I have absolutely no experience with Linux, and I desperately need to get my computer back up and running again with Windows.

How do I remove Ubuntu and reinstall Windows?

  • 2
    I followed this guide, specifically BIOS boot, and was able to get Windows 10 installed over Ubuntu. – usandfriends Aug 18 '15 at 2:49
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    Put a Windows System-Installer DVD in. > Click system-install. > (#You may need to click "Advanced options on this step".) Click next until disk list is shown. > Click "Advanced options". > (#Format and delete may be saferSelect drive; click "format" then "delete" or "delete". Now you are ready to install windows (click next). – Wolfpack'08 Jan 22 '16 at 21:34
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    And none of the above is ontopic ;-) You remove an OS by installing another. So Ubuntu is not an issue here. Get an official Windows and follow THEIR instructions. – Rinzwind Aug 9 '16 at 14:07
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    There is no need to remove an operating system in order to install another. Follow the instructions for installing Windows from the Windows installation media, and tell it to overwrite everything. In my opinion, how to do so is out of the scope of this website. – thomasrutter Aug 11 '16 at 23:28
  • 1
    Note: many of the answers on this question are about removing Ubuntu from dual-boot but keeping Windows (which is a bit complicated), while other answers are about removing Ubuntu from single-boot (which is easy: just format the disk while installing Windows). The question is not clear if it's about dual-boot or single-boot. – wjandrea May 3 '17 at 15:36

16 Answers 16

To remove Ubuntu, you will need a Windows Recovery DVD or Installation DVD, or a Ubuntu Live DVD.

Note: If you don't have a Windows Recovery or Installation DVD, you can download official ISO files for Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7 from the Microsoft Download Center. Windows will only install as an evaluation copy for 30 days without a genuine product key.

Using a Windows Recovery DVD or Installation DVD

  1. Grab a Windows recovery media or installation CD and boot from it. You should see this or a similar screen on a recovery media CD.

    System Recovery Options dialog

    You should see this on an installation media CD. Click "Repair your computer" and you should see a screen like the first image.

    Windows Setup

  2. Open the Command Prompt, then type bootrec /fixmbr into the Command Prompt.

    Command prompt FIXMBR

  3. Reboot and boot into Windows. Then follow the steps below to remove the Ubuntu partitions.


Using a Ubuntu Live DVD and Boot Repair

If you don't have a Windows recovery CD or you are constrained to download and burn the ISO files mentioned before, you can use Boot-repair. It is a tool that fixes most boot problems(Windows or Ubuntu). I suggest using a Windows CD if possible.

  1. Boot from a Ubuntu Live DVD or USB

  2. Type these lines in the terminal one line at a time.

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install boot-repair
    
  3. Search for Boot-Repair in the Dash and launch it.

    Boot repair dialog

    To fix your computer with Boot-repair, simply click the "Recommended Repair" button. Then follow the steps below to remove the Ubuntu Partitions.


Deleting Ubuntu Partitions

  1. Go to Start, right click Computer, then select Manage. Then select Disk Management from the sidebar.

    Disk Management

  2. Right-click your Ubuntu partitions and select "Delete". Check before you delete!

  3. Then, right-click the partition that is on the Left of the free space. Select "Extend Volume". Go through the Wizard and Finish it.

    Extend Volume Wizard

  4. Done!

Note from Tanner: If you are using an extended partition, you might have to remove the big extended partition to make the space unallocated.

  • 7
    Rather than a cross-posted answer, this answer is actually edited to account for the (substantial) differences between the two questions. +1 – Eliah Kagan May 29 '12 at 0:40
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    You may want to add that you have to delete the partitions twice to make it unallocated before you can extend the volume. – Tanner Jul 13 '12 at 18:04
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    So I followed these steps. But when I deleted the partitions, it showed-up as free space (not unallocated). The extend option of the left partition is not available. – Tru May 14 '13 at 6:32
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    Thanks. In the end I used a third-party disk management utility to merge the volumes. – Tru May 16 '13 at 5:50
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    The line "you cannot install Windows with a genuine purchased product key" has a minor error. The word "with" should read "without". (Can't edit this as the change is too small.) – user111667 Jun 23 '14 at 10:50
  1. Boot a live CD/DVD/USB with Ubuntu
  2. Choose "Try Ubuntu"
  3. Download and install OS-Uninstaller.
  4. Start the software and select what operating system you want to uninstall.

