I'm running a dual-boot setup with Windows 7 and Ubuntu. I accidentally deleted the partition that contains the boot files for Windows.

Here is my output from fdisk -l in Ubuntu:

/dev/sda1   *   330545152   369606655    19530752   83  Linux
/dev/sda2        36944325   330543151   146799413+   7  HPFS/NTFS/exFAT
/dev/sda3       428199936   812201983   192001024    5  Extended
/dev/sda5       428201984   447868927     9833472   82  Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda6       447870976   812201983   182165504   83  Linux

Key Partitions: sda1: Ubuntu sda2: Windows data sda6: Ubuntu data partition

When I select sda2 from GRUB, it says <Windows ROOT>\system32\hal.dll is missing (obviously this does not boot, since this is the data partition).

When I try to boot from a Windows 7 recovery disk, I get this error:

Windows has encountered a problem communicating with a device connected to your PC.
This error can be caused by unplugging a removable storage device, or by faulty
hardware such as a hard drive or CD-ROM. Make sure any removable storage is properly
connected and then restart your PC.

File: \Boot\Bcd
Status: 0xc00000e9
Info: An unexpected I/O error has occured.

I don't have the Windows 7 install DVD, or any type of recovery partition. Also, I accidentally formatted over the Windows boot partition, but have not written data to it yet.

Is it possible to recover the Windows boot partition or to re-install boot files without buying a DVD?

  • If the missing partition contained only Windows boot files (and not Windows itself) then the recovery disk should be able to replace them, so it might be worth diagnosing the problem you're having with it. This could be a faulty drive or (more likely) the disk itself has failed. If you know someone with Windows 7 installed, they could create a new recovery disk for you to try. – Harry Johnston Jan 23 '12 at 0:45
  • I tried creating a recovery disk from a friend's computer. The last piece of my original post was what it showed when I booted from it. – Matt Robertson Jan 23 '12 at 2:50
  • You can create a bootable UFD (memory stick) if you need to using the Windows AIK, which is freely downloadable from MS. But it's a large download and takes fair bit of work to get going. First I'd try burning another copy of the recovery disk using a different CD/DVD, just in case the one you tried first is faulty. But it may be that your DVD drive is failing, or that Windows PE can't cope with the SATA controller on your motherboard. Check the BIOS settings, there may be a compatibility mode that will work. – Harry Johnston Jan 23 '12 at 4:29
  • The problem he will run into if he runs the recovery from a Windows Recovery disk is that GRUB will probably be overwritten. Otherwise, I can't see why the recovery won't see the existing Windows installation and simply write a new boot sector. Perhaps the drive is not marked as active? – user3463 Jan 23 '12 at 5:07

From your ubuntu installation you can try using testdisk (you can apt-get install testdisk)

It was primarily designed to help recover lost data storage partitions and/or make non-booting disks bootable again when these symptoms are caused by faulty software, certain types of viruses or human error (such as accidentally erasing a partition table).

Recovery of a lost and damaged NTFS

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