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I'm asking this question because it seems like every single answer is install Ubuntu breaking windows 8 -> boot from live cd -> run boot-repair -> done.

What happens when boot repair won't work?

I tried to install Ubuntu 12.04 LTS x64 as usually and noticed that the installer did not recognize any other OS in the disk but it recognized the contents of it. So I went ahead and proceeded to install and swap in the empty space I created earlier (separately, I meant) and the boot loader in sda (like I've done so many times in non-UEFI machines).

But after the installation was completed, I was unable to get grub working, it just booted directly into Ubuntu with no grub and then I followed the Magic boot repair path and ended up with a black screen and a grub> prompt.

I searched everywhere and all I found was boot-repair. I gave up and went to recover the system which deleted all the contents of my drive to its original state (which is fine since the system is new).

I really need Ubuntu for work and I can't find another way to install it anywhere.

Some info:

  • Windows 8 came pre-installed in UEFI mode (checked via power-shell).
  • I disabled fast-boot and secure-boot (no 'EFI boot' option in my BIOS) before the install.
  • Ubuntu started in UEFI mode when installing (confirmed by the look of the 'try Ubuntu or install it menu).
  • My BIOS looks exactly like a normal BIOS, no fancy looking menu like many videos I've seen (no mouse support either).

Is there anything else I can do?

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try testdisk to recover deleted partition. – Avinash Raj Nov 17 '13 at 7:24

The easiest solution is to try using the USB flash drive or CD-R version of my rEFInd boot manager. (Note, however, that if you created a separate /boot partition, you'll need to press F2 or Insert twice and add ro root=/dev/{whatever} to the boot options, where /dev/{whatever} is your root device. This should not be necessary if you did not split off /boot into its own partition.) If that works, you can install the Debian version in Ubuntu, which should cause rEFInd to take over as the default boot manager. (If you've got a separate /boot partition, installing the Debian package will obviate the need to add boot options.)

The more complex solution is to dig in and do GRUB debugging. There are numerous sites that describe how to do this. One that I wrote is this developerWorks article, but doing a Web search will turn up lots more. This process is complex and requires a lot of knowledge to do right, which is why Boot Repair exists -- it's supposed to do the tricky stuff for you. Unfortunately, as you say Boot Repair did not work, digging in manually may be your only option. (There are options you can select within Boot Repair, but they're mostly for experts anyhow.)

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