    enter image description here

  5. Apply
  6. When all is over, reboot your computer, and voila, only Windows is on your computer or of course no OS!
  • 3
    Hey, how can you remove as OS being at the moment under that OS? How step 6 may exist if after step 5 there should be no any Ubuntu? – Green Jul 1 '13 at 19:02
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    @Atem18 What #Green asked is: What happens if I do this on a non-dualboot system? (uninstall the only OS currently running) – Lucio Jul 25 '13 at 16:45
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    Green, the tool is used from a live-session. Lucio, if the hard disk contains only one OS, then the tool won't allow to remove it. – LovinBuntu Jul 31 '13 at 22:14
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    @Lucio if there is only one OS on the computer, then a simple formating will do the job. – Atem18 Aug 2 '13 at 13:40
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    To make my Windows hard drive bootable again I had to boot with the Windows DVD and then go to Repair computer, Command, and then run bootrec /fixmbr and then bootrec /fixboot. Now I can finally boot into Windows without depending on Grub or Ubuntu or a working second hard drive. – Samir Aug 3 '13 at 20:30

First download bootsect.exe into the Download directory.

press the windows key, type cmd.exe and on the result (The command prompt) start it as an "Administrator" by right clicking on the cmd icon, and select Run as Administrator.

In the new cmd.exe window, cd to your download directory. for example cd C:\Users\Lalu Patel\Downloads. _assuming your user name is "Lalu Patel".

Then enter this command. bootsect.exe /nt60 ALL /force /mbr. Restart your system to see that, Windows is automatically loading without grub.

Then in Windows

  1. Open the Control Panel (All Items view), and click on the Administrative Tools icon. then close the Control Panel window
  2. Click on Computer Management in Administrative Tools, then close the Administrative Tools window.
  3. In the left pane under Storage, click on Disk Management. see this.
  4. Select the the partition with unknown type. it is the Ubuntu partition. Right Click -> Delete partition.
  5. Now the former Ubuntu partition becomes an unallocated space.
  6. Select the left partition of the new unallocated space.
  7. Right click on the partition -> click on Extend Volume.
  8. Click on the Next button.
  9. Type in how many MB (1 GB = 1024 MB) you want to use from the unallocated space to extend the selected partition (step 5) into, then click on the Next button.see this.

    Note: If you want to use all of the unallocated space to extend into, then type in the maximum available space shown for the unallocated space.

  10. Click on the Finish button. You're done.

Source: bootsect, disk management

  • 3
    You shouldn't have to download bootsect.exe if you have a Windows repair CD - and if you don't have one (you should) it's easy enough to create one. – bcbc May 26 '12 at 16:29
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    -1, this does not answer the question. – Star OS Dec 20 '15 at 8:54
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    Worked on Windows 8! Thanks – cdonts Dec 16 '16 at 2:02
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    Your link to bootsect is now broken. I was able to download it from here, although the download process was long and I had to go through several pages. Using that and your instructions, everything worked. – Fabio Marroni Feb 25 at 21:35
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    @FabioMarroni No problem. Thanks for asking. Btw, the link is updated – Anwar Feb 28 at 16:41

If you don't have a Windows CD and deleted the Ubuntu partition

Scenario:

You want to remove Ubuntu, and deleted the Ubuntu partition from within another OS. Now, your computer wont boot ("no such partition") and you lack a Windows Recovery CD to fix it.

  1. Create a Ubuntu LiveCD/USB.
  2. Boot from your Ubuntu LiveCD/USB by selecting it in the BIOS boot options.
  3. Once Ubuntu loads, open a Terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T), and run these commands:

    sudo apt-get install lilo
    sudo lilo -M /dev/sda
    

    Note: you may have to replace /dev/sda with the main hard drive you installed Ubuntu and Windows to.

  4. You can then reboot into Windows.
  • Great answer! Since the user probably already has the live disk he used to install Ubuntu, he doesn't have to look for a windows disk. The lilo -M option is quick and efficient. ...also it works with all current versions of Windows. – L. D. James Jun 26 '16 at 23:59
  • Thanks a lot for this. It complements @Atem18's answer to reduce the entire restoration process to using an Ubuntu live CD and installing just two programs - lilo and os-uninstaller. – kakoma Apr 18 '17 at 21:00
  • Thanks - I was getting nowhere with above answers and googling but this finally got me into windows – Zack Macomber Jul 28 '17 at 22:53

Actually the solution to this is very easy, anyone can do it. First things first. Download something called EasyBCD (there's a free version, you have to download it into Windows as it's a .exe) http://neosmart.net/download.php?id=1 run through the set-up.

