Repairing Vista after installing Ubuntu dual boot

Discussion in 'General Technical' started by d_l, Mar 27, 2011.

  1. d_l

    d_l

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    I have a Dell Inspiron 1720 which has been running Vista Home Premium for quite a while.

    The configuration gradually became corrupted and in the final throes I managed to install Ubunto linux as a "back door" to run within Windows (Ubuntu dual boot configuration).

    I can access all my old Windows files which I can see in Ubuntu file system.

    In fact I'm sending this post from my Ubuntu side. Inside Ubuntu I have checked the health of the internal HDD and it looks good.

    Also I can see the different partitions ..

    [email protected]:~$ sudo fdisk -l

    Disk /dev/sda: 250.1 GB, 250059350016 bytes
    255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 30401 cylinders
    Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
    Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
    Disk identifier: 0xb0000000

    Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
    /dev/sda1 1 25 200781 de Dell Utility
    /dev/sda2 26 1331 10485760 7 HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda3 * 1331 30075 230888444 7 HPFS/NTFS
    /dev/sda4 30075 30402 2621440 f W95 Ext'd (LBA)
    /dev/sda5 30075 30402 2620416 dd Unknown
    [email protected]:~$


    The Vista OS Partition is in /dev/sda3
    The Vista Recovery Partition is in /dev/sda2


    ==========================================================

    My problem .. I cannot repair Vista by any means.

    When booting into Windows I cannot run Vista in any safe mode. It stalls after the drivers start loading and I end up with a list of loaded drivers (AVG being the last one loaded)

    I cannot repair using a Vista installation disk and the installation ends with a dark screen with a large cursor (which can be moved around the screen)

    I cannot run chkdsk /r in any way .. I have tried booting up with an XP Professional installation disk but this stops with the message ..

    Windows XP Professional Setup

    Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed in your computer.


    ...

    My thoughts are to perhaps run chkdsk on a bootable CD or USB to try to run on the Vista bootable partition.

    Any other ideas to repair Vista when I have the installation disk? Why doesn't XP Professional recognise the hard disks since they are HPFS/NTFS format?

    Ubuntu is my only lifeline at the moment to repair Vista and I was lucky to install it via Vista before Vista totally crashed and would not go through a full safe mode.

    I hope to end up with a dual boot configuration so I would prefer to avoid a fresh Vista installation in view of all the programs I would have to reinstall.

    I'm attaching a screenshot of the Ubuntu partition editor GPartedto show the different partitions. Vista is in /dev/sda3 which has a bootable flag.
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2011
    d_l, Mar 27, 2011
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  2. d_l

    WAW8

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    I don't see any Linux (ext3/ext4) on your drive, so you must have installed inside Vista using wubi -- which is about the worst thing you can do if Vista is failing, because that relies on booting Windows to be able to get to the Ubuntu install.

    You could try doing a Repair Install -- which involves launching Vista installation from inside Vista. If that works, you will have a working Vista again -- with minimal damage. That will, of course, most probably wipe out the Ubuntu install in the process.
     
    WAW8, Mar 28, 2011
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  3. d_l

    d_l

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    thaks for suggestions ...

    Thanks WAW8 for your reply to my maiden post in the forum.

    I did indeed use the wubi Windows Installer since the blurb suggested that it could run without impacting on Windows.

    Ubuntu actually appeared in c:\ubuntu (grub ??) before Vista started failing and not going through safe mode.

    I do have dual boot capability and although I can't boot any longer right through Windows I can go straight into Ubuntu - although to others trying this out ensure that you press on ESC within 3 seconds after booting into Ubuntu and then select Demo Mode.

    Sessions are lost each time in Demo Mode but Ubuntu doesn't go for the full installation which might change the windows partitions and wipe out some files.

    I had to do this wubi stuff since at the time I didn't have a working CD-RW drive to use Ubuntu LiveCD. I can now boot up Ubuntu from CD or USB.

    Vista Repair doesn't work. I don't mind wiping out the Ubuntu installation since my files are on a USB stick.

    Now that I have the CD-RW drive working again I'm going to try a Vista Recovery Disk which I managed to burn using Ubuntu.

    I've also read this thread ..

    ..... /tutorial-recover-windows-vista-after-shrinking-partition-gparted-t94458.html

    (sorry .. had to break up that link in order to post as a newbie)

    but as far as I can see the partition wasn't shrunk by wubi.

