Ubuntu – How to remove Ubuntu and put Windows back on


I have absolutely no experience with Linux, and I desperately need to get my computer back up and running again with Windows.

How do I remove Ubuntu and reinstall Windows?

Editor's note: many of the answers are about removing Ubuntu from dual-boot but keeping Windows (which is a bit complicated), while other answers are about removing Ubuntu from single-boot (which is easy: basically just format the disk while installing Windows). The question as written is ambiguous between dual-boot or single-boot.

Best Answer

If you have a single-boot system with only Ubuntu installed, you can install Windows directly and override Ubuntu completely. To remove Ubuntu from a Ubuntu/Windows dual boot system, you will first need to replace the GRUB bootloader with the Windows bootloader. Then, you would need to remove the Ubuntu partitions.

The first step can be done with a Windows Recovery DVD/Installation DVD or a Ubuntu Live DVD. If you have a newer Dell laptop (such as the Dell Inspiron), you would need to do so by changing the boot sequence in the UEFI settings, which will be discussed later.

Using Windows Recovery or Installation Media

If you don't have a Windows recovery or installation media, you can download official ISO files for Windows 10, Windows 8, or Windows 7 from the Microsoft Download Center and burn them on a DVD or a USB drive. Windows will only install as an evaluation copy for 30 days without a genuine product key.

  1. Grab a Windows recovery or installation media and boot from it. You should see this or a similar screen on a recovery media.

    System Recovery Options dialog

    You should see this on an installation media. Click "Repair your computer" and you should see a screen like the first image.

    Windows Setup

  2. Open the Command Prompt, then type bootrec /fixmbr into the Command Prompt.

    Command prompt FIXMBR

  3. Reboot and boot into Windows. Then follow the steps below to remove the Ubuntu partitions.

Using a Ubuntu Live DVD and Boot Repair

If you don't have a Windows recovery CD or you are constrained to download and burn the ISO files mentioned before, you can use Boot-repair. It is a tool that fixes most boot problems(Windows or Ubuntu). I suggest using a Windows CD if possible.

  1. Boot from a Ubuntu Live DVD or USB

  2. Type these lines in the terminal one line at a time.

    sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/boot-repair
    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install boot-repair
  3. Search for Boot-Repair in the Dash and launch it.

    Boot repair dialog

    To fix your computer with Boot-repair, simply click the "Recommended Repair" button. Then follow the steps below to remove the Ubuntu Partitions.

Changing the Boot Sequence in the UEFI settings of a Dell computer

Newer Dell laptops like the Dell Inspiron requires the bootloader order to be changed directly in the UEFI settings. This can be done with the following steps.

  • Pressing F12 when the Dell logo appears.
  • Go to GeneralBoot Sequence. Under the Boot Sequence section, select Ubuntu, then click Delete Boot Option.
  • Reboot your computer.

Deleting Ubuntu Partitions

After the previous steps, your computer should boot directly into Windows.

  1. Go to Start, right click Computer, then select Manage. Then select Disk Management from the sidebar.

    Disk Management

  2. Right-click your Ubuntu partitions and select "Delete". Check before you delete!

  3. Then, right-click the partition that is on the Left of the free space. Select "Extend Volume". Go through the Wizard and Finish it.

    Extend Volume Wizard

  4. Done!

Note from Tanner: If you are using an extended partition, you might have to remove the big extended partition to make the space unallocated.