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SargeMaximus
3rd October 2017, 07:26 PM
Hey guys. Hope you're all doing well.

So I installed Fedora on my laptop about a year ago. I'm finding it too complicated to work with and would like to go back to windows.

I installed fedora using a Bootable USB. My laptop was a windows 10.

If it makes any difference, not all of my hard drive is being used by fedora, but I don't know how to access the rest of it.

So any tips on how to return to windows would be appreciated. Thanks guys!

flyingdutchman
3rd October 2017, 07:31 PM
Basically, you got to write zeros over the first part of the disk, then the Windows installer will think it is a new disk and install without issues.

First backup your data.

Something like this will do it:
# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M count=10

SargeMaximus
3rd October 2017, 07:38 PM
Basically, you got to write zeros over the first part of the disk, then the Windows installer will think it is a new disk and install without issues.

First backup your data.

Something like this will do it:
# dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M count=10

Data is backed up.

Now, forgive me for being a noob, but where do I put that code? You said "Write zeros over the first part of the disk" I have no idea what you mean.


- Which disk?
- Where do I write it?
- What does writing it do?

lsatenstein
4th October 2017, 01:34 AM
If you are in the Montreal area or in the EST timezone we can talk by phone. I can walk you through the restore of w10 or help you with Fedora

SargeMaximus
4th October 2017, 02:19 AM
If you are in the Montreal area or in the EST timezone we can talk by phone. I can walk you through the restore of w10 or help you with Fedora

Hey man, I appreciate that, thank you.

Unfortunately I live in Alberta. :)

Do you have a tutorial perhaps I could read?

flyingdutchman
4th October 2017, 04:00 AM
You can boot off your Linux install media, open a command line terminal and type:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M count=10

Then reboot with the Windows install media


Come to think about it, you should even be able to run dd right from your already running Linux system - dd is very good at destroying disks - and your data is already backed up. Just open a terminal, su to root and run dd. After a little bit, your system will then crash, which is fine.

SargeMaximus
4th October 2017, 04:07 AM
You can boot off your Linux install media, open a command line terminal and type:

dd if=/dev/zero of=/dev/sda bs=1M count=10

Then reboot with the Windows install media


Come to think about it, you should even be able to run dd right from your already running Linux system - dd is very good at destroying disks - and your data is already backed up. Just open a terminal, su to root and run dd. After a little bit, your system will then crash, which is fine.

So, to make sure I understand you correctly:

You're saying that if I open a terminal and copy and paste the dd code line you entered, it will erase the hard disk?

Then what? The computer will just re-install windows on it's own?

I should mention I don't have a disk drive. So how can I reinstall the operating system?

flyingdutchman
4th October 2017, 04:16 AM
Pardon, I missed the part about 'not having a disk drive'. Since the machine had Win10 on it before, it does have a disk drive of sorts, though it could be a solid state 'disk drive'. In Linux, it will show up as /dev/sda.

It sounds like you are still rather inexperienced, so I guess that you also don't have Windows 10 install media.

In that case, you either need to buy it, or you need to subscribe to the Windows Insider Program and become a registered Windows Beta Tester. You can then get a free copy of the latest Windows - In return for filing some bug reports - a good deal really.

Once you downloaded the Windows ISO file, then you need to copy it to a USB memory stick, so that you can install the system from scratch using that.

I think you should phone Leslie, as suggested above. At least you are both in Canada, so it is only 2 hours time difference. I am on the other side of the globe.

---

As for the low level stuff:

Data Definition (dd) is also known as Disk Destroyer, since it is so easy to accidentally blow your system away with it.

Open a terminal, become root with su, run dd.

Actually, you can destroy your system with the friendly little kitty cat also:

cat /dev/zero > /dev/sda

After a little while, the system will crash, since you are literally blowing the disk away underneath the running system, at which point you can reboot with the Windows media.

You can experiment with it and have some fun, since you have nothing to lose!

bbfuller
4th October 2017, 08:47 AM
I assume that the Microsoft licence is world wide, but over here certainly, if you have had Windows 10 legally on a machine then you can download Windows 10 from the Microsoft site at any time in the life of Windows and that machine and reinstall.

Look for windows 10 download on your favourite search engine and go to the Microsoft site.

You'll get two options. One is to download and install direct from the internet onto the machine you are using. The other is to make a bootable USB stick for use on another machine. You'll have to know which version of Windows you had - Home or Business - and 32 or 64 bit.

I'm pretty sure though that both methods involve starting from a machine running Windows so maybe a friend could help with a download to USB.

You say in your first post that "not all of my hard drive is being used by fedora".

It might be instructive to post back the partition layout just in case Windows is still lurking on that disk.

If it's not, you might have to repartition before you start reinstalling. Windows sometimes doesn't like disks that have been partitioned with Linux file systems and you might find that it either refuses to install, or depending on what partitions you have only uses part of your disk.

lsatenstein
4th October 2017, 03:58 PM
Hey man, I appreciate that, thank you.

