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I have a computer that dual-boots (or tri-boots) Windows 8 Release Preview, Windows 7, and Ubuntu 12.04. Grub boots between Windows 8 and Ubuntu; for which I use primarily. Recently, I decided to remove Ubuntu, as I hardly used it. I deleted the Ubuntu partition accidentally before replacing the Grub bootloader. Now, whenever I want to boot the machine, it gives me the "grub-rescue" prompt -- I am unable to boot into either Windows (8 nor 7), nor Ubuntu (except via USB, of course). I do not have any Windows 7/8 recovery media, so that isn't an option. Please note that after I deleted the Ubuntu partition, I put the PC into hibernate, and then turned it on. This means the C:\ [Windows 8] drive cannot be mounted. I don't know if that is bad, but it definitely doesn't make things better.

I am currently booting Ubuntu via USB, in an effort to restore the Windows bootloader. I have looked into using boot-repair to solve the problem using the instructions here, although after attempting to apply the changes, it gave the error: "Please install the [mbr] packages. Then try again." I don't know why I'm getting this error; is there a way to install the 'mbr packages?' I honestly don't know what exactly they are, nor how to install them. Are there any other options I have not yet exhausted to be able to boot back into Windows, in the case that there is a better way? I want to set the bootloader to boot into Windows 8, but booting into either Windows 7 or 8 is fine (I can use EasyBCD from there). Is there a simple solution to this? I've checked BIOS, and I haven't been able to find a way to boot into Windows.

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5 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can install a Microsoft style MBR from an Ubuntu LiveCD/USB. To do so, run

sudo software-properties-gtk -e universe && sudo apt-get update 
sudo apt-get install mbr
sudo install-mbr /dev/sdX

where "sdX" is the device node for your hard drive, like "sda", not a partition like "sda1".

If you really want to use boot-repair to do this then simply run everything except the last command

sudo install-mbr /dev/sdX

The commands before that one will just install the mbr package. Then try boot-repair again.

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This is a Windows Recovery CD from Neosmart.net

from the site:

What it does: The Windows 7 Recovery Disc can be used to access a system recovery menu, giving you options of using an antivirus, System Restore, Complete PC Backup, automated system repair, and a command-line prompt for manual advanced recovery.

What it doesn’t do: You cannot use the Windows 7 Recovery Disc to re-install Windows – it only fixes (not replaces!) Windows.

Why you need it: If you bought your PC from a major retailer, you didn’t get this CD with your hefty purchase.

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You can use the BOOTREC.EXE utility provided by Microsoft in a Windows 7 Installation media DVD. Here is a good article on how to do so:

How to use the Bootrec.exe tool in the Windows Recovery Environment to troubleshoot and repair startup issues in Windows

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The "Please install [mbr]" blocker was a bug. It has been fixed in recent versions of Boot-Repair. So Update Boot-Repair and click "Recommended repair".

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Read https://help.ubuntu.com/community/RestoreUbuntu/XP/Vista/7Bootloader

Do not execute "sudo install-mbr /dev/sdX" onto the MBR of a HDD which contains Windows VISTA, 7 and 8. If you execute it, disk signature will be overwritten with "00 00 00 00", which may cause failure in boot Windows VISTA, 7 and 8. I confirmed that install-mbr (installed with package "mbr" version 1.1.11-5, for Quantal) overwrote the disk signature.

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