  1. Launch EasyBCD and go to the sixth button down, EasyBCD deployment. Since you're a Windows XP user, select Write the Windows XP Bootloader to the MBR then press the big red button called "Write to MBR"
  2. Next head up to the second button called "Edit boot Menu" and select the first option "Skip the boot menu" and click save settings. Congrats, you now have Windows XP bootloader back, and it will automatically boot into Windows, but we aren't done yet. You still have Ubuntu on your system, we want to change that.
  3. Open up disk management and find your Ubuntu partition and the Ubuntu Swap Partition (I assume you know how big it is, [the swap is about two gigs, should be right next to the Linux partition]). Delete the swap first, and then delete the Ubuntu partition. If done properly you will get Unaccounted space for HD and the swap will become "Free Space" time to also fix that.
  4. Next right click on the Free-Space partition (swap space) and delete it again, it should become part of the unaccounted space. Now you don't want to just leave all that empty space on your HD. Right click on your Windows partition now, and click extend the volume. It should default into the maximum size of your HD, (which you want so XP has all the space.) and click continue. There you go, it'll do it's thing and Windows XP should now have your entire HD, Ubuntu will be gone, and you Will have the XP bootloader back. Hope that helped for you!

    (Video tutorial from Tech-Harvest doing basically the same thing but on Windows 7 - http://youtu.be/AAWBZq04Izc )

  • 1
    Thank you. I reviewed this option and it looked promising. However I chose to try out the suggestions from Pestilence as it did not require additional software. I was thinking why add to my issue with more software... when I must already have the tools.. if only I knew how to use them. I did also use the Microsoft Console Disk Management feature to delete the swap and Ubuntu partition... so THANK YOU for the idea. – eastavin Mar 20 '12 at 19:08

The way to "delete" Ubuntu is to delete the partition it's using. That will make the partition available for reformatting and use in another OS.

If you can still run Windows, use its disk manager to delete the Ubuntu partition. You could then format it to use in Windows, or expand an existing partition.

You can also boot the Ubuntu LiveCD and choose the "Try Ubuntu" option. After it loads, find and run gparted and remove the partition.

If Windows and Ubuntu are both gone and you want to reinstall Windows, you can repartition and reformat during the installation.

  • 2
    Since the bootloader doesn't seem to be working, you may also need to restore the MBR (master boot record) after removing Ubuntu. You can usually do that using a Windows install disc, if you have it inserted when you boot up. – Marius May 8 '12 at 1:34

You need to restore the MBR that was overwritten by grub when you installed ubuntu. In the old days, you ran fdisk /MBR on your system disk. The way to do it in Windows XP is to run the "Windows Recovery Console" which can be run from the installation disk or installed to the hard drive and run from there.

The instructions for installing the Recovery Console are here: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=314058

However, since you don't have the CD you'll need to try installing it from what you have already. Open up the run dialogue (win+r, or start->run) and enter this:

%windir%\i386\winnt32.exe /cmdcons

Then you will have to reboot into windows and select the recovery console while it's booting. From there you will need to run FIXMBR which is documented here: http://www.microsoft.com/resources/documentation/windows/xp/all/proddocs/en-us/bootcons_fixmbr.mspx

Once this is done successfully, your computer will boot straight into windows again.

  • Thanks. This was good. I found my Recovery DVDs & Recovery Tools CD. The latter started the Microsoft Recovery Console. It then asked to start miniNT or I386 -so based on your command line I chose I386. I then entered FIXMBR with no options. Then EXIT. Microsoft then prompted to choose System Restore, Destructive Reovery or TURN OFF and I chose OFF. When I powered up again it boot straight into XP & did a CHKDSK. My XP again works as it did before my UBUNTU experiment. THANK YOU. Next time I will install it in Windows XP so I can use the add/remove feature rather than this manual method.@Marco – eastavin Mar 20 '12 at 19:03

If you're into paid software I highly recommend Acronis. Paragon is also good. It has a lot of interesting options. It allows you to do everything you need to in order to do this. The order of operations is:

  1. Get live media that will let you perform all these operations without an OS or MBR backup. See acronis link.
  2. Delete the Ubuntu partitions (probably anything that's not NTFS or FAT32)
  3. Resize your windows partition to fill the disk
  4. Apply changes and possibly reboot depending on which version of which software you have
  5. Run the 'fix boot problems' wizard in Acronis. It's magic.

Alternately, you could use supergrubdisk. Directions on their wiki include screenshots and step by step directions.

  • I had a look at this. Seemed like a great idea but I was looking for something to the job with the commands already available to me via XP or Ubuntu. – eastavin Mar 20 '12 at 18:59

You can go into the Disk Management utility and delete the Ubuntu partition. Right click My Computer, select Manage, Disk Utility. Once you delete the partition, right click My Computer, select Properties and go to the Advanced tab. Go into the Start Up and Recovery, set Windows as the default operating system and set the Time to display the list of operating systems to 0 and click Ok.

