Installing UBUNTU wiped out Windows XP

Asked by Steve Hall on 2007-11-08

I have installed UBUNTU on a computer running Win XP. I used guided install, which worked fine but has completely wiped XP and all its files from the computer.
Wouldn't it be a good idea if UBUNTU gave a warning about this. If UBUNTU is going to take on Windows, these matters should really be given more attention. Users of windows expect, and get help when they do something drastic,they are not IT experts and have become used to the defaults being safe.

Question information

Language:
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Status:
Answered
For:
Ubuntu Edit question
Assignee:
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Last query:
2007-11-14
Last reply:
2010-08-31
W. Prins (wprins) said : #1

Hello Steve,

Thanks for filing this comment. Please note there's a bug files already for this issue (Bug #155185 in ubiquity, see https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubiquity/+bug/155185 ) I would suggest you add further comments/thoughts there as appropriate. Personally I would agree with you that more warning is needed.

However, can I ask that you execute the following command from a terminal window ("Applications"->"Accessories"->"Terminal"), and then post the output back here, so we can verify that your partition is indeed gone and not just hidden in the background:

fdisk -lu

Note: You can copy and paste from a terminal window: Mark the text you want to copy with the mouse, then while the text is highlighted, click with the middle button (or mousewheel) in the window you want to paste into, and the text will be instantly copied and pasted from the terminal window. If you don't have a middle mouse button or mouse wheel that's clickable you can also click with the right and left buttons at the same time to achieve the same effect.

Steve Hall (steve-alwoodley) said : #2

Thanks for the quick reply. I did as you suggested, but the command returned no output, just went back to the prompt.
I fear we have lost windows, the sad thing is it wasn't my computer, and I have been singing the praises of UBUNTU for ages, now i have trashed my friends computer. If you have influence with UBUNTU, please get them to do something about this.
Regards
Steve

W. Prins (wprins) said : #3

My apologies, I forgot to specify that the command should be run as root/administrator. So the complete command is:

sudo fdisk -lu

Please run that and report what you find.

Steve Hall (steve-alwoodley) said : #4

Hi, Thanks again. I ran the command
The results were;
/dev/sda1 (three columns of numbers) 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 (three columns of numbers) 5 Extended
/dev/sda2 (three columns of numbers) 82 Linux Swap/Solaris
I had nothing to copy it on, hence no numbers but I think it will tell you what you want to know.
The numbers were all large start end and I guess disk sizes.
Hope this helps
SteveH

ByteJuggler proposed the following answer:
My apologies, I forgot to specify that the command should be run as
root/administrator. So the complete command is:

sudo fdisk -lu

Please run that and report what you find.

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Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 269.15.26/1119 - Release Date: 08/11/2007 17:55

Dave Walker (davewalker) said : #5

Hi Steve,

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it would seem you have lost the
Windows XP partition. If there are essential files that were not backed
up on the Windows partition - there is the remote chance of being able
to retrieve *some* of them, but I wouldn't be too hopeful.

I hope your friend had his important data backed up.

Kind Regards,
Dave Walker

Steve Hall (steve-alwoodley) said : #6

Many thanks Dave. He had his photographs backed up but not his Outlook, so he has lost all his holiday bookings. This is not the time to give him a lecture on backing up. I just hope that UBUNTU sort this out quickly before the wreck any other computers.
Many thanks for your help, maybe in years to come we can laugh about it!
SteveH

-----Original Message-----
From: <email address hidden> [mailto:<email address hidden>] On Behalf Of Dave Walker
Sent: 09 November 2007 19:21
To: <email address hidden>
Subject: RE: [Question #17346]: Installing UBUNTU wiped out Windows XP

Your question #17346 on Ubuntu changed:
https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/17346

    Status: Open => Answered

Dave Walker proposed the following answer:
Hi Steve,

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it would seem you have lost the
Windows XP partition. If there are essential files that were not backed
up on the Windows partition - there is the remote chance of being able
to retrieve *some* of them, but I wouldn't be too hopeful.

I hope your friend had his important data backed up.

