Uninstalling Ubuntu

Alexander Duncan sethian at sympatico.ca
Tue Dec 12 23:40:08 UTC 2006

Thanks to the Ubuntu mailing list and to all those who responded 
individually regarding my request for clarification of various points 
respecting the removal of the Ubuntu OS as a secondary partition on my 
Windows XP OS. As a result of these responses and independent Internet 
research I have been able to construct an explicit and complete 
procedure for uninstalling Ubuntu and restoring one's OS to its original 
state. Nothing I found on the Internet explicitly documented every 
aspect of this procedure. The Ubuntu web site does not include any 
reference to an uninstall procedure, nor does the installation wizard 
include an uninstall option. As a result, I am copying the following 
procedure to the Ubuntu mail list so that others who contact the list 
with the same problem I had can benefit from my research.

Ubuntu Uninstall Instructions

The Ubuntu installation wizard makes installing Ubuntu as a secondary 
partition on a Windows system extremely easy. However, the wizard does 
not offer an uninstall option nor does the Ubuntu web site provide 
uninstall instructions. Consequently, unless you are a Windows OS 
expert, if you install Ubuntu you are likely to be trapped unless you 
are willing to backup your OS and reinstall the Windows OS from scratch 
(unlike the Macintosh, which allows one to reinstall the OS without 
deleting preferences or files and which makes partitioning easy).

With great difficulty I found several incomplete instructions on 
uninstalling Ubuntu on the Internet. Rather surprisingly, the Ubuntu web 
site does not offer this information. The Ubuntu mail list was very 
helpful, however. By collating all these sources I was able to uninstall 
Ubuntu, and thus create an explicit description of the correct 
procedure. This cost me many hours of work. Since it would be a shame to 
waste all this effort, I offer it to you, through the Ubuntu mail list.

The following instructions were developed for Windows XP Home Edition. 
Other Windows OSs may vary somewhat.

To remove Ubuntu and restore your Windows OS to its original state 
System Restore will not work. You must complete three separate 
procedures in the following order:

   1. Restore your Master Boot Record (MBR)
   2. Delete the partition
   3. Resize your Windows partition back to its original size

To complete the following instructions you will require two CDs:

    * Windows Setup CD
    * GParted Live CD. This is the partition management tool I used to
      create these instructions. There are other partition management
      tools available that should also work, but of course the
      instructions will be somewhat different. Instructions for burning
      a copy of the GParted Live CD may be found on the Internet at

To restore your MBR:

   1. Insert the Windows Setup CD into the CD or DVD tray on your computer.
   2. Restart your computer.
   3. Hit Enter to reboot from the Windows CD when prompted to do so.
   4. Type “R” and hit Enter in Windows Setup to enter the Recovery
      Console. The Recovery Console will appear and list the Windows OSs
      on your machine.
   5. Select the number corresponding to the Windows installation you
      wish to boot into. For most people this will be a “1”. (In some
      versions of the Recovery Console the installations will be
      numbered. In others, you will have to deduce the installation
      number from the order of priority in the list.)
   6. Windows will prompt you for an Administrator password. Try your
      Administrator password or, if your Administrator password does not
      work, hit Enter.
   7. At the Windows prompt, type “fixmbr”.
   8. Type “exit” to restart the computer.

Your computer should restart using the Windows installation you selected.

To delete the Ubuntu partition:

There are several ways you can delete a partition, including Computer 
Management (Local) and Command Prompt from within Windows itself (for 
more information type “delete partition” in Help and Support in the 
Start menu). However, since you will be using the GParted LiveCD anyway, 
the following instructions will instruct you in the correct procedure 
using the GParted LiveCD. You can go straight from deleting the Ubuntu 
partition to resizing the Windows partition. If you have not already 
burned a copy of the GParted LiveCD, do so now before continuing below.

   9. Insert the GParted LiveCD in the CD or DVD tray on your PC.
  10. To accept the default boot options hit Enter.
  11. To accept US English language hit Enter.
  12. To accept the default keymap hit Enter.
  13. To accept the default screen depth hit Enter.
  14. Click on the Ubuntu partition in the graphical display.
  15. Press the Delete button.

To resize the Windows partition:

  16. Click on the Windows partition.
  17. Press the Resize button.
  18. Resize your partition by dragging the left and right borders of
      the graphic representation of the partition to the desired size
      (typically, to the maximum extent possible).
  19. Press the Resize button.
  20. Press the Shutdown button (red arrows in extreme lower right
      corner of the display).
  21. To eject the CD and restart, hit Enter.
  22. The GParted Live CD will eject. Remove the CD from the tray. It is
      not necessary to close the tray manually.
  23. Hit Enter.

Your computer should restart using the Windows installation you selected.

To verify that your Windows partition has been resized, navigate to 
Start / All Programs / Accessories / System Tools / Disk Defragmenter. 
The Capacity is indicated in the fourth column.

More information about the ubuntu-users mailing list