Ubuntu deleted my Windows partition!

I installed Ubuntu (a Linux distro) on my Vaio a few months back and loved it. It was fast, it was stable and I felt I was achieving a certain amount of geeky street cred for using it!

Then, more recently there was a new version of Ubuntu released – 7.10. I upgraded to 7.10 and found the experience even better. I booted into the Vista partition on the Vaio less and less.

However, the other day when I booted into Ubuntu my graphics settings were messed up. I couldn’t get the screen to display at full resolution. I eventually decided to re-install Ubuntu.

However, I was unaware that the installer for 7.10 doesn’t seem to recognise Windows partitions the way the previous installer did and sure enough when I re-booted the Vaio after the install my Windows partition was gone 😦

It is not too bad, the only thing I have lost afair is the time it will take to re-install Vista and all the apps I had on the Windows partition. Still, this has put a severe dent in my confidence in Ubuntu.

21 thoughts on “Ubuntu deleted my Windows partition!”

  1. I love the way you title your posts when something “happens” to you. Should you not call the post “I deleted my Windows partition” rather than “Ubuntu deleted my Windows parition”? I suppose it’s always someone else’s fault..

  2. I’d say an easily deleted partition definitely is Ubuntu’s fault, not Tom’s. Especially when Ubuntu is meant to be the peoples Linux.

    Doubly so considering Tom isn’t a layman, if a chap like Tom can miss the warning then my mom, uncle, grandma and sister all definitely will.

  3. Despite all the efforts of Ubuntu and others, desktop Linux still is not ready for the general populace. Try getting most wireless adapters working for example.

    Installing two OSes on one Hard Drive should only be attempted if you know what you are doing.

    Are you sure the partition is actually deleted Tom or did Ubuntu just remove its own bootloader? Should be easy enough to fix.

    At least Microsoft didn’t ruin Thanksgiving 😉

  4. Good point Conor, just the boot record might have been wiped.

    As for Ubuntu and wireless it worked first time with my old Dell. Haven’t tried it in Bootcamp on a Mac yet though.

  5. Cormac, you are probably right but as Paul pointed out, it was worryingly easy for this to happen. Far easier in the 7.1 installer than in the 7.04 installer for some strange reason. Maybe they realised people don’t like Vista 😉

    Thanks Paul

    Conor, nope the partition is gone alright unfortunately. I did check that.

    I have been running machines with two OSes for quite several years now and this is the first time this has happened to me. Still, no biggie, no data was lost, only time.

  6. Tom, you’re missing the point. The problem is not that Ubuntu deleted your Vista partition, but rather that Vista allowed itself to be deleted, which is exactly why you should use OS X.

    Now you see why my logic is undeniable, and why millions say, “OMG, U R SUPR SMART! K, BAI!”

  7. I am a long-term Linux user (Redhat and Fedora), and I always advice my friends who want to try Linux *not* to use a duel boot, but instead if they have an old PC lying around for example, install Linux on that as a dedicated box. Duel boot systems can be very problematic (as sadly you have just found out!), and in my humble opinion should be avoided at all costs.

  8. Sounds like the boot section was just changed. Easy enough to recover. The partition editor in Ubuntu is one of the most intuitive I have ever seen. You probably just let ubuntu do all the work instead of manually choosing which partition to install ubuntu to.

    Have any Microsoft Operating systems ever done any differently to what Ubuntu is doing now? Nope. At least Ubuntu does actually scan for other OS’s.

    Its the not tool, it is the person using it who is to blame.

  9. James – Don’t worry, I have gone back to the Mac as my primary machine since Leopard.

    Jonathan, the 7.04 installer detected the Windows install previously and installed correctly leaving the Windows partition untouched.

    This time, however, the 7.10 installer didn’t see the Windows partition and unfortunately deleted it (no, it wasn’t just the boot section which was changed).

    Sure I am partly to blame, I am not denying that. The trouble is, as Paul correctly pointed out, I am reasonably technically savvy. What hope would a non-techie have avoiding this issue (remember this wasn’t an issue with 7.04, the partition editor there worked like a charm).

  10. I agree with John, Dual booting isn’t for the armatures (tom!), and Ubuntu was intended to be the sole operating system on a box, pre-installed by the manufacturer, not you granny ! What would have done if i wanted to experiment with a new OS, would be to install it on a second hard disk and change the boot sequence each time i wanted to boot one or the other, most notebooks now take a second hard disk either internally or in the place of a removable cd rom. However the easiest solution would have been to virtualise your second OS with virtual pc or vmware or something like that.