Unfortunately I live in Alberta. :)

Do you have a tutorial perhaps I could read?

NO problem, I have nationwide calling.
Click on my name to open up the internal email and send me a phone number and a contact time. Yes, I have some great "fun" primers. And if you continue with Fedora, you can always reach me.

SargeMaximus
4th October 2017, 04:42 PM
I assume that the Microsoft licence is world wide, but over here certainly, if you have had Windows 10 legally on a machine then you can download Windows 10 from the Microsoft site at any time in the life of Windows and that machine and reinstall.

Look for windows 10 download on your favourite search engine and go to the Microsoft site.

You'll get two options. One is to download and install direct from the internet onto the machine you are using. The other is to make a bootable USB stick for use on another machine. You'll have to know which version of Windows you had - Home or Business - and 32 or 64 bit.

I'm not sure which version it is (Home or Business, NOR if it's 32 or 64 Bit)



I'm pretty sure though that both methods involve starting from a machine running Windows so maybe a friend could help with a download to USB.

You say in your first post that "not all of my hard drive is being used by fedora".

It might be instructive to post back the partition layout just in case Windows is still lurking on that disk.

How about some screen caps?

https://s19.postimg.org/4spx2mdqn/Screenshot_from_2017-10-04_10-35-39.png (https://postimg.org/image/4spx2mdqn/)

https://s19.postimg.org/xicsz9x67/Screenshot_from_2017-10-04_10-35-47.png (https://postimg.org/image/xicsz9x67/)

https://s19.postimg.org/5i8pezlzz/Screenshot_from_2017-10-04_10-35-51.png (https://postimg.org/image/5i8pezlzz/)




If it's not, you might have to repartition before you start reinstalling. Windows sometimes doesn't like disks that have been partitioned with Linux file systems and you might find that it either refuses to install, or depending on what partitions you have only uses part of your disk.

Is there any way to simply access the windows partition? It says "Not Mounted". Can I mount it?

User808
4th October 2017, 04:56 PM
Hey guys. Hope you're all doing well.

So I installed Fedora on my laptop about a year ago. I'm finding it too complicated to work with and would like to go back to windows.

I installed fedora using a Bootable USB. My laptop was a windows 10.

If it makes any difference, not all of my hard drive is being used by fedora, but I don't know how to access the rest of it.

So any tips on how to return to windows would be appreciated. Thanks guys!

Hi. Why you do not try openSUSE Linux ? Certainly you are better than my wife in PC. I installed openSUSE on my wife laptop & zhe did not complain from any thing because, simply, do not need to use terminal.

openSUSE is the only distro that you can with it avoid using of terminal. It has GUI admin tool called YaSet which enable you to do every thing that usually done by terminal on other distro.

It is very stable (more than Debian itself!).

It's packages litle bit older than that of Fedora.

I you like to try it, use leap version.

bbfuller
4th October 2017, 08:40 PM
Hello SargeMaximus

I'd agree with User808 in one respect and that is that you chose one of the more beginner unfriendly versions of Linux to experiment with. There are distributions that try more to mimic the Windows style and which have things included that Fedora leaves out for various (completely logical) reasons.

That is beside the point however if you really want to be done with Linux and return to Windows.

Firstly, I've just displayed the partition table on this laptop with Fedora and Windows installed and although it's different in detail it's not that far removed from your screenshots.

I would still favour downloading windows and reinstalling from scratch. If you get the wrong version and it won't activate then start again with the other version. You've only got the two likely alternatives really, Home and Pro. (I thought it was called Business).

However, your partition layout looks as if Windows is still on your hard disk. The partitions will be described as "unmounted" because they are not in use at the time you did the screenshot. Just mounting them wouldn't make Windows bootable.

On this machine, with both Fedora and Windows installed, I get a menu at boot time allowing me to choose between them. If you are installing on a machine with Windows already in place you have to work hard not to get that.

I've never had to do it so I'm not going to try and tell you how, but there are lots of threads on this forum about reinstalling the Grub2 boot loader and if you do that it should recognise your Windows installation and give you a choice at boot time. Do make sure though that the time delay before Grub boots one operating system or the other is not set to 0 seconds and that it is set to install itself on /dev/sda, not one of the partitions.

An alternative might be to get the memory stick install version of Windows and try reinstalling the Windows boot loader from there. Google will have lots of tutorials for that.

Finally, don't rush into this. Wait until a few wiser heads than mine have looked at this thread and had the opportunity to tell us I've got it wrong.

Good Luck

SargeMaximus
4th October 2017, 10:11 PM
Hello SargeMaximus

Hello, thanks for stopping by. :)




On this machine, with both Fedora and Windows installed, I get a menu at boot time allowing me to choose between them. If you are installing on a machine with Windows already in place you have to work hard not to get that.


