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This old question says how to reinstall Windows 7 from DVD without messing up the Ubuntu partition:

How do I reinstall Windows 7 while keeping my dual boot configuration?

However, I have a Dell laptop -- which means that I do not have media (DVDs or USBs) for installing Windows and drivers; instead, the installation files are on my "recovery partition". (My recovery partition is still there -- I didn't touch it when I installed ubuntu.)

Is it still possible to reinstall Windows without messing up ubuntu? If so, how do I start?

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FYI, depending on the age and warranty of the computer, Dell will mail their customers the installation media for free, if you ask them. You just fill out an online form. So that's my "Plan B" if the recovery partition won't work. :-D – Steve B Feb 3 '14 at 15:45
You can download a copy of Windows 7 from Microsoft's site somewhere, though it's not easy to find (I just tried!). Have had problems using recovery drives : failed to install properly and destroyed my Ubuntu partition! Best to get a copy of windows onto dvd/cd and research how to do it from your Ubuntu Live cd on these forums. – comrademike Feb 3 '14 at 16:10

According to at least one person (comrademike's comment), this is a bad idea. It's better to get installation media.

The way I did it was, I filled out the form to get the Windows 7 installation CD (and another CD with drivers) from Dell:

For me (with a 1.5-year-old computer in USA), Dell fulfilled this request for free, and they used overnight shipping (fedex) so I had the CDs the next day. Very convenient!

There are other ways too. The comment by comrademike says it's supposed to be possible to download Windows 7 free from (but you still need a product key; the Windows 7 product key is written on a sticker on the underside of Dell laptops). But he also said that the link may be hard to find on the website. So you may need to contact microsoft to ask for help.

Once I had the Windows installation CD, I just followed the instructions at the other question, How do I reinstall Windows 7 while keeping my dual boot configuration?

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