  11. Tom, I see you’ve tried the new bloatware/malware scanner in Ubuntu, glad it worked so effectively for you.

    I also had ‘Windows Vista’ (security notice W32/vista.os.bloat) affect some of my machines, although very isolated incidents, unlike the issues we had with ‘Windows XP’ (security notice W32/XP.worm.g!f9007a93).

    It looks like, for the time being, the ‘Microsoft’ hacker group are not able to keep track with recent trends in security and anti-bloatware. I hope they might stop their hacker crusade against the world, one which has already cost business almost a trillion dollars (and I am talking 2004 dollars!) in additional IT costs due to worms.

  12. I installed 7.04 from the Live CD, and did the unthinkable – attempted to install on an external USB hard disk. Only problem was that I didn’t first unplug my internal striped SATA disks (where my Windows XP partition lives) or put them in another room 🙂
    During the installation, I *swear* I selected the external disk for the install location of GRUB.

    Upon reboot, my motherboard failed to recognize one of my internal disks during POST! Bizarre and very worrying. In desperation, I switched my disks from RAID to IDE in the BIOS, and hey presto, they were detected again!

    When I switched back to RAID the disks seemed to be working again, but GRUB gave me an Error 2 at stage 1.5. I subsequently found out that Error 2 means, “you will be trying to fix this for the rest of your natural life”. I think it actually means device not found, so off I went with my Super GRUB CD, and attempt to boot using that, then using the GRUB command line. No joy.

    So I re-booted from XP CD, went to Recovery Console and ran fixboot.
    Everything’s working again – I’m a lucky man.

    I have to vehemently disagree with previous posts along the line of “it’s not the tool, it’s the user”. If Linux is aiming at a consumer market it absolutely needs to be more friendly. When things go wrong, you can’t seriously expect your average user to be worrying if they’ve got the right version of gcc!

    I also disagree for the simple reason that the installer has no doubt had tens if not hundreds of bugs raised on it during development, so it can quite easily be the tool and not the user.

  13. Well i have been working in linux for years,
    I have tried dual booting on old cryptic distros like slackware and it worked, but few weeks ago, when i tried to install ubuntu 7 dual boot with windows XP, it was about to wipe my windows XP partition.
    Something is really wrong with UBUNTU 7 install, you just can’t select what partition to install on!

  14. OK so I’m an idiot. I installed Ubuntu thinking it’s cool, whatever, but clearly I’m just a big n00b because it deleted my Windows XP and my recovery partition so I can’t even get Windows back 😦 I wasn’t smart enough to backup anything before installing Ubuntu because I made the stupid assumption that when booting it would just ask whether I wanted to start which OS w/o looking into it :(. The wireless doesn’t work on my laptop so now I’m stuck with nothing. Is there anyway to recover my PC back to XP?

  15. JO Villaverde
    17/3/2008 at 10:23 am

    OK so I’m an idiot. I installed Ubuntu thinking it’s cool, whatever, but clearly I’m just a big n00b because it deleted my Windows XP and my recovery partition so I can’t even get Windows back 😦 I wasn’t smart enough to backup anything before installing Ubuntu because I made the stupid assumption that when booting it would just ask whether I wanted to start which OS w/o looking into it :(. The wireless doesn’t work on my laptop so now I’m stuck with nothing. Is there anyway to recover my PC back to XP?

    I did the same exact thing. And I’m wondering the same exact thing. Someone please help. Everyone is pissed at me because I “broke” their computer.

  16. I’m in the same boat! Installed ubuntu and didn’t pay enough attention when it gave the message about partitions. It didn’t see my Windows XP and now it’s gone. Wish it was easy to just reinstall Windows XP, but I’m gonna lose a LOT of needed files in the process.

  17. Happened to me too… Ubuntu 7 didn’t see the Windows partition (I had a C: and D:) and installed itself on the whole disk, hence deleting all my beloved data on D: 😦

    I heard Testdisk could help. But it’s already painful…

  18. For those who had lost data, EASEUS Data Recovery Software might help in cases where the partition is deleted. I had deleted my partitions twice, and I have been able to recover completely my files with this tool.

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