Kind Regards,
Dave Walker

--

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 269.15.26/1119 - Release Date: 08/11/2007 17:55

Steve Hall (steve-alwoodley) said : #7

Hi Dave,
One more piece of advice please. My friend has formatted his hard disk, and installed Win XP. He still wants to go ahead with Ubuntu, I don't want to screw him up again, what do I do to install Ubuntu again?
His disk has no partitions. It is a straight 80Gb drive with nothing but XP on it.
Best wishes
Steve H

Jim Hutchinson (jphutch) said : #8

It's pretty straightforward. Boot from the Live CD and double click the install icon on the desktop. Go through the steps. When you to step 4 (partitioning) select the option that lets you resize the hard drive (i.e. the one that does NOT say "use entire drive"). Usually the default is fine for the size but you can slide the slider around to fine tune. Then just finish the steps. Don't use the manual option unless you know a bit about partitioning and your drive. I'd recommend not using it even if you do know a bit.

Make sure you have defraged windows or it will take quite a bit longer to resize. Also make sure important stuff is backed up just in case. In most cases the install will go smoothly and you will get a menu at boot offering you a choice between a couple ubuntu options, memtest and windows. Once installed there a number of things most people want to tweak and a few are somewhat more complex than others. Ask again if you need guidance.

Good luck.

Steve Hall (steve-alwoodley) said : #9

Hi Jim,
Thanks for the answer, but I suspect you haven't actually tried the latest UBUNTU release, if you do a guided install, it doesn't arrive at the bit about partitioning, it just goes ahead and reformats to whole disk.
I think what I should do is use windows to partition the drive and then do a manual install. I just want reassurance as I couldn't face trashing my friends computer again.
My install disk was downloaded (V7.10) from the UBUNTU web site, and burned to a CD which I am using for installation. I should add that I had no problem on my own machine, but I have two HD's one for each OS and I did it manually.
Regards
SteveH

-----Original Message-----
From: <email address hidden> [mailto:<email address hidden>] On Behalf Of Jim Hutchinson
Sent: 13 November 2007 00:43
To: <email address hidden>
Subject: RE: [Question #17346]: Installing UBUNTU wiped out Windows XP

Your question #17346 on Ubuntu changed:
https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/17346

    Status: Open => Answered

Jim Hutchinson proposed the following answer:
It's pretty straightforward. Boot from the Live CD and double click the
install icon on the desktop. Go through the steps. When you to step 4
(partitioning) select the option that lets you resize the hard drive
(i.e. the one that does NOT say "use entire drive"). Usually the default
is fine for the size but you can slide the slider around to fine tune.
Then just finish the steps. Don't use the manual option unless you know
a bit about partitioning and your drive. I'd recommend not using it even
if you do know a bit.

Make sure you have defraged windows or it will take quite a bit longer
to resize. Also make sure important stuff is backed up just in case. In
most cases the install will go smoothly and you will get a menu at boot
offering you a choice between a couple ubuntu options, memtest and
windows. Once installed there a number of things most people want to
tweak and a few are somewhat more complex than others. Ask again if you
need guidance.

Good luck.

--
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Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 269.15.30/1127 - Release Date: 12/11/2007 21:19

Jim Hutchinson (jphutch) said : #10

I am running the latest version but I always do a clean install and do it manually so I am not familiar with that particular bug. That is a pretty big bug though. I was not like that in the past and I would hope they address it soon.

As for installing, you can use the manual option to repartition and it's probably a good way to go. If you have tools in windows you can do that too but you will still need to create the right file system so it might be easier to let the installer do it all. You need at least 2 partitions for Ubuntu - one for the file system and one for swap. It is usually suggest to make the swap file twice the size of your RAM or more. 2GB seems a good size. I have 1GB of RAM and the swap is rarely used. It is a required partition though.

Steve Hall (steve-alwoodley) said : #11

Thanks Jim, you seem to have covered it. I will try again.
Regards
SteveH

-----Original Message-----
From: <email address hidden> [mailto:<email address hidden>] On Behalf Of Jim Hutchinson
Sent: 13 November 2007 18:49
To: <email address hidden>
Subject: RE: [Question #17346]: Installing UBUNTU wiped out Windows XP

Your question #17346 on Ubuntu changed:
https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/17346

    Status: Open => Answered

Jim Hutchinson proposed the following answer:
I am running the latest version but I always do a clean install and do
it manually so I am not familiar with that particular bug. That is a
pretty big bug though. I was not like that in the past and I would hope
they address it soon.

