Yesterday, my cousin wanted me to install Linux Mint onto his Windows 8 Lenovo laptop so he could dual-boot Linux Mint and Windows 8 so he could get some hands-on experience with Windows 8.
I've only ever installed Linux for dual-booting on Windows XP, and I was originally not aware of all the UEFI details for installing Linux on a Windows 8 machine.
So, I created the Linux Mint USB stick and put it onto my 4GB flash drive, which I then plugged into the computer. I booted into the BIOS of the computer and changed the USB stick to be the default boot option.
I successfully booted from the Mint USB stick, and I opened up Gparted on the USB drive to edit the partitions. The partitions are as follows:
- /dev/sda1 (1000MB partition labeled WINRE_DRV)
- /dev/sda2 (260MB partition labeled WINDOWS_DRV, also currently iBt is mounted at /boot/efi)
- /dev/sda3 (1000M partition labeled LRS_ESP)
- /dev/sda4 (128MB partition with an unknown file system)
- /dev/sda5 (405GB partition labeled Windows8_OS)
- /dev/sda6 (25GB partition labeled LENOVO)
- /dev/sda7(12.5GB partition labeled PBR_DRV)
- New: /dev/sda8 (16GB ext4 partition that was trimmed off of /dev/sda5)
- New: /dev/sda9 (4GB linux-swpa partition trimmed off of /dev/sda5)
So, I then created those last two partitions intended for Mint.
I then proceeded with the default installer for Mint Linux. When reaching the partitioning stage, it didn't recognize that any other operating systems were on the system, which I thought was odd. I realize now I think this was because of UEFI with Secure Boot still being enabled.
Anyways, I set up a custom partitioning, with /dev/sda8 being the intended partition for Mint. However, I didn't realize it at the time, but I installed GRUB on /dev/sda8 instead of the Master Boot Record, so GRUB was never the default chooser on startup.
After finishing the installation, we then installed EasyBCD to make Linux Mint bootable, since I didn't realize I just screwed up in choosing where to install GRUB. We added a custom record for the Mint partition, and this is where things began to go horribly wrong.
We rebooted the computer and were greeted by the Windows Boot Manager with two options: Linux Mint and Mint Linux. Both options resulted in the general "Windows is corrupt, insert install media to repair computer, blah blah".
We realized then that something was horribly wrong.
I inserted the Linux Mint USB again and forced the computer to boot from the USB, and once I was back in, I realized that I had messed up completely on the installation. I reinstalled Mint over the old /dev/sda8 and this time installed GRUB on the MDR. So, now I was at least able to boot the computer into Linux Mint.
So, now the problem we're facing is that we are unable to reboot into Windows. In GRUB, I have the option to boot Mint or the Windows Boot Manager, and the Boot Manager just repeats the same issue that we were having before.
We have tried installing Windows XP onto a flash drive to try to remotely change EasyBCD settings; however, the program needed to make a XP flash drive, Rufus, does not work on anything but Windows... we don't have any Windows computers available.
Is there any way to remotely repair the Windows Boot Manager to safely recover and reboot into Windows 8? The ultimate goal is to prevent any data loss and to successfully boot back into Windows.
Any help is appreciated!