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A few days ago I dropped my laptop, and now Windows will no longer boot. I'm getting SMART errors about there being a problem with my hard drive but it doesn't seem too bad. However the strange thing is that even though Windows won't work, I can boot Ubuntu just fine for some reason.

When I try to load Windows, it takes me straight to startup repair. I tried to reset the system partition using this tool called OneKey Recovery which comes preinstalled with my laptop, but it didn't work. The first time I tried it, it got stuck at 1% so I shut off my laptop. Then i decided to try a second time and this time it deleted the entire partition instead, so now I no longer have a boot entry for windows. And I'm sure all the files are gone because on Ubuntu I can access my windows file system for some reason and all the files and folders are missing now.

Now I have absolutely no trace of windows left on my computer besides the startup repair software. I was thinking of doing a clean reinstall of windows 7 but I don't have a CD (never came with one in the first place). What should I do to fix this problem?

I want to get windows back up and running ASAP

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might be time for a new computer –  Yuck Sep 28 '12 at 22:23
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If you run a SMART exam and it says it has errors, it means the hard drive has some damaged sectors that can be where the files are and even the boot sectors, you should buy a new hard drive or a new computer –  poz2k4444 Sep 28 '12 at 22:28
    
I'm leaning towards new hard drive. When you boot to Linux can you see the hard drive from there? If so, backup the data files from there –  Darius Sep 28 '12 at 22:30
    
back up your data and just download a windows ISO and re-install, shouldn't be too hard. You can even try repairing the current windows you have. I would just reinstall though, repairing is annoying. –  AlanTuring Sep 28 '12 at 22:43
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If dropping your laptop broke something there is no such thing as "What should I do to fix this problem?" other than replacing the broken parts, it's as simple as that. –  Tom Wijsman Sep 28 '12 at 22:57

1 Answer 1

You can damage several parts of a laptop when you drop it. The hard disk is just one of them, but one of the most likely ones to damage. If it gets damaged badly it will no longer work. If it gets less damage then it will still have problems.

Several BIOSes check the drives Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology (SMART) status during POST. If a drive has problems then the BIOS can report this. Usually you get a warning similar to this one: SMART: DRIVE FAILURE IMMINENT. Press F1 to continue.

Usually that is a good time to check your backups and to replace your drive.

In your case I suggest the following:

  1. Remove the drive from the laptop.
  2. Insert the drive in an external case (e.g. a SATA dock or a 2½ inch drive to USB case)
  3. Connect it to another computer and backup all the data you want to keep.
    If you already had fully up top date backup, great. If not, do this now before the drive dies.
    It might not die. But assuming that it will continue to work means risking your files
  4. Put a new drive in your laptop.
  5. Get a nice clean installation DVD. E.g. download one from Digital River. (Those are legal resellers and provide nice virus free unaltered iso images)
  6. Reinstall windows on the new known good drive.
  7. Restore missing data.

All of this assumed that the old drive will fail or is likely to fail. Without the exact SMART error we can not know if this is the case or not. But the safe course it to assume that it will fail.

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+1 for assume the drive is failing and recognize the fact that it might not be the only part that's failing after the drop. –  Michael Kjörling Sep 28 '12 at 23:14

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