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Last year when I installed an SSD in my laptop, I partitioned off a few GB to try dual booting to Linux. At the time, I was able to set up Ubuntu on that partition and used EasyBCD to manage the boot process. I haven't really played with it since, until last night when I decided to switch from Ubuntu to Lubuntu.

I used PenDriveLinux to make a bootable USB drive of the latest Lubuntu (v12.10, 32-bit). The install went pretty much normally, but I found that it had preempted my EasyBCD bootloader with GRUB. Because of that and some other weirdness I discovered when using Lubuntu, I did the install process again. I honestly don't know what all I selected, but when I attempted to get back to Windows (still through GRUB) it won't proceed beyond a black screen with a blinking cursor.

While looking for options to fix this, I found this site which suggested the following to restore the Windows MBR:

sudo apt-get install syslinux
sudo dd if=/usr/lib/syslinux/mbr.bin of=/dev/sda

This did manage to remove GRUB and put the Windows bootloader back in charge, but it's still stuck on the black screen and cursor. I have run the Windows install program twice and had it do a repair but no luck (first time it just automatically went to repair, the next time I told it to repair the boot process).

I know that my data is still intact and that all the Windows and programs folders are still there because I can see them from Linux, but I can't seem to get the Windows boot process to function. Is there any way I can salvage this short of completely reinstalling Windows again?

Addendum: Since I'm a complete noob to Linux, I'll just throw some stuff out here in case it helps.

My laptop has 2 hard drives, one SSD (120GB with Windows and Linux partitions) and one 320GB spinning disc (one partition of just data). Could it be possible that my attempts to reload the Windows bootloader that it applied it to the wrong drive? Here is a link for the output of sudo fdisk -l. Not sure if I need to rerun the 2nd command above something more like of=/dev/sda2

Addendum 2: I went through all of NeoSoft's BCD Recovering the Windows Bootloader process. Every step completed successfully (it was all done on the 100MB system partition, not the C: drive) but there were no changes. After each step when they said to try rebooting, it still just got stuck on the blinking cursor. Went through all steps, including the "Nuclear Holocaust" of manually recreating all the BCD records. Makes me think that there are file(s) missing on that system partition that are vital to booting Windows.

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Should this be migrated to the Unix/Linux StackExchange site? – techturtle Feb 5 '13 at 20:19
No, as this is a Windows issue as well. Your question is absolutely on topic here and fine to stay on Super User :) – slhck Feb 5 '13 at 20:56
up vote 1 down vote accepted

In the end, I had to reinstall both operating systems completely. Never found out exactly what the problem was, but I know it had to do explicitly with the partitions themselves. The first time I reinstalled, I left all the partitions as they were (100MB Windows system partition included) and after the install process went through, the result was still the same: boot to a black screen with a cursor. It wasn't until I actually removed and recreated all the partitions (Windows and Linux) that I was able to get a stable Windows install up and running. Reinstalled Lubuntu, paying closer attention so that it put the GRUB bootloader on it's own drive, and now everything is functioning as expected. Not the most fun weekend I've had, but an educational one...

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