine from accepting the Windows disc. But, this was a store bought computer, and I surmise that until the drive was recognized, the Windows disc was unable to erase the OEM "master boot record". The machine was looking for it's OEM restore discs, best guess, and had no BIOS password protection.

    I'm going to go now, since I'm starting to repeat myself, (and everybody else for that matter).
  15. SgtBlades

    SgtBlades Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 42

    that's the first thing I'll do when I have easy access to another computer dude. for now... I have to read everyone's stupid response repeating what others have said or responding when they don't understand the problem...

    Captaincranky: now that you've said that, I probably have the cd/dvd drive recognition problem. But, Linux (GRUB actually) doesn't boot until AFTER the BIOS's boot medium has attempted to boot. So, I don't see how that's a problem because both my cd/dvd drives are recognized by Ubuntu and GRUB
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 10,593   +864

    OK, that's sort of prudent, but it doesn't seem like like you can use it now, so.............

    Darik's Boot and Nuke actually does have an OS on it, MSDOS. I always refer to "zeroing" the drive as "scrubbing" the drive so there's no confusion. This is because I use "different" software, Iolo's "Drive Scrubber 3, same net result.

    Assuming the boot order is correct, (CD/DVD first), and all the drives are recognized by the BIOS, the most likely problem is with the "MBR" files, (master boot record). These are sort of sacred files that wouldn't be removed without a "scrubbing" or "zeroing" if you prefer.

    True, but only if the boot order is correct.

    I still think that the ideal approach is to try another drive in your machine, or to try your drive in another machine. If you install it in another machine, it would be placed BEHIND the OS drive of that machine in the boot order. One caveat here; Windows XP Home will NOT read files from a HDD with files created with XP Pro! But, it would reformat the drive if you so choose.

    Now, you're trying to install Windows on a store bought computer, this is the situation I was referring to. The original restore discs might work, a different Windows CD might not. This is what I was trying to explain earlier, although it seems not very effectively, that machines that come with OEM restore discs do goofy and unpredictable things when you tamper with the OS. On a built machine, all you do is jack the Windows CD in, and it will overwrite everything on the drive, assuming the CD is first in the boot order. IDK if your particular comp comes with restore discs, but with all the problems that people have with Dell BIOS passwords, it sure seems like a good candidate.

    The only other thing I see here is that you mention a "live CD" of Ubuntu. Did you, will you, would you,have you or can you, fully installed Linux? because GRUB won't load as a live program.

    If this response is stupid or repetitious, please accept my apologies.

    At first reading, "I would fix the computer, but I need the computer to work, so that's why I'm not fixing the computer, but the computer's not working", seems pointlessly stupid, but only in the nicest, cutest, circular sort of way.
  17. SgtBlades

    SgtBlades Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 42

    I have Windows XP Professional but it's a burned copy from a friend because I only ever used it one time (when I got it) and then I went to look for it again and well... idk where it is. Still: there are no actual windows files on this machine. The drive with the Ubuntu filesystem just thinks that windows is still there because, that drive only, detects a Windows partition.

    This was actually ordered from Dell.com, so, yea I guess store bought. But, nothing was preinstalled, only on hardware level, OS and software stuff I had to do.
    I do NOT have a restore disc for my BIOS and I have always had my BIOS password set to OFF.

    Yes I have fully installed and am currently using Ubuntu 8.10 Intrepid Ibex on this messed up machine to type this. GRUB is the boot manager for Linux-like systems. (originally it was lilo) The Live CD allows me to boot into my installed Ubuntu OS and make hotfixes such as changing drive types or messing with system files. So, if I was able to boot into the Live CD, I would change my ext3 partition to NTFS or FAT32 so that, once I can boot up the Windows Install CD, it would recognize the drive and I would be able to use it as a Windows partition as well as the filesystem for Ubuntu. But, if I end up getting rid of Ubuntu, I wouldn't care that much. I'll just stick Ubuntu on the first laptop I get.
  18. SgtBlades

    SgtBlades Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 42

    It's not dude. I just have this thread up on the Ubuntu Forums and you're pretty much the main person that knows what he's talking about.
    hahahaha! I know dude. But, if I manage to fix it without deleting anything on the drive, that would be totally, freaking, holy crap, zomg! BATMAN! amazing.
  19. Remove the HDD and first try to boot from a bootable CDROM - even the bootable Ubuntu livecd. Check the boot order again. Remove everything from the boot sequence except the CDROM drive. Also ensure that the CDROM drive is being detected at boot time. If you still can't boot from that then you've more problems than a bad HDD.
  20. SgtBlades

    SgtBlades Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 42

    I HAVE FOUND THE PROBLEM!!!! My IDE cable to the cd and dvd drives ( both abels i know i don't understand) have been messing up or something odd. so, i took stuff out and stuff and i was just cleaning it from all the dust that's accumulated over the years then put it back together and voila. works!
    but... after some random, frustrated attempts at fixing it myself, I've come up with error 15 and the computer refuses to boot.
    this post is probably insignificant as i'm finally gunna get around to installin dban on SOME floppy or an empty flash drive i might have around the house... somewhere... anyway... i'm uing a piece of crap 05 or 04 dell laptop for my work (and this, of course) which has 504mb of ram... every second it lags like crazy... it can barely run 2 programs like ie7 with msword... so frustrating...
    well if anyone has an idea of what error 15 is for Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope setup is please comment!
  21. Error 15? Do you mean "Grub error 15"? If so then just boot from the Windows CD, repartition, format and install. Then if the error is still there on the next reboot, boot from the Windows CD again. Go to the recovery console and log in. Do the following commands

    fixboot
    fixmbr
    exit

    This should get rid of the grub error and you should be back in windows (resuming the install).
  22. SgtBlades

    SgtBlades Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 42

    it's grub error 15 not windows error. because windows isn't on it.
  23. That's what I said....

    Did you try the above?
  24. SgtBlades

    SgtBlades Newcomer, in training Topic Starter Posts: 42

    i can't because i have no windows cd anymore
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