I do too, but when I click on windows, this screen came up:

https://s19.postimg.org/tdov9r5cv/IMG_20171004_150158268.jpg (https://postimg.org/image/tdov9r5cv/)

I'm going to look into re-installing windows. I think it must be home edition, don't know why it would be pro.

Anyone who has suggestions on how to do that I'd appreciate it. In the meantime, I'll look for more answers online.

Thanks to you guys, I know I should make a bootable USB for windows, so I'll start there.

satanselbow
4th October 2017, 10:45 PM
Just a thought... and you are more than welcome to tell me to shut up... BUT...

It looks (from your screen shots) that the RECOVERY partition is still intact - which would return your machine to a "factory new" state.

If you start / restart your machine do you get a message telling you to press a key to enter recovery? frequently the F4 key.

May I also suggest that you DO create a Windows USB - and test it to at least past the initial boot - before attempting any inbuilt recovery actions.

As long as you use the same version edition of W10 with the same user credentials on the same hardware you should have no problems with windows activation. The W10 ISO you download should be version 1703 - earlier versions will just cause a shed-load of post install updates.

Good luck - and sorry you found Fedora is not for you ;)

bbfuller
4th October 2017, 11:55 PM
Hello SargeMaximus

Well, that screenshot indicates a completely different sort of problem than we've been assuming.

The problem lies with the Windows bootloader and not Linux.

Looks like your best bet is the bootable USB. That contains a repair option. If memory serves me rightly, that will offer you the option of restoring Windows from an image, which is probably the recovery partition, or trying to "Fix problems that stopped windows starting correctly".

If either manages to fix the boot problem you'll probably be left with the Linux partitions on the disk but that's another problem, or they could be ignored.

If you fix the booting problem within Windows I doubt you'll retain the ability to boot Linux.

I'd be interested to hear how you end up fixing this just to add to my knowledge base.

SargeMaximus
5th October 2017, 08:14 PM
Hello SargeMaximus

Well, that screenshot indicates a completely different sort of problem than we've been assuming.

The problem lies with the Windows bootloader and not Linux.

Looks like your best bet is the bootable USB. That contains a repair option. If memory serves me rightly, that will offer you the option of restoring Windows from an image, which is probably the recovery partition, or trying to "Fix problems that stopped windows starting correctly".

If either manages to fix the boot problem you'll probably be left with the Linux partitions on the disk but that's another problem, or they could be ignored.

If you fix the booting problem within Windows I doubt you'll retain the ability to boot Linux.

I'd be interested to hear how you end up fixing this just to add to my knowledge base.

Hey bbfuller.

I guess my problem isn't common then eh? It's odd. But ok.

I'll try the bootable USB.

One question however: is there a way to find out if my windows is 64 or 32 bit?

bbfuller
5th October 2017, 10:53 PM
You would need to see what is actually laid down in the Windows partition.

Most Linux LiveCD's will allow you to mount a Windows partition and look at what's on there. If you've got any data not backed up on the disk it would enable you to recover it as well.

I personally prefer using Partition Magic for that but most CD's will do it.

If you have a 64 bit version of Windows (most likely unless the machine is quite old) you'll see two folders:

C:\program files
C:\program files (x86)

If you have a 32 bit version of Windows you'll just have:

C:\program files

There may be other ways to tell, but that's the way I use.

In answer to your other question, the bootloader of either Linux or Windows can get corrupted, but it doesn't happen that often. On Linux forums you usually see the question of restoring the Linux bootloader so that you get the Linux boot menu. I don't recall ever seeing a case where the Linux bootloader starts to load Windows and then Windows fails to load. I think if this were my machine I'd be looking at the repair options on the Windows memory stick. After all, the situation can't be much worse if it fails. You'll still have to reinstall. If you can get Windows and Linux back, you might consider using a more Windows like desktop environment. A lot of us do. If you look at it as a learning experience there's a lot to be said for it.

lsatenstein
6th October 2017, 03:02 PM
Hi. Why you do not try openSUSE Linux ? Certainly you are better than my wife in PC. I installed openSUSE on my wife laptop & zhe did not complain from any thing because, simply, do not need to use terminal.

openSUSE is the only distro that you can with it avoid using of terminal. It has GUI admin tool called YaSet which enable you to do every thing that usually done by terminal on other distro.

It is very stable (more than Debian itself!).

It's packages litle bit older than that of Fedora.

I you like to try it, use leap version.

With Fedora, you do not need to open the terminal. The software dnfdragora is a graphical interface for updating the system. Everything else for an end-user (standard/non admin) can be done from the graphical interfaces provided.

SargeMaximus
10th November 2017, 05:12 PM
Hey guys, thank you all for the replies and advice!

I did end up getting it working. Here's the topic where you can see the solution for anyone who has the same issue: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/662126/i-want-to-re-install-windows-10-on-my-fedoralinux-laptop/

Thanks again for all your support! :)