As for installing, you can use the manual option to repartition and it's
probably a good way to go. If you have tools in windows you can do that
too but you will still need to create the right file system so it might
be easier to let the installer do it all. You need at least 2 partitions
for Ubuntu - one for the file system and one for swap. It is usually
suggest to make the swap file twice the size of your RAM or more. 2GB
seems a good size. I have 1GB of RAM and the swap is rarely used. It is
a required partition though.

--
If this answers your question, please go to the following page to let us
know that it is solved:
https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/17346/+confirm?answer_id=9

If you still need help, you can reply to this email or go to the
following page to enter your feedback:
https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+question/17346

You received this question notification because you are a direct
subscriber of the question.

No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 269.15.31/1129 - Release Date: 13/11/2007 21:22

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Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 269.15.31/1129 - Release Date: 13/11/2007 21:22

Jim Qode (jimqode) said : #12

I have created a blueprint for this problem but it is becoming very frequent. Please contribute.
https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/more-warning-ubiquity

progone (matthew-piatkowski) said : #13

Disk /dev/sda: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders, total 976773168 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x365e365d

   Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 63 156264254 78132096 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2 156264255 158224184 979965 83 Linux
/dev/sda3 158224185 173855429 7815622+ 82 Linux swap / Solaris
/dev/sda4 173855430 369173699 97659135 83 Linux

Disk /dev/sdb: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders, total 976773168 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xe7f2e7f2

   Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdb1 63 976478894 488239416 7 HPFS/NTFS

Disk /dev/sdc: 500.1 GB, 500107862016 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 60801 cylinders, total 976773168 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xe816e816

   Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdc1 63 976768064 488384001 7 HPFS/NTFS

progone (matthew-piatkowski) said : #14

^It looks like I have my XP part. now what?

Simply add a Windows section into /boot/grub/menu.lst file, then run update-grub command, please send your /boot/grub/menu.lst contents here, open a Terminal from the menu Applications → Accessories → Terminal and type:

gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

copy and paste contents here

Thank you

David Freitas (jddcef) said : #16

I gave Ubuntu to a friend to install. It then wiped his entire XP installation and all his data. Ubuntu isn't for newbies yet, that's for sure. It should be made more clear what happens when installing Ubuntu to the user.

billmekeel (mekeelw) said : #17

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help a newbie: I tried loading 9.04 on top of XP and now I can not boot into the latter. Here is some (hopefully relevent) info -

# menu.lst - See: grub(8), info grub, update-grub(8)
# grub-install(8), grub-floppy(8),
# grub-md5-crypt, /usr/share/doc/grub
# and /usr/share/doc/grub-doc/.

## default num
# Set the default entry to the entry number NUM. Numbering starts from 0, and
# the entry number 0 is the default if the command is not used.
#
# You can specify 'saved' instead of a number. In this case, the default entry
# is the entry saved with the command 'savedefault'.
# WARNING: If you are using dmraid do not use 'savedefault' or your
# array will desync and will not let you boot your system.
default 0

## timeout sec
# Set a timeout, in SEC seconds, before automatically booting the default entry
# (normally the first entry defined).
timeout 10

## hiddenmenu
# Hides the menu by default (press ESC to see the menu)
#hiddenmenu

# Pretty colours
#color cyan/blue white/blue

## password ['--md5'] passwd
# If used in the first section of a menu file, disable all interactive editing
# control (menu entry editor and command-line) and entries protected by the
# command 'lock'
# e.g. password topsecret
# password --md5 $1$gLhU0/$aW78kHK1QfV3P2b2znUoe/
# password topsecret

#
# examples
#
# title Windows 95/98/NT/2000
# root (hd0,0)
# makeactive
# chainloader +1
#
# title Linux
# root (hd0,1)
# kernel /vmlinuz root=/dev/hda2 ro
#

#
# Put static boot stanzas before and/or after AUTOMAGIC KERNEL LIST

### BEGIN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST
## lines between the AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST markers will be modified
## by the debian update-grub script except for the default options below

