Need to switch a Linux hard drive back to Windows


Nov 17, 2008
I have a couple of old computers here that I'm not using, they originally had XP on them but I installed Linux on them to play with. I decided I need to reinstall WindowsXP and loan the computer to a friend temporarily. I put in the Windows install disk, it found an unknown partition on C so I had it delete the partition, make a new C partition, format the partition with NTFS and go on with the install. It acted like it was going OK but failed at some point in the install. I tried the other computer with the same problem, as well as trying to install on a couple of other hard drives that I had tried with Linux. So a total of 2 computers and 4 hard drives, that once had XP on them and I can't reinstall it. I'm thinking that Linux does something to the hard drives that Windows can't undo. I need suggestions on how to get XP installed and working.


Aug 29, 2012

Try here:

Please read though...


Reading along, Linux creates an HFS partition that is not seen by WinXP, it may just be easier to connect the drive to another workstation and then delete all or any partitions via Disk Management.

Maybe someone here can chime in to confirm...


You can try issuing the" fdisk /mbr " command at a dos prompt and see if that resolves the issue.

Otherwise Go to the drive manufacturers website and download their diagnostic utility which usually has an option to do a full format rather than a quick one. You can scan the drive for errors and if you dont have any then full format the drive and reinstall windows.

If You want to skip scanning the hdd for errors & bad sectors you can download gparted and format with that. Its great. Make sure the partition type is x07 (I cant remember if gparted shows you that option...LOL)



Windows does not like being installed on a hard drive that has a Grub boot loader installed. By default Windows will not attempt to completely overwrite an existing bootloader because it could render the other operating systems unusable. Thus, Grub must be removed before Windows can be installed. If you want to dual boot Windows (any version) and Linux, you must install Windows and then Linux.

If you want to revert the drive back to a pure Windows installation you will need to do a full reformat or zero out the disk. You can zero out the disk using PartedMagic (a Linux LiveCD). If you have an HDD you can either write zeroes in software or use the ATA internal Secure Erase command. If you have an SSD you must only use the ATA internal Secure Erase command

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