How To Safely Uninstall Ubuntu From A Windows Dual-Boot PC

dualbootlogo   How To Safely Uninstall Ubuntu From A Windows Dual Boot PCLinux is a great operating system and more often than not, it’s the installation of Linux that is the matter of discussion.

For a change, I will be talking about how to uninstall Linux Ubuntu (or other operating systems) from a dual boot windows pc, and still being able to boot into other OS without much work. So let’s get started right away.

Backup your Linux files

It pops up everytime, but backup really is very important. If you have been using your Linux system for some time, chances are you would have created files you wouldn’t want to loose. In such a case, you can boot into Linux, backup your files (check out your Home directory) on an external device or onto a Windows partition.

Alternatively if you somehow managed to mess up and can’t boot into Linux, you can use ext2 IFS which allows you access to your Linux paritions. It can only read ext2 and ext3 filesystems though. If you are using other filesystems, you would have to look around a bit for a similar application. In any case, you can always boot from a Linux live CD to backup files if everything else fails.

Delete Linux Partitions

Next step: delete every Linux partition. That would include everything – boot, swap, home, whatever way you set up your system, it is time to delete all Linux partitions. There are a couple of ways to achieve this, easiest being from within Windows’ Computer Management. You need to:

where   How To Safely Uninstall Ubuntu From A Windows Dual Boot PC

  • Log in to an account with administrative privileges.
  • Right click on My Computer, click ‘Manage’.
  • Choose ‘Disk Management’ listed under ‘Storage’ and you will see all of your partitions listed there.

spacepart   How To Safely Uninstall Ubuntu From A Windows Dual Boot PC

Next, you need to identify Linux partitions. The Linux partitions generally don’t have a file system listed with them if Windows doesn’t recognize it, so this can serve as a clue. Other ways can be identifying by size or partition number. You can use partition managers, these are generally better at identifying filesystems. Go ahead, delete the partitions, just make sure you delete the correct ones. Linux is gone and so is GRUB, which allowed you to choose operating system to use at boot time. So currently, you cannot boot into any other operating system, without some help. We are going to fix that soon.

Restore MBR

As we noted, GRUB is gone and so is the ability to boot into Windows. You would now need to boot from the Windows CD/DVD to restore the Master Boot Record. You can also use other Live CDs like one of my absolute favorites and highly recommended HBCD just in case you don’t have Windows installation media handy. Here are the steps:

  • Boot from Windows CD/DVD and choose “Repair” when it shows up.

bootrec   How To Safely Uninstall Ubuntu From A Windows Dual Boot PC

  • Choose command prompt on the resulting screen and run the following two commands:
    • bootrec /fixmbr
    • bootrec /fixboot

XP users need to run the recovery console from Windows XP CD and then type fixmbr when at the command prompt.

Reclaim free space

Restart now, remove the CD and you should be able to boot into your Windows installation. Once there, you should go ahead and reclaim the unpartitioned free space which was previously occupied by Linux. Doing so is simple and straight forward:

  • Fire up Disk Management as before.
  • Right-click on the unparitioned space, choose new partition or new logical drive.
  • Specify the size and other options according to your needs and you are done.

The free space should now be accessible from My Computer like any other partition. Alternatively, you can create multiple partitions from the free space or resize existing partitions to suit your needs.You can use utilities like GParted, Easues Partition Master or any one of the many partition managers on HBCD to perform such advanced tasks easily.

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13 Comments -

0 votes

Noah

Correction – Linux is a kernel which lots of great OS’s use. Please correct your error. I don’t want to have to re-inform the masses.

0 votes

Albert

Linux IS an operating system. If you are unclear on this point I suggest you talk to RedHat, Ubuntu, or even Microsoft. They will explain it to you. Don’t Let Stallman or his minions confuse you. Without the Linux “kernel” their is no Linux operating system. This myth of GNU/Linux is just that, a myth! Their was never, and will never be a GNU operating system. The Linux kernel is what makes linux, Linux!

0 votes

Noah

No, it’s not a operating system. Those which believe so are wrong. Ubuntu and Redhat USE the Linux KERNEL, but they are NOT Linux. They are simply based upon it.

0 votes

MP

Ubuntu is an operating system.

0 votes

dp

Kernel schmernel. This is a helpful explanation of how to get Ubuntu off my laptop.

0 votes

Ant

It certainly is. Thanks, Varun! If I’d had help as good as this when I was installing Ubuntu, maybe I wouldn’t now need help UNinstalling it…

0 votes

cookielover

I did this once differently. I couldn’t find my Windows setup CD, so I went and got this software called MBRfix (sysint.no/nedlasting/mbrfix.htm) to restore the MBR. When I restarted, I automatically booted into Windows. THEN I deleted my Ubuntu partition.

And then I reinstalled it. ;)

0 votes

qasrani

Hi there,
After trying to find a solution about what I am supposed to do in following situation:
I have Acer Aspire 5315 laptop with pre-installed windows Vista Basic. I put Ubuntu on its top. All went messed up if I talk about booting. System restoring to factory default, ubuntu and windows booting, all comes on one screen. I have already once restored my system to factory defaults but as I do not have a windows CD or DVD seperatly (I got hard drive as recovery media), I was lost.

I went to boot options by pressing F8 and there I choose system recovery. In system recovery, I went to command prompt and get
bootrec/fixmbr
done but
bootrec/fixboot
did not worked. At least now there is no more option for operating system installations but still I can not figure out anything how to remove Ubuntu from system. Any help I can get from here?

Summery: I want to restore my laptop to factory defaults. I do not have any CD or DVD for windows recovery but I have a hard drive partition for the purpose. Ubuntu mixed up my partitions so restoring the factory default does not work.

0 votes

Jim

Hi all,

I have windows 7 instead of Vista, will the process be the same as listed here?
I have the installation disc from MS. Please let me know, if true, then, I will try it.

0 votes

Jesse

This didn’t work for me… at least it didn’t take care of the grub problem. Ubuntu still shows up. This is a problem because there is nothing there and if I try to reinstall ubuntu it will not allow me to boot in to xp.

0 votes

MP

I tried the instructions offered. However, they did not work as expected. I deleted the partition with Ubuntu, but when I restarted the laptop (HP Pavilion 9700 with XP home SP2) with the recovery DVD, it immediately re-formatted my hard drive and is doing a clean installation of XP…. Oh well, I don’t care about the data lost, but it’s a real pain to bring the computer up to date. This was not a good way to uninstall Ubuntu and leave the XP alone….

0 votes

Jesse

Ubuntu gets more difficult to manage for noobs as it ages. It should be the other way around. I can’t even get 9.10 to do dial up much less use my aircard. I’m over it.

Jesse

0 votes

RH

I have deleted that partition and then reboot. Then, the screen to select among different OS (Ubuntu, WindowsXP) did not come and my PC automatically booted with XP(as it boots when WindowsXP is the only OS)!! No problem came. Though I did not do that thing(fixmbr….). Now I am working in XP. Has Ubuntu been fully uninstalled??