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[SOLVED] Accidentally deleted a boot partition

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Jun 29, 2019
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Howdy,

So without getting into details, I deleted a boot partition by mistake on a secondary (that I want to be primary) drive while I was having two windows installs and wanted to keep only one (recently upgraded).
I googled for a couple hours now and tried stuff with DISKPART and all that to no avail. I wanted to ask whether it's possible to copy absolutely everything (using a live linux distro for example) from the working drive with windows (that I can't boot into) to a secondary drive, format the former and install windows on it again, then format the primary partition of the first drive (without touching the boot partitions) and copy everything back, will I then get back windows exactly how I left it before deleting the boot partition? (cause it was working fine then, I don't want to have to install programs again and tweaking the settings and all that).

Thanks.
 

crasnal

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which version of Windows is this? as far as I remember, fresh install of Windows 7 generated a separate boot partition in front of actual system partition. Is this Your case?
If so, then assuming You have two separate Windows installations, You should also have a boot partition (without letter and invisible in explorer) in front of one installation, and an empty place in front of the other - after accidentally deleting the boot partition belonging to that second install.
Try to use any of freeware partition managers (just google and download any of them), and simply copy the existing boot partition (that one in front of "old" windows install) into the front of your second windows install - the one which You intend to use.
Then using the partition manager make that copied boot partition "active".
Then simply try to boot.
Logic and practice says that this should work.
 
Joined
Jun 29, 2019
Messages
50 (0.06/day)
which version of Windows is this? as far as I remember, fresh install of Windows 7 generated a separate boot partition in front of actual system partition. Is this Your case?
If so, then assuming You have two separate Windows installations, You should also have a boot partition (without letter and invisible in explorer) in front of one installation, and an empty place in front of the other - after accidentally deleting the boot partition belonging to that second install.
Try to use any of freeware partition managers (just google and download any of them), and simply copy the existing boot partition (that one in front of "old" windows install) into the front of your second windows install - the one which You intend to use.
Then using the partition manager make that copied boot partition "active".
Then simply try to boot.
Logic and practice says that this should work.
Both installs are windows 10.
Win10 does generate two boot partitions infront of the main partition. Yes I did* have two win10 installations and I used secure erase on my mobo's BIOS to erase the older SSD but it had the boot partition so now I have a new SSD with a perfectly working windows installation but no boot partition anywhere. When I installed windows on this new drive it didn't create a boot partition on it, I guess it just added an entry to the existing boot partition on the older drive (which isn't very smart).

I tried to fix it like I said with DISKPART and BCDBOOT and whatnot, I always get some sort of error. So I thought to myself why not just clone the main partition that contains windows on the new drive somewhere else, install a fresh copy of windows again on it after formatting it, then erasing the main partition and replacing all the files with the cloned ones (not touching the boot partitions, basically a rogue way to restore them) so I don't have to install everything again and configure stuff once more.
 

crasnal

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Have You tried "in place upgrade" of Windows installation from bootable pendrive or DVD? I mean reinstallation of windows with option to retain applications and settings? This for example restores "recovery partition" if it has been deleted by user, so maybe it also restores boot partition?
Yes, I mean reinstallation AGAIN, over the existing installation :) In place upgrade, as they name it.
Or do You have any means to look into the contents of Your existing windows partition? Look if perhaps a hidden, system folder named "boot" exists there, created by the installer. If so, then making the windows partition "active" makes it bootable :)
 
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eidairaman1

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Youtube have videos relating to this
 

crasnal

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Assuming You have access to another computer :D what is obvious:
1. have/create a bootable Windows installation source (DVD or pendrive)
2. have (create) a live bootable Kubuntu DVD or pendrive. Portable, bootable kubuntu system on a pendrive. It includes GUI partition manager and a file explorer. Boot the computer from it.
3. important: using the partition manager extend Your existing, non-working Windows partition to the very beginning of the drive (to achieve no unallocated space in front of it); and make (mark as) this partition "active".
4. optionally look into contents of the windows partition using the kubuntu file explorer, for any hidden files or folder having "boot" in its name. However as You have deleted Your boot mechanism, You'll rather find none.
5. Boot from Windows installation source, look for and try options of "repairing system" or "in place upgrade" with - important - checked option to retain apps and settings. Just over-install windows anew, again. All Your personalizations, configurations should remain in place.
Installer should now install missing boot files directly on existing Windows partition (this is what I experienced with Windows 7 long ago, and with Win 10 when upgrading), without creating a separate, invisible boot partition.
 
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@crasnal
"I mean reinstallation of windows with option to retain applications and settings?"
Nope didn't try that, as that wouldn't be much different from reinstalling windows and copying my files over, which I wasn't so keen on doing.

"Look if perhaps a hidden, system folder named "boot" exists there."
There was one partition ahead of the primary partition that was 15MB in size and was system reserved, that didn't really help me much as a normal boot partition is around 100MB.

"Assuming You have access to another computer :D what is obvious:"
__________(Solution here for those with the same problem)______________

I fixed it and here's what I did:
I flashed a gparted live disc on my USB drive and booted from it, copied (or cloned) the windows partition from the new drive to the old one then formatted the new drive. Flashed the same USB with a windows installation, installed windows again on the new drive so that it takes care of the boot partitions for me. Flashed gparted again, booted to it, now I formatted the primary data partition of the new drive (that holds windows) and left the boot partitions intact, cloned the old partition back onto the new drive. This alone however won't solve the issue since they're 2 different windows installations, I was stuck on the "automatic repairs" screen everytime I tried to boot.
I followed this guide:
A couple commands won't work as shown in the video (/fixboot is one of them I remember not working but you can ignore the errors, what works is enough for our purposes) once done, I was able to boot back into windows as if I never deleted the boot partitions. The only thing that I noticed not configured properly now is the restore points, I had to disable and re-enable them to get them to work otherwise I haven't noticed one issue yet, everything seems to be in working order. I hope this helps somebody who's in my shoes at some point.

Thank you for the suggestions. I think to avoid mishaps like these, windows should add a separate boot partition to every drive you install it onto, I automatically assumed that both of my drives have one since I installed windows on them separately but that wasn't the case.
 
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