In the past when installing Linux (Ubuntu, Linux Mint), I've had a boot problem. I'd like to describe the problem I've had and the solution. If this isn't correct, feel free to correct me. You're also free to add other boot problems with their solution(s), if you wish.
The problem I've had had to do with GRUB. GRUB is a bootloader used with all of the major Linux distro's: it's the thing that enables your computer to boot. GRUB stands for GRand Unified Bootloader. It really lives up it's name: it can almost boot ANY operating system, from Windows to Mac OS X. Every operating system has it's own bootloader: Windows does have one and so does OS X. The bootloader is written to the Master Boot Record (MBR) of your hard disk.
Here comes the problem I've had:
- When you install Linux Mint (or any other distro), you'll have to partition your hard drive(s). So, you partitioned your hard drive, but you also have to choose the hard disk on which you'll install GRUB (the bootloader). Usually this is the first hard disk (sda). The installation goes fine, and you reboot your computer.
- After the BIOS, you'll be presented with the GRUB menu. From here you can choose which operating system you want to boot.
BUT; here comes the trouble:
- When most new users want to get rid of Linux and use Windows, they just boot from the GRUB menu into Windows. Then, they delete the Linux partition(s) from Disk Management.
- Now, when you think it's over, you actually created 'another' problem: by deleting Linux, you also 'destabilised' GRUB: your computer becomes unable to boot.
You'll see a message like this:
Don't panic: your Windows installation is just fine. You DON'T have to format your hard drive. What we are going to do, is getting the Windows-bootloader back by re-writing the Master Boot Record (Windows 7/Vista ONLY)
Here's the solution (see also this post on SevenForums for using a Recovery Disk: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/668-system-recovery-options.html )
1) Insert your Windows installation disk OR a recovery disk (see this for making a Windows 7 recovery disk: http://windows.microsoft.com/is-IS/windows7/Create-a-system-repair-disc )
2) Press a key when prompted
3) Select your language/time zone
4) Select the operating system you want to repair (e.g. Windows 7)
5) Now, you'll be presented with a list of options you can choose from. Choose 'Command Prompt'.
6) Type 'BootRec /FixBoot' (without quotes, the SPACE is important!)
Affter that, type 'BootRec /FixMbr' (also without quotes and mind the SPACE!)
7) You can close the window now and restart your computer
So, what have we done? We made a new boot-sector and we've rewritten the Master Boot Record and we've installed the Windows 7/Vista bootloader again.
After this, you should be delighted to see your (lovely?) Windows boot screen back. All your files and programs are still the same.
I hope I was clear, because my main language isn't English and I hope I could help some people who had troubles 'getting Windows back' Cheers!