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I am currently running an ubuntu/windows7 dual boot. Ubuntu is on a separate partition. there is no SWAP partition. I want to completely remove ubuntu and grub so that I ...
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  1. #1
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    How to install a new distro over ubuntu/grub


    I am currently running an ubuntu/windows7 dual boot. Ubuntu is on a separate partition. there is no SWAP partition. I want to completely remove ubuntu and grub so that I can install another distro of linux in ubuntu's place. The last time that I attempted to uninstall a linux distro, I was told to simply remove the partition in the windows 7 partition manager. This didn't work. My computer would still load grub, and grub would try to boot from the deleted partition and freak out and I would have to hard boot down my computer. What do I need to do to remove Ubuntu and Grub?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Linux User zenwalker's Avatar
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    May I suggest:
    update-grub
    SysRescCD
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  3. #3
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    You don't 'uninstall' operating systems on partitions, you would format the partition you have Ubuntu on which you should be able to do that on whichever Linux distribution you want to replace Ubuntu with (you don't indicate which that might be). The advice you previously used was wrong and is the type of advice I have frequently seen in windows forums. Deleting the partition will still leave a small part of Grub in the master boot record and it will be looking for the other Grub files needed to boot on the partition which you just deleted. If you were planning to just keep windows in that type case, you would first need to use your windows CD/DVD to overwrite the mbr and test boot windows. In your current situation, you should be able to install whichever Linux distribution you want to whichever partition you have Ubuntu on and then select to install its bootloader to the mbr of the first drive.

    You haven't indicated which distribution you might want nor have you given and drive/partition information so there is really no way for anyone to be more specific.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    You don't 'uninstall' operating systems on partitions, you would format the partition you have Ubuntu on which you should be able to do that on whichever Linux distribution you want to replace Ubuntu with (you don't indicate which that might be). The advice you previously used was wrong and is the type of advice I have frequently seen in windows forums. Deleting the partition will still leave a small part of Grub in the master boot record and it will be looking for the other Grub files needed to boot on the partition which you just deleted. If you were planning to just keep windows in that type case, you would first need to use your windows CD/DVD to overwrite the mbr and test boot windows. In your current situation, you should be able to install whichever Linux distribution you want to whichever partition you have Ubuntu on and then select to install its bootloader to the mbr of the first drive.

    You haven't indicated which distribution you might want nor have you given and drive/partition information so there is really no way for anyone to be more specific.
    Ok, let me state what I want a little more clearly. I would like to run Debian instead of Ubuntu. When I boot my computer I would like to have the option to either boot from my windows partition, or from my debian partition. If that means keeping GRUB, that's fine. If not, that's fine too.

    I have a terabyte hard drive. I currently have a 350gig partition allocated to Ubuntu, and the rest of the hard drive is allocated to Windows. I do not have a windows 7 disk. My computer came with windows pre-installed. I do have a built in system recovery partition. I don't have a ton of techincal skills or experience. If you need any other information, please let me know.

    Up until this conversation, I had assumed that the easiest way to set up my computer in the way that I just described was to delete GRUB and Ubuntu, re-partition the hard drive, and install Debian. It sounds as though that may not be the best way to build the setup that I want.

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    Linux User zenwalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by linuxthekid View Post
    Ok, let me state what I want a little more clearly. I would like to run Debian instead of Ubuntu. When I boot my computer I would like to have the option to either boot from my windows partition, or from my debian partition. If that means keeping GRUB, that's fine. If not, that's fine too.
    . . .
    Up until this conversation, I had assumed that the easiest way to set up my computer in the way that I just described was to delete GRUB and Ubuntu, re-partition the hard drive, and install Debian. It sounds as though that may not be the best way to build the setup that I want.
    You are correct in the latter -- yancek has given best advice.
    IMO, don't start install until a Win7 Boot Disk is either made or bought. Neosmart.net used to offer such, but it has been a while since I checked.
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    If you simply want to replace Ubuntu with Debian, there would be no need to delete the partition on which Ubuntu currently resides.
    You would do the Debian install to that same partition.
    You would install the Debian Grub bootloader to the master boot record. Almost always, Grub would detect the windows installation and create a menuentry for it so that you could select windows or Debian on boot. Since Debian is free software, there is no guarantee this will work in all cases.

    With regard to windows, the recovery partition is used to set to factory defaults. If you created a 'Recovery Disk' when you first got the computer, you would be able to access that partition with it. The recovery disks AFAIK do not have the necessary files to repair and restore the mbr. The installation CD/DVD does. If you purchased the computer pre-installed, you usually have an option to get an Installation CD/DVD for an extra cost, usually $15-$25. Depends on the manufacturer and it probably needs to be within the warranty period (usually 1 year?). The link posted above to 'neosmart' used to have a free download which included the files/programs necessary to repair different windows bootloaders. Not free anymore.

    If you have important data on your windows partition, you should back it up. This is always a good idea when you are doing installations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yancek View Post
    If you simply want to replace Ubuntu with Debian, there would be no need to delete the partition on which Ubuntu currently resides.
    You would do the Debian install to that same partition.
    You would install the Debian Grub bootloader to the master boot record. Almost always, Grub would detect the windows installation and create a menuentry for it so that you could select windows or Debian on boot. Since Debian is free software, there is no guarantee this will work in all cases.

    With regard to windows, the recovery partition is used to set to factory defaults. If you created a 'Recovery Disk' when you first got the computer, you would be able to access that partition with it. The recovery disks AFAIK do not have the necessary files to repair and restore the mbr. The installation CD/DVD does. If you purchased the computer pre-installed, you usually have an option to get an Installation CD/DVD for an extra cost, usually $15-$25. Depends on the manufacturer and it probably needs to be within the warranty period (usually 1 year?). The link posted above to 'neosmart' used to have a free download which included the files/programs necessary to repair different windows bootloaders. Not free anymore.

    If you have important data on your windows partition, you should back it up. This is always a good idea when you are doing installations.
    Where can I find information regarding how to add Debian to the master boot record. Also, if I can not get ahold of a Windows 7 cd, would I need to reset my computer to factory conditions and re-partition the hard drive from scratch?

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    The best place to get info on installing Debian is at the debian web site, link below. Installing grub to the master boot record will be the default and you should not need to make changes. If you want to get right to it, go to Section 6 at the web site below:

    Debian GNU/Linux Installation Guide

    You would only need a windows installation CD if the Debian install doesn't detect it and put an entry in the boot menu. If you set to factory defaults, it will remove any changes you have made and will be exactly as it was when it was new. Any data on the system partition will probably be lost. If you get the windows CD, you would boot it up and select the Repair option to restore the windows bootloader. There is no reason to reset to factory defaults. This would only be necessary if Debian doesn't detect windows.

    If you want to start all over from scratch, you would install windows first. I would suggest you read the info at the link above and try installing Debian and using its bootloader. You would have to do it anyway as windows bootloader isn't going to detect Debian and you would have to manually configure it which is a lot more difficult than it is with Grub.

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