So I was previously dual booting to Windows 10 and Ubuntu 14.04, both running on separate disks. However, Windows decided it wanted my entire computer recently and in process made it impossible to boot to either OS.

It all began while restarting my computer to change operating systems from Linux to Windows 10 at which time Windows detected some issues with the hard disk and started repairing them. After several hours I noticed that neither OS worked anymore. The GRUB menu no longer appears and only a black screen loads. I get the same result when I remove the disk that is running Linux, so the computer appears to be trying to load Windows 10.

I booted the computer using a Linux boot disk and most of my data appears to exist on both disks. The only thing I noticed is that my Ubuntu disk is missing a huge chunk of disk space. Paced on previous readings, I believe this disk space may have been where the OS was previously stored.

Repair Attempts

  • Using gparted I tried reallocating the disk space that was deallocated by Windows using the "unformatted" format option in hopes that something would still exist there. After doing so I ran "Attempt Data Rescue" and nothing useful was found.
  • I used boot repair to try to fix the MBR, but this did not work either. If interested, the output of this operation is available here.

So, what should I do from here? I assume Ubuntu is no longer installed and I need to reinstall it on the partition that was unallocated by Windows. If so, does anybody have any tips so I don't loose any data?

Image of gparted

enter image description here


I tried following the instructions at the site you mentioned by markkirby, but it seems nothing was actually copied over to the HD. I made the partition ext2 and set the mount point as / without formatting the partition. Gparted is reporting the partition as ext2, but it says the partition is empty and it still can't boot. Looks like my last option is to format the partition and risk loosing whatever data was on the partition that also stored the OS.

  • Can you give a screen shot of gparted on a live usb ? Would really help to see if you Ubuntu is installed or not. Don't ever let Windows repair anything, it thinks it is the only OS in the world and messes with everything. You can reinstall Ubuntu and save your home folder, see askubuntu.com/questions/269880/…
    – Mark Kirby
    Dec 4, 2015 at 14:09
  • @markkirby Trust me, I know. I was afraid something like this would happen, but by the time I noticed it was running the disk repair I was afraid stopping it would cause damage regardless. Anyways, I updated my post to include a link to the gparted image.
    – c1moore
    Dec 4, 2015 at 16:12
  • @c1moore - this is trap and risk of dual-boot - I remember I had this too at all versions of windows until windows 7 too. And this made me to rethink the option never to use Windows seriously at full extent, because it never worked and I used Windows never to full extent since year 2000. Better new installation and try to live without Windows, the less hotter the machine gets then. Otherwise it would melt the hardware. - you may believe this to me ... Dec 4, 2015 at 17:17

1 Answer 1


You can try the following.

1) Boot your computer from the USB stick and copy files important to you to the external HDD.

2) If you see that access to your files is denied when you boot from USB or CD (it often happens), take your HDD to any HDD enclosure and copy files important to you to another computer.

3) If you want to copy anything from ext4 partitions, another computer should run Linux. There are also some tools to read ext4 partitions from Windows 8x, you can use them if you are comfortable with them.

4) Install Windows 8.1 (not 10!!!) first. Don't accept any options to upgrade to Windows 10 since this system has some unpredictable behaviors. Choose clean installation and erase this HDD completely. Don't try to keep your old OS and data, it will just create a mess. If you don't want dual boot anymore, skip this step.

5) Install Ubuntu to any separate physical HDD. Choose clean installation and erase this HDD completely. Don't try to keep your old OS and data, it will just create a mess.

6) Run sudo update-grub in the terminal if you have installed Windows and want your dual boot back.

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