  • I follow your advice in the first 2 sentences.However in your 4th sentence you say to set Windows as the default OS... This cannot be the problem that causes UBUNTU to boot first as it is currently set to Windows as being the default OS. there is something else that is overriding this that was installed by Ubuntu 11.10... what could that be? – eastavin Jan 29 '12 at 15:58

If you can boot Ubuntu the Live CD, choose "Try Ubuntu" option. Then try installing it again by choosing manual partitioning, It is the last option in the 'Prepare your disk' step. Reinstall it in the same partition you tried before.

  • First delete the old Ubuntu partition, (you can recognize the old Ubuntu partition by looking at the partition type column, it should have the type as ext4 or ext3)

  • Then create a new partition by clicking 'Add' button. In the new dialog change the "Do not use the partition" with ext4, place a 'tick' mark at 'format' check box, and in the bottom select list, select /, then click OK.

  • Check that, you choose the bootloader install device as /dev/sda (if you are installing on the local hard disk). Then proceed.

  • See if any error message appears. If it completes successfully, it should give you a message with two options - "Keep trying Live CD" and "Restart your Computer to use newly installed system". Restart your laptop.

I think it should work.

  • Why are there so many answers that seem to have nothing to do whatsoever with the question? Has an admin messed up and merged the answers from two unrelated questions? – thomasrutter Aug 11 '16 at 23:31
  • @thomasrutter yes. I was merged. The answer was originally very relevant. And downvoting answer because it's merged is not a logical action – Anwar Aug 12 '16 at 4:50

A simpler method - Burn an rBoot CD and boot from it. When the menu shows up, select your Windows partition.

When Windows loads, in the disk management, right click on the boot partition and apply the boot flag. Restart.

Hopefully, this will work.

If it does, delete the Linux partition from the disk management. You're done.

From Windows 7, install easyBCD.exe (you can find it at www.softpedia.com)

Run it, and select RepairMBR

Then delete some partitions made by Ubuntu's system.

  • 1
    I don't understand why you think the person asking the question has Windows installed. They are asking how to install Windows? – thomasrutter Aug 11 '16 at 23:32

Boot from a live Ubuntu media and wipe the partition table (and MBR) out with dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sdY bs=512 count=1 where Y is the drive. this will be /dev/sda in a single drive system. This command will blast the first sector of the drive full of zeros eliminating the partition table. Install the new OS you want to install as if the drive were new.

Note: you may have to increase the bs (block size) or count factors on a GPT disk. I haven't been able to find exact numbers but changing count to 8 or bs to 4096 should do the trick.

  1. Start with a working live CD/USB of Ubuntu and choose "Try Ubuntu"
  2. Check that it has a working Internet connection
  3. Run GParted and delete all partitions found. Re-run GParted to check that it's ok.
  4. Open terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and type:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install mbr
    sudo install-mbr /dev/sda
    
  5. Reboot and install Windows normally from original installation CD/DVD
  • If you have the Windows installation media, just use that. The Windows installer will let you format the disk, removing Ubuntu. – wjandrea May 3 '17 at 15:31

The most simple solution:

Boot into Windows Installation USB/DVD, go to "Install Windows" step, it will show you that Windows can't be installed on this partition. Press SHIFT+F10, which will bring up the command prompt. Type:

diskpart    
list disk    
select disk 0 (or the disk you want to convert)    
clean    
convert gpt    
exit

After that, click refresh button and you will be able to install Windows 7/8/8.1/10 and Ubuntu partition will be formated.

Video example: Click here

I had deleted the Linux Partition through disk manager and then my computer would keep starting in the Grub terminal. To get rid of that, I had to do the following in an advanced command prompt:

Diskpart
List disk            (Note which disk is your System drive number. Mine was 2)
Sel disk 2
List vol               (Note which volume is the EFI partition mine is 4)
Sel vol 4
assign letter=V:       (or any other unassigned letter)
Exit

Then navigate into that directory:

V:
cd EFI
dir               (to see what is in there. I had neon and ubuntu in the list) 
rmdir /S ubuntu
rmdir /S neon 

And restart! Make note of whatever other directory in there that might be linux related and delete them. I initially didn't know neon was a Linux Flavour (I received my husband's old laptop, I didn't install these) and that caused further headaches as my computer kept restart in the grub terminal.

protected by Community Jul 25 '13 at 14:39

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