## DO NOT UNCOMMENT THEM, Just edit them to your needs

## ## Start Default Options ##
## default kernel options
## default kernel options for automagic boot options
## If you want special options for specific kernels use kopt_x_y_z
## where x.y.z is kernel version. Minor versions can be omitted.
## e.g. kopt=root=/dev/hda1 ro
## kopt_2_6_8=root=/dev/hdc1 ro
## kopt_2_6_8_2_686=root=/dev/hdc2 ro
# kopt=root=/dev/mapper/isw_eceaabeedg_Volume_00006 ro

## default grub root device
## e.g. groot=(hd0,0)
# groot=(hd0,5)

## should update-grub create alternative automagic boot options
## e.g. alternative=true
## alternative=false
# alternative=true

## should update-grub lock alternative automagic boot options
## e.g. lockalternative=true
## lockalternative=false
# lockalternative=false

## additional options to use with the default boot option, but not with the
## alternatives
## e.g. defoptions=vga=791 resume=/dev/hda5
# defoptions=quiet splash

## should update-grub lock old automagic boot options
## e.g. lockold=false
## lockold=true
# lockold=false

## Xen hypervisor options to use with the default Xen boot option
# xenhopt=

## Xen Linux kernel options to use with the default Xen boot option
# xenkopt=console=tty0

## altoption boot targets option
## multiple altoptions lines are allowed
## e.g. altoptions=(extra menu suffix) extra boot options
## altoptions=(recovery) single
# altoptions=(recovery mode) single

## controls how many kernels should be put into the menu.lst
## only counts the first occurence of a kernel, not the
## alternative kernel options
## e.g. howmany=all
## howmany=7
# howmany=all

## specify if running in Xen domU or have grub detect automatically
## update-grub will ignore non-xen kernels when running in domU and vice versa
## e.g. indomU=detect
## indomU=true
## indomU=false
# indomU=detect

## should update-grub create memtest86 boot option
## e.g. memtest86=true
## memtest86=false
# memtest86=true

## should update-grub adjust the value of the default booted system
## can be true or false
# updatedefaultentry=false

## should update-grub add savedefault to the default options
## can be true or false
# savedefault=false

## ## End Default Options ##

title Ubuntu 9.04, kernel 2.6.28-11-generic
root (hd0,5)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic root=/dev/mapper/isw_eceaabeedg_Volume_00006 ro quiet splash
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.28-11-generic

title Ubuntu 9.04, kernel 2.6.28-11-generic (recovery mode)
root (hd0,5)
kernel /boot/vmlinuz-2.6.28-11-generic root=/dev/mapper/isw_eceaabeedg_Volume_00006 ro single
initrd /boot/initrd.img-2.6.28-11-generic

title Ubuntu 9.04, memtest86+
root (hd0,5)
kernel /boot/memtest86+.bin

### END DEBIAN AUTOMAGIC KERNELS LIST

My guess is I (or the 9.04 Alternate install process) have (has) not properly configured grub to recognize XP - can anyone help?

billmekeel (mekeelw) said : #18

Figured it out. Looked at http://ubuntuforums.org/archive/index.php/t-223452.html and uncommented

# title Windows 95/98/NT/2000
# root (hd0,1)
# makeactive
# chainloader +1

Sorry if I wasted anyone's time.

RTFM

mnokoro (hilariousmno) said : #19

Disk /dev/sda: 120.0 GB, 120034123776 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 14593 cylinders, total 234441648 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x37793778

   Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 63 214772984 107386461 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda2 214789050 230243579 7727265 c W95 FAT32 (LBA)
/dev/sda3 230243580 234436544 2096482+ d7 Unknown

Disk /dev/sdb: 120.0 GB, 120034123776 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 14593 cylinders, total 234441648 sectors
Units = sectors of 1 * 512 = 512 bytes
Sector size (logical/physical): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
I/O size (minimum/optimal): 512 bytes / 512 bytes
Disk identifier: 0xa25a1cfc

   Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sdb1 63 123596671 61798304+ 7 HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sdb2 123596798 234440703 55421953 5 Extended
/dev/sdb5 123596800 229820415 53111808 83 Linux
/dev/sdb6 229822464 234440703 2309120 82 Linux swap / Solaris

//I dunno if I've still got XP or not...how can I get it back if it ain't there..sm1 help pls

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