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How To Boot Windows and Ubuntu on Multiple Drives Without Grub Dependency

Ubuntu 5

In this article, we will delve into a comprehensive guide on how to boot Windows and Ubuntu on multiple drives without Grub dependency. This guide is especially helpful if you have installed your Ubuntu on an external drive and your Windows fails to boot without it. We’ll explore two main solutions: installing Grub on your primary SSD and using a Windows recovery disc to repair the MBR.

Installing Grub on Your Primary SSD

The first solution involves reinstalling Grub on your primary SSD. This makes it the default bootloader, allowing you to boot into Windows without the external drive connected.

Step 1: Boot into Live CD/USB

Start by booting into a live CD/USB of Ubuntu. Once you’ve booted into the live environment, open a terminal.

Step 2: Identify the Ubuntu Partition

To identify the partition where your Ubuntu installation is located, run the command:

sudo parted -l

This command lists out all the partitions on your drives. Identify the partition where your Ubuntu is installed. For the purpose of this guide, we’ll refer to it as /dev/sdX (replace X with the appropriate letter).

Step 3: Install Grub on Primary SSD

To install Grub on your primary SSD, run the following commands:

sudo mount /dev/sdXY /mnt
sudo grub-install --boot-directory=/mnt/boot /dev/sdX
sudo update-grub

In these commