I am bringing this question and comments here, after feeling stackoverflow wasn't a place for me. I hope, at least, get some help here. Thank you very much indeed in advance. I really need a solution for this urgently, I'm desperate because of this:
I have a very stressing situation since it seems I have lost important information (Yes, after trying to help me I allow you to slap my face for not respecting the 'backup every now and then" procedure).
I had GRUB as bootloader in my PC, which allows me to select between Debian Linux and Windows Vista Home Premium. Been happy with it so far.
Considering my Windows was running slow lately, I decided to remove some programs from the start options (Windows Media Manager and the kind, not very useful but loading by default). After doing the changes using msconfig.exe, I rebooted. Well... a beautiful BSoD showed up. I didn't panic yet, it happened other times, so I keep rebooting... no way... I started feeling the fear.
An extra (an kinda funny) thing is that I bought my PC in Germany. Is a Desktop HP Pavillion. When I bought it, Windows Home Premium was installed in the machine... in German, of course. Well... my level of German is not really good, not at technical level. So, the big mistake came when I decided to start the recovery options. Imagine that in German for a non-German speaker. I made the terrible mistake of saying "JA" (YES) when the recovery manager was asking about formatting the whole NTFS partition. The bloody recovery manager doesn't ask twice and does not alert properly... so, as fast as I realized the mistake (maybe 5 to 10 seconds later, even with the progress bar still at virtually 0%), I switched off the computer by pressing the OFF button for a few seconds. I preferred not to unplug directly.
So, next time I switched the PC on, windows partition couldn't start. I start doing several things desperately, now the partition can be seen... but... it cannot boot.
I boot with Linux and navigating through disk units and folders found out that the "Users" folder of the windows partition does not contain my user, only "Administrator", "Public", "Default" and the IUSR_NMPR or something like that. "Desktop" folder is not there, and "Program Files" does not contain any of the folders corresponding to the programs I had installed.
So, my conclusion is that the BLOODY Recovery Manager started the fast format and even completed it (I guess), very fast, and then started creating/recovery Windows, so it created a new installation with the basic default folders, users, program files, etc....
If this is true, I still have hopes that my old files might actually still be there but not accessible due to boot and table being re-written.
So, in case you don't disagree any of the previous points (otherwise please tell me), here is my question:
How can I re-install Windows Vista (I have the DVD) in a machine that has GRUB with Linux and a non-working Vista that I want to be overwritten by the CD? In other words, I don't have the guts now for just to follow Windows CD instructions and start a regular installation, because I am afraid that it can bypass GRUB and, if GRUB takes control of the partitions, I can even make everything worse. Windows don't know what the heck is GRUB, so it will try to install as if it were the only one in the world.
Once Windows is installed, I guess I can try to recover information from previous lost Windows installation (please, tell me that I am not wrong.... :( )