Question Installed Ubuntu - now Windows not booting and partitions not accessible

Mar 28, 2020

This is my first time posting here, so hopefully this is the right place to ask...

I have an HP Probook 450 G1 laptop with one HDD. I had Windows 10 installed. I wanted to be able to have a dual boot of Windows and Linux, so I created some partitions (100 GB for Linux, a 256 MB boot partition, and a 2GB swap partition) and installed Ubuntu 18. I remember being able to view my Windows partition and see the files on it. I then let Ubuntu update and assumed everything was fine. I don't have a recovery CD, but I do have the original Windows 7 installation CD that my computer came with.

I'm now seeing that:
  • There is not option to boot to Windows either from BIOS menu or from GRUB menu
  • I can see partitions in GParted, but I can't mount or modify any of the non-Linux partitions (/dev/sda1, sda2, sda3). I do see an option to format the Windows partition.
  • I can't access the Windows partition from Files explorer
  • I am not able to resize the Linux partition to take include the space that's labelled as "unallocated"
This is what I see in GParted (I'm having trouble posting image links):

| Partition____| File System__|_Mount Point_|_Label_____| Size_|_Used_|_Unused_|_Flags
| /dev/sda1___|_ntfs__________|________________|SYSTEM__|______|________|___________|______
| /dev/sda2___|_ntfs__________|________________|Windows_|______|________|___________|______
| /dev/sda4 ___|_extended____|_______________|____________|______|________|___________|______
| /dev/sda5__|_linux-swap___|_______________|____________|______|________|___________|______
| /dev/sda6__|_fat32_________|_______________|____________|______|________|___________|esp___
| /dev/sda7__|_ext4__________| /______________|____________|______|________|___________|______
| unallocated_|_|unallocated |_______________|_____________|______|________|___________|______
| /dev/sda3___|_fat32_________|_______________|_____________|______|________|___________|______
| unallocated_|_unallocated__|_______________|_____________|______|________|___________|______

So far I have tried the following:
  • Update grub
  • Use Boot Repair application to reinstall and update Grub. I do see that Boot Repair finds Windows, but I don't see any change in behavior.
My questions are:
1. Is it safe to assume that my Windows installation is not bootable?

2. Is there any way that I could mount and modify the non-Linux partitions to access the files on those partitions?

3. Is there any way to use the "unallocated" partitions from Linux?

4. Would it make sense to just format the Windows partition (/dev/sda2) and install Windows there? Which option do I choose for format in GParted?
(options are: ext2, ext3, ext4, fat16, fat32, ntfs, or cleared). Or does Windows always need to be installed first?

5. If I were just to install a new hard drive and start over, what can I do to make sure this doesn't happen again, and that I get a proper dual boot of Windows and Linux?

Any help or advice is appreciated!
- MK
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