Originally Posted by Wet Willie
Will I be able to save my Win7 when I re-install Ubuntu?
If Win7 disappears, can I download it from MSoft? I have the product key.
When you get grub working again you may be able to boot Windows 7 without having to do anything more. If Windows doesn't boot and the Windows 7 files are OK you can repair the boot configuration without re-installing Windows. When your Windows 7 is the 64-bit version you need to repair it with a 64-bit setup DVD. When your Windows 7 is 32-bit you need to repair it with a 32-bit setup DVD.
Depending on the type of product key you have, it might only work with the exact setup DVD that came with the computer, and only on that computer. You can download Windows 7 DVDs from Microsoft but they are intended to be used with product keys purchased from Microsoft. Your product key might not work with the DVDs or you may have to modify the DVDs to make it work.
The product key is not necessary to repair the boot loader for Windows 7, but it is required to reinstall Windows or repair the Windows system files and programs.
Here is some information on the Windows 7 DVDs that can be downloaded from the Digital River web site.
Official download links for Windows 7 SP1 ISO (32-bit and 64-bit)
After you boot a Windows 7 Setup DVD you should select the options to repair the boot configuration, and NOT the options to repair Windows or re-install Windows. If you reinstall Windows or repair the Windows files then you will have to enter a valid product key that is not an OEM product key. Your computer probably came with an OEM product key.
If you want to repair the boot configuration manually, you can start a command prompt from the Windows 7 Setup program by pressing Shift + F10.
First, try to repair the Windows boot configuration and partition boot sector using these commands.
If that does not solve your Windows boot problem, try repairing the Master Boot Record using this command.
NOTE: The above command will replace grub with the default Windows Master Boot Record. If you want grub again, you will have to re-install grub (repair Ubuntu boot loader).
If none of the above things solve your Windows boot problem, you may find it easier to re-install Windows. If possible, back up the files from your Windows partition first. Among other things it has the Windows Activation files that go with your product key.
When you re-install Windows it is best to use the install DVD that came with the computer. If you cannot do that, you can try installing one of the Digital River Download DVDs for the exact same version of Windows 7 that you had. When asked for the CD key, select the option to continue on without entering a product key. Later on you will be prompted to change the product ID, and you should be able to enter your OEM product ID. Windows will only be Activated if your computer's firmware matches the OEM product ID. If Windows cannot be Activated, then you may need to use the exact Windows DVD that came with the computer.
There are three different kinds of Windows Setup DVD that you might have and they all handle activation a bit differently.
- Windows Retail DVD - Must enter retail product key and activate after installing.
- Windows OEM DVD - Must enter OEM product key and activate after installing
- OEM pre-activated DVD - Do not need to enter product key or activate but it only works on the exact computer model
A retail product ID will not work with an OEM setup DVD and an OEM product key will not work with a retail setup DVD. The third kind of setup DVD will only work on the exact computer model it is intended for, and the product key will not work with either a retail setup DVD or an OEM setup DVD. Unfortunately most computer retailers use the third kind of setup DVD. The product keys from the third kind of (pre-activated) DVD will only work on the correct model of computer (they are tied to the BIOS or UEFI firmware version).
As you can see it may be difficult or even impossible to Activate Windows using the wrong DVD or the wrong product key. Even if you can install Windows that isn't much use unless you can Activate Windows.
The DVDs that you can download from Digital River are OEM DVDs and are intended to be used with an OEM product key that was provided by Microsoft. In other words, they are the second kind of Windows DVD that must be Activated after installation.