    I'll post back when I get Vista working again but I also read in this forum (I think you wrote it) that it is difficult to do a non-destructive reinstallation of Vista (as you can in XP) so I might have to start afresh.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    p.s. I had to uninstall the screenshot.png of Gparted to allow me to post this since my post count is under 5.

    .
     
    d_l, Mar 28, 2011
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  4. d_l

    WAW8

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    The sole benefit I've seen to using Wubi is that you don't mess with partitioning. Until Ubuntu 10.10, that was not much benefit because of the ready availability of the "Use largest free space" installation option in Ubuntu. But the "geniuses" at Canonical decided to remove that option such that, with 10.10, you have to mess around with partitioning now -- and unless you are extremely careful, you will erase your Vista install in the process.
     
    WAW8, Mar 28, 2011
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  5. d_l

    d_l

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    conclusion ..

    Thanks for the advice.

    I've now tried a Vista Recovery Disk but that hits a black screen with a large cursor displayed.

    I'm lucky not to have gone for the full installation of Ubuntu 10.10 when some cracks occurred in Vista (corrupt user profile or it might be a virus .. I don't know) although there is a tempting "install ubuntu" icon sitting on the desktop.

    So at least I've still got access to the files in /isodevice/ inside Ubuntu File System.

    I'm not going to tempt fate any more and I'll now plan for a full backup and reinstallation.

    I will re-install Ubuntu and Vista on separate disks.
     
    d_l, Mar 28, 2011
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  6. d_l

    d_l

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    can I hack any Vista boot files to force re-boot in safe mode?

    I've returned to this thread having tried to ...

    • launch Vista Recovery Disk on CD ...
    • launch Vista Installation on CD ...

    in each case I end up after "Windows loading" message and files loading from CD with a black screen with cursor and nothing happening after this point.

    I can view the non-booting Vista OS from within ubuntu file system.

    But I can't even get the Vista installation CD to boot to a Repair point.

    Does Vista expect a formatted drive before trying a re-installation?

    Given that I can edit any files in Vista .. through Ubuntu file systems and even a bootable Parted Magic CD

    partedmagic.com

    Is there any way of hacking Vista OS files to force a re-boot / repair in safe mode?
     
    d_l, Apr 5, 2011
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  7. d_l

    WAW8

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    Unfotunately, the loading display you see when booting from the CD is the same as when booting into Vista -- the scrolling green horizontal bar. So, it's hard to tell from that whether or not it's actually booting from the CD. Your CD/DVD drive must be OK because you can boot from an Ubuntu CD.

    So, you get just a screen background and no menu on the screen, right?

    No, but I don't believe it can install unless there is an NTFS partition on the drive or the drive is empty. It may not install if it sees a Linux (Ext3, Ext4) filesystem on the drive.

    If you can boot into Safe Mode with Command Line in Vista, you could try repairing the boot by inserting the Install DVD, and entering the following commands:
    bootrec /rebuildbcd

    You could also try the following:
    bootrec /fixmbr
    bootrec /fixboot
     
    WAW8, Apr 5, 2011
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  8. d_l

    d_l

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    downgrading Vista to Windows XP

    Thank you again WAW8

    Unfortunately, the loading display you see when booting from the CD is the same as when booting into Vista -- the scrolling green horizontal bar. So, it's hard to tell from that whether or not it's actually booting from the CD. Your CD/DVD drive must be OK because you can boot from an Ubuntu CD.

    =====================================================================

    I dual boot into ubuntu and not from LiveCD (although that also works).
    CD/DVD drive seems o.k.

    =====================================================================

    So, you get just a screen background and no menu on the screen, right?


    =====================================================================

    That's correct .. black screen with large cursor which can be moved around.

    No activity seen in LED showing drive activity after initial loading activity.

    =====================================================================


    No, but I don't believe it can install unless there is an NTFS partition on the drive or the drive is empty. It may not install if it sees a Linux (Ext3, Ext4) filesystem on the drive.

    =====================================================================

    There is no Ext3/ext4 partition since ubuntu actually runs in windows partition !! wubi windows installer which seems to screw up Vista. There is about 50 GB free space .. but even if the disk was full the installation should proceed to allow a Repair.

    =====================================================================

    If you can boot into Safe Mode with Command Line in Vista, you could try repairing the boot by inserting the Install DVD, and entering the following commands:
    bootrec /rebuildbcd

    You could also try the following:
    bootrec /fixmbr
    bootrec /fixboot


    =====================================================================

    Unfortunately cannot get beyond a list of systems drivers in safe mode. Then it goes into suspended animation.

    =====================================================================


    Here is what I hope might be a solution.

    I have an old windows XP professional installation disk to downgrade from Vista Home Premium to Windows XP Pro .. but that installation came to a halt with a message on blue screen.

    Setup did not find any hard disk drives installed on your computer.

    And then I found this thread .. !! .. (I can't post full hyperlinks at the moment as a newbie)

    howtogeek.com/howto/windows/resolving-setup-did-not-find-any-hard-disk-drives-during-windows-xp-installation/

    I went into Dell Inspiron bios (F2) and changed SATA device to ATA instead of AHCI ..

    and then I was able to get to the point where I can actually start to install Windows XP Pro.

    I'm going to give it a break at this point and start tomorrow to downgrade failed Vista to Windows XP and then look to a fresh Vista installation some time later on a fresh partition after some juggling of drives.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2011
    d_l, Apr 5, 2011
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  9. d_l

    WAW8

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    From what I recall, Windows XP did not work with AHCI -- that's too new for it to have the necessary drivers.

    Also, I was still using ATA when I installed Vista. So, I have no personal experience using Vista with AHCI.

    Now that I'm using Win7, I can tell you that AHCI works fine -- including the Repair CDs. But that won't help you for Vista.
     
    WAW8, Apr 6, 2011
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  10. d_l

    d_l

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    In Dell Inspiron 1720 I bought with Vista Home as OEM package.
    Bios (A07) had default setting AHCI and for the last two years Vista has worked fine for me. Then I hit problems and had to install ubuntu just to access my files.

    Windows XP Pro comes from an earlier laptop I had.

    Windows XP Pro needs to be set to (older) ATA instead of (later) AHCI to even install.
    But I understand from reading that tutorial that - after installing Win XP - the bios can be reset to AHCI.

    Right now I'm organising partitions on internal and external (USB) disks to have Win XP installation and ubuntu bootable.

    and I found this is useful bootable utility

    http://partedmagic.com/doku.php

    These threads relates closely to my setup ..

    http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-940076.html

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1721700

    I think this thread is close to being solved.

    p.s. ... I've graduated to posting hyperlinks !!
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
    d_l, Apr 6, 2011
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  11. d_l

    d_l

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    fin

    Completing the story.

    Using Parted Magic bootable CD above ..

    I formatted an external USB drive to have two primary partitions formatted as ext4.
    I created a third primary partition with a logical partition formatted as ntfs.
    I used the ubuntu Live CD to install ubuntu into the first ext4 partition setting bootable flag in that partition.
    The second primary partition was left empty for possible trial of Mint Linux.
    I could then boot up using F12 and selecting USB as the bootable device.
    Ubuntu worked.

    I then turned to my internal drive and used Parted Magic to fix any errors in the partitions.
    I was able to reinstall Vista (but not repair unfortunately).

    I then reduced the size of the Vista OS partition to allow me to add as logical partitions another ext4 partition and another ntfs partition for data only in an extended partition in the internal drive so I could have ubuntu.

    So I've now got Vista and ubuntu on my internal drive .. and my data separated in an ntfs logical partition .. multi booted through Grub loader .. and ubuntu on an external drive.

    I have abandoned my earlier idea of installing Windows XP Pro (at least in this setup). Parted Magic allowed me to fix the Vista partition to allow a reinstallation.

    I read that you have to be very careful resizing or moving Vista partitions (as I had to do) to make room for a ubuntu ext4 partition and extra ntfs partition. It is safer if you can do this partition juggling first .. before installing Vista. If there is a problem you have to go through Vista Repair at reboot .. but I was lucky and didn't need that.


    [EDIT]
    Just adding this link to EasyBCD 2.0 for managing multiple boots (Vista, XP, Ubuntu).

    http://neosmart.net/wiki/display/EBCD/Linux

    There are two approaches

    installing Ubuntu before installing Vista
    installing Vista before installing Ubuntu (preferably into its dedicated Linux partition ext4 format)

    Currently at boot I now see a Grub menu with boot order ..
    for Linux (ubuntu)
    for Vista

    If after a few seconds I do not select Vista it launches ubuntu.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011
    d_l, Apr 8, 2011
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