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Hello Ubuntu community,

I find myself in an interesting situation. I have a Dell Inspiron 531 with Windows Vista. Recently my brother decided it would be a good idea to overwrite Vista with the Windows 8 consumer preview. Since we have had this PC for a very long time, we have long since lost the Vista CD, and according to the Windows 8 preview website you cannot recover your previous OS without it. I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out Ubuntu (since we obviously cannot keep the preview as an OS), but it appears that Ubuntu 11.10 Desktop is not compatible with Win8. Ubuntu doesn't run from the LiveUSB I made, instead it freezes on the loading screen and then disintegrates into black and white stripes. I blamed this failure on Ubuntu not being compatible with win8 yet and tried to install Ubuntu from the USB on a partition made from the remaining space on my hard drive - about 100GB.

However the installer crashed while loading modules and told me I didn't have enough disk space. Since then, I have not been able to load either Ubuntu or Windows, BIOS is shifted over to the left of my screen, and I always get the same message:

error: unknown filesystem
grub rescue>

typing "ls" at the prompt gives me the following:

(hd0) (hd0,msdos7) (hd0,msdos6) (hd0,msdos5) (hd0,msdos2) (hd0,msdos1)

does this mean I have multiple partitions running windows on my computer? Is it possible to recover Vista without the disk? Are all of my problems stemming from Ubuntu not being compatible with Win8 preview? (I realize the majority of my questions are about Windows, but seeing as the prompt I get is for grub I thought I would ask here first.)

Any insight anyone has on this predicament would be greatly appreciated.

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closed as too localized by James Dec 26 '12 at 1:14

This question is unlikely to help any future visitors; it is only relevant to a small geographic area, a specific moment in time, or an extraordinarily narrow situation that is not generally applicable to the worldwide audience of the internet. For help making this question more broadly applicable, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

On A Dell here Have a perfectly running Dual Boot on both the windows 8 and Ubuntu What Do You mean recover Vista? as in get the Vista OS back, den download the recovery ISO or create one from another Vista Machine, just search in start menu.. if you wanna recover Files and Folders from My DOc, you can Do so from Live CD... Your USB Drive probably is bad, try using unetbootin to create a bootable usb drive ..... install windows 8 first and den linux. PS : f8 doesnt open recovery in windows 8 Shift + F8 does – sarveshlad Mar 11 '12 at 2:26
If Ubuntu won't run from the LiveUSB you created, it has nothing to do with Windows8. I don't know what Windows8 does to partitions and file systems so it's possible it's messed them up, although that doesn't seem likely. (Then again, it's Microsoft ....) At any rate, your LiveUSB has nothing to do with all of that. And installing any version of Windows, almost certainly including Windows8, will require booting with a LiveCD or LiveUSB (which you tried) and reinstalling Grub. – Kelley Mar 11 '12 at 4:16
hmmm.. Can you provide a screenshot? – user61148 May 6 '12 at 22:11

2 Answers 2

Just a simple thing you have to do: Fix grub using supergrub disk or ubuntu live cd.

Refer to this to fix grub: How to Repair/Restore/Reinstall Grub 2 with a Ubuntu Live CD

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after you will able to boot both systems windows 8 preview and ubuntu – K.K Patel Aug 14 '12 at 6:02

There is really too little information here to provide a reliable answer - first you say Ubuntu does not run from the live USB, then you say you managed to install from the live USB but the installer crashed.

You need to determine what you want to achieve and follow a process if you want to dual boot Win 8 and Ubuntu.

First things first I would run the installer again and choose 'Something Else' and see if you have any type of Ubuntu install, if you do you can choose to overwrite it and install again - make sure you install GRUB into the master boot record of the drive you are installing Ubuntu on, usually /dev/sda.

Grub should have no issues finding your Win 8 installation and adding it as a boot option.

I doubt Vista would be recoverable as it is likely you reformatted the entire drive when you installed Win 8 - I hope you had a back up.

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What I mean when I say the USB doesn't work is that when I choose to boot from the USB I get 6 options, the first two of which are "Run Ubuntu from this USB", and "Install Ubuntu on a Hard Disk". If I choose "Run", I get a purple loading screen which freezes after 10 secs, then I get the previously mentioned stripes. If I choose "Install", I get the same loading screen, then the installer, which worked fine until the end when it said "Cannot Install Grub. This is a fatal error" and made me reboot. When I choose reinstall a second time, it gives me the option to erase and reinstall ubuntu. – ubeatlenine Mar 12 '12 at 1:52
What stage is the installation at now - have you reinstalled Ubuntu and managed to recover Grub? There is a good community documentation on dual boot that I recommend you have a read through. – Mark Rooney Mar 12 '12 at 7:24
I erased and reinstalled Ubuntu, it appears that the Grub installation was successful this time from what I can tell. Upon reboot after the installation completed successfully, however, I got a black screen for about 10 secs (my monitor said "Out of Range") then my machine rebooted itself again. This time Ubuntu loaded and I was prompted to login to my account! However, after logging in my desktop got pixelated lines around the top and left edges of my screen exactly like it did when I ran from the LiveUSB. Is my LiveUSB to blame here? Thank you for your patience in helping me work this out. – ubeatlenine Mar 12 '12 at 16:19
UPDATE - Made a new Bootable USB using unetbootin and a USB that I just bought - same results. I find it exceedingly unlikely that two USBs could be corrupted the same way, especially when I just bought one of them, unless I'm screwing up the setup somehow. In unetbootin I downloaded the Ubuntu 11.10 Live iso and downloaded to the only USB drive option available. – ubeatlenine Mar 12 '12 at 18:36
Ubuntu 10.04 LTS works perfectly from the LiveUSB!! Why would this not be the case with 11.10? – ubeatlenine Mar 12 '12 at 22:09

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