I used to have Windows XP on my laptop but switched over to the latest Ubuntu version. Unfortunately, there are programs that I would like to use on the Windows side, but cannot because I have no access to it anymore.

  • What is the way to reinstall Windows as a partition so that I can dual boot?
  • Is the Windows XP install CD and product key the only thing that I need to install Windows XP again?

I don't have a Windows recovery CD :(

Any help would be grateful. Thanks!

  • 1
    Depending on your software, and if you need to share data between Ubuntu and Windows, or if you like to run applications at the same time you may want to consider installing XP in a virtual machine on your Ubuntu host. – Takkat Mar 30 '11 at 6:42
  • 1
    you could also search for floss alternatives for those apps and if that doesn't cut it use wine or playonlinux. – Lincity Mar 30 '11 at 12:33
up vote 1 down vote accepted

This has been well documented on the web with many tutorials. It will take as long as it takes to install windows and ubuntu. Which will be about 3 hours. If you want to recover that data on your previous install, that is a different problem.

You might already have the option to boot into windows. Check if these instructions on how Grub the application that loads the different operating system works. It may help you to just display the option to load the system you want windows or Ubuntu at start up.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2#Boot Display Behavior

official Ubuntu documentation.


Here is a video going through the steps


If you want to install windows after Ubuntu. You will need to reinstall grub. Windows automatically over writes the MBR, portion of you hard drives partitions and breaks your ability to boot into Ubuntu. These instructions will explain how to fix your boot loader by reinstalling grub.

https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Grub2#Reinstalling GRUB 2

You will still need to create space for your windows installation. Assuming that you install Ubuntu on to your disk with one partition covering the whole disk.If you need to shrink a partition, you need to boot up on a live disk and open gparted. It gives you the option to resize a partition but you can not do this on a mounted or disk. Which is why you need to boot up into a live disk. Here are screen shot of how to do that.


I recommend understanding how partitioning works specifically the MBR or master boot record. You need to understand the limitations such as you can only have 4 primary partitions. An extended partition need to occupy the entire remaining disk space if you want to have more then 4 primary partitions.


  • I was looking to install Windows after I have Ubuntu on my laptop, so it is sorta opposite to what you're suggesting. However, the official Ubuntu doc does say to have Windows first and then install Ubuntu. My question would be .. is that necessary? – O_O Mar 31 '11 at 1:37
  • @o-o You can still do that. Though you will need to fix the boot loader. I have edit instructions on how to do that. I have done this multiple times. – nelaaro Mar 31 '11 at 6:23
  • @o-o and to answere you other question yes, you only need an xp install disk and product key to install xp again. Those recovery disk provided by manufactures are there to set up the system with all the software that they think you need. Those disk will include most of the drivers that you need. But you can download them from the manufacturer web sites eg acer or from your individual component manufacturer web site eg nvidia – nelaaro Mar 31 '11 at 6:27

Hope this helps. You need to create a partition (if it is not already there) using NTFS, for this you may install GPARTED on Ubuntu, resize your Ubuntu partition to leave some space for your new Windows installation.

You'll need the Windows XP Install Media, if you don't have it you may download it, you just have to be sure you get the right version (Profesional edition, mediacenter,...), may have acces to an installation CD from a frind, the important part is the PRODUCT KEY requested during the installation process.

Once you reinstall Windows you will probably have to rebuild GRUB so it populates the right OS to boot from.

Hi am going to give you the best answer i got in the last 24hours as per 8/07/2017. I assume you haven't partitioned your Hard drive.

1.First you need to install Gparted software, you can do this from the terminal
sudo apt-get install gparted

  1. You will need either Ubuntu Live CD, but assuming you don't have this. You can still download an application software called Boot Repair. This software have saved me in cases, and i would recommend you having it. The idea is its impossible to partition your hard drive while using it thats why we are going for an external booting way. Boot repair will be downloaded as an ISO file. Burn its content to a digital versatile disk/DVD

3.You will need to reboot your personal computer and depending on it you will have to choose boot from CD/DVD. So place your Boot repair disk there. Choose your language then press Enter to proceed.

  1. Click Icon B then go for system tools, Then open Gparted Application. Select the hard drive, right click then select unmount. You can partition the hard drive now, Or you can resize. Then you will see Unallocated, Right click on it then you can formart it into various ways For Windows OS select NTFS. If you want it to be just a storage location supported for all system select FAT32.

  2. Then click the Edit tab then select Apply all operations

If you come to realize you have made a mistake or you want to undo this you can still use Boot repair Disk to undo this. Now a problem always occurs after partitioning and installing windows after Ubuntu, there is no problem in vise versa. Booting ubuntu OS will not appear so on the windows OS you will have to download "easy-BCD software install it and use it to add you Ubuntu in Booting startup

If you decide to again remove windows from the partion, you will still use the Boot repair disk to repair Grub

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