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Old 27. Dec 2013, 10:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Fixing a Boot problem in Windows 8.1

Couldn't boot into Windows 8.1 desktop today probably due to a corrupt boot file. I used a bootable Windows 8 recovery USB drive that was built from another Windows 8 device to try to repair this desktop's system failing to start up.

The desktop successfully booted into the USB recovery drive with no issues. When trying the first method "Refresh your PC" with the USB recovery drive, it encountered such error "The drive where windows is installed is locked. Unlock the drive and try again." No hope, as the problem has also been reported here and some comments are saying it is potentially caused by Windows 8's fast startup feature.

Tried the second method "Reset your PC". Also no hope, as I got a standard answer "Unable to reset your PC. A required drive partition is missing."

Tried the third method: using the Command Prompt from the USB recovery drive and firing the commands below:

bootrec /FixBoot
bootrec /RebuildBcd


The above commands as explained here worked in Windows 8.1 too and they solved my problems. The Windows 8.1 desktop has now been back to life and successfully booted into the UEFI mode as before.
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Old 27. Dec 2013, 10:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Thanks Jojo, this might come in handy.
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Old 27. Dec 2013, 02:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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@Anupam, have you tried to dualboot Linux with Windows 8 on the same disk in UEFI mode? It will be good to hear from you.

I suppose the command bootrec /FixMbr will also be useful to resolve MBR corruption issues especially when installing the system in legacy BIOS mode.

I'm downloading Ubuntu 13.10 64-bit so that it can be installed to dualboot Windows 8 in UEFI mode. The risks are there as the bugs have been reported here and here that the Ubuntu installer Ubiquity may either not load Ubuntu or the GRUB 2 menu may not boot Windows on UEFI computers.

Well, with the recovery USB drive ready and good for fixing Windows boot issues, I will try to install Ubuntu in UEFI mode and see if it can dualboot Windows 8 without issues.
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Old 27. Dec 2013, 03:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Jojo, I have Linux on my system, but in a separate hard drive, and not in dual boot. I have kept the two separate, as I do not want to get into the trouble of dual booting, as sometimes the MBR can get corrupted of one or both, and that makes booting difficult, and I am not used to solving such problems.

So, I have put both systems on different hard drives, and I disconnect the Windows hard drive, when I install Linux on the other one, so that it does not install MBR for double boot.

I have Xubuntu 13.10 32-bit version installed on the other hard drive. Before an update, Xubuntu used to boot on its own without any boot screen, but after a system update, a Grub menu appears now, which shows Windows 8 loader in the list. Since the update happened when the Windows drive was connected too... the MBR of Xubuntu was modified... that's my guess.

I don't know about UEFI mode... whether it's on my system or not. How do I check which mode is my computer in?
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Old 27. Dec 2013, 03:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Jojo, would you like to write this up into a Tech Tip?
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Old 28. Dec 2013, 01:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v.laurie View Post
Jojo, would you like to write this up into a Tech Tip?
A good suggestion Vic but I will need more testing before giving a conclusion.
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Old 28. Dec 2013, 01:54 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anupam View Post
I don't know about UEFI mode... whether it's on my system or not. How do I check which mode is my computer in?
A good question Anupam. There're several ways of checking it.

In a Linux system installed on a HDD, you can paste the following code into the Terminal to get a quick answer:

[ -d /sys/firmware/efi ] && echo "EFI boot on HDD" || echo "Legacy boot on HDD"

In Windows 8.1, right-click the Start button on the taskbar, select Disk Management from the context menu, you will see that the disk contains an EFI System Partition (ESP) for the system to be able to boot into UEFI / EFI mode. Right-click the disk to check also its properties, under the Volumes tab, the partition style uses a GUID partition table (GPT), instead of an MBR partition table.

See also What's Your Boot Mode as part of the documentation for the rEFInd boot manager produced by Roderick W. Smith.

Last edited by Jojo Yee; 28. Dec 2013 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 29. Dec 2013, 06:06 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default A Bumpy Road to Dual-Boot Windows 8.1 and Ubuntu 13.10

Installed Ubuntu 13.10 64-bit to dual-boot Windows 8.1 and Linux Mint 16 successfully but it was after going through a bumpy road.

On a preinstalled Windows 8 64-bit machine using a GPT style disk, I firstly installed Linux Mint 16. Upon installation, it didn't detect that I had Windows 8 pre-installed. (Similar issues have been reported here and here.) For this reason, I opted for the Linux Mint OS loader to be saved at sda9 instead of at root sda in my case to prevent it from overriding a default boot to Windows 8.1. After a reboot, it went straight to Windows 8 without a Grub2 menu as expected.

Secondly, I installed Ubuntu 13.10. Upon installation, it detected that I had a Linux Mint partition but failed to recognize that I had a Windows 8 partition, similar to what happened to Linux Mint's installation. I then opted for installing Ubuntu alongside Linux Mint.

After this install and a reboot, the Grub2 boot menu showed up correctly. The boot menu not only had a chainload to Linux Mint 16 but surprisingly also included a chainload to Windows 8.1 via Windows Boot Manager, despite the fact that the Ubuntu installer initially had not detected a Windows 8 partition.

I further added Grub-Customizer in Ubuntu to tweak the Grub2 menu to hide System Setup and change a default OS to boot up when no key was pressed.

Last edited by Jojo Yee; 29. Dec 2013 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 29. Dec 2013, 09:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I think you should mention that because Windows was not detected, you must have done manual hard drive partitioning for both Linux installs?
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Old 29. Dec 2013, 10:57 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anupam View Post
I think you should mention that because Windows was not detected, you must have done manual hard drive partitioning for both Linux installs?
In the first install for Linux Mint, I manually chose an unused partition for it, but in the second install for Ubuntu, since it was installed alongside Linux Mint, the installer would have resized the Linux Mint partition and added a new partition for Ubuntu.
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