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When I remove Windows completely from my HDD, I can't boot anymore (when there is another OS left, Linux).

Does anyone have a solution for this? For obvious reasons, I don't want Windows dictating my ways.

PC Specs:

  • PC: MSI Notebook VR601 (Model MS-163C)
  • Bios: American Megatrends Inc. (Version A163CIMS V1.64)
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From what I could make of your post, you now have a non-bootable Linux installation, right? If so, that's not the fault of the BIOS or Windows. You probably messed up the boot loader during the process of removing Windows. Reinstall GRUB (I'm sure there are threads already about this) and you'll be able to boot into Linux properly. –  Karan Oct 21 '12 at 13:14

2 Answers 2

Windows isn't dictating your ways - in fact, that's part of the problem.

When your system boots, once BIOS has done its thing and worked out how many hard drives you have, where they are, and how to address them (et cetera), it hands off to a tiny portion of the primary boot device called the Master Boot Record (MBR). Inside there, operating systems install small records to tell the computer what to do next to start up.

By simply removing Windows from the back end of that, your MBR doesn't make sense to the computer any more, since it's referencing files which don't exist. If you want to dual-boot, you should always install Windows first for this reason. Microsoft's bootloader will load multiple versions of Windows very nicely, but traditionally isn't that happy with other operating systems.

The common bootloaders for linux systems are GRUB and LILO. One is probably installed for you automatically if you installed linux from a DVD or similar. It's just that it gets overwritten when Windows installs its own bootloader in the MBR. Unlike the Windows loader, though, GRUB will boot Windows too, and so will LILO.

There are a few ways to fix your linux install, some already mentioned. I'd personally use a liveCD linux install to boot up, mount your devices, chroot into your linux environment, and run grub-install to get it back into the MBR and make your system boot again.

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Use SuperGrubDisk or UltimateBootCD to fix your bootloader (most likely grub).

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