Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Safely Remove Linux from a Windows dual-boot PC

Linux is a great kernel and more often than not, it’s the installation of Linux Distros that is the matter of discussion.

For a change, I will be talking about how to uninstall Linux Distro 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
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 on an external device or onto a Windows partition.

Remove Grub
Most of the times users delete the Linux partitions but don't remove the Linux Boot-loader (Grub) which renders their system unusable.

We are going to remove Grub by overwriting it with Windows Boot-loader.

For this you need to have Windows installation disc.

1. Boot from Windows CD/DVD and select Repair when it shows up. 


2. 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 promt.

3. Restart the system and boot from the hard-disk and not the installation CD/DVD

4. You will notice that Windows is booted automatically and no option to boot Linux is available as Grub has been overwritten.

Delete Linux Partitions 
Next step is to delete every Linux partition. That would include everything- boot, swap, home, root whatever way you setup your system.
The easiest way of doing this is from within the Window's Computer Management Console.

1. Log in to an account with administrative privileges.

2. Right click on My Computer, click Manage.

3. Choose  Disk Management listed under Storage and you will see all of your partitions listed there.

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 clue.  Other ways can be identifying by size or partition number.

Go ahead, delete the partitions, just make sure you delete the correct ones.

Linux is gone and since Grub was already removed, your system now has only one OS running and that is your Windows.

Reclaim Free Space
Now, since you have deleted the Linux partitions you might want to utilize all the free space left.

1. Right-click on on the unpartitioned(free) space, choose new partition or new logical drive.

Keep in mind that Windows support only 4 primary partitions, i.e, if you want to have more than 4 partitions, you have to make them extended/logical partitions.

2. Specify the size and other options according to your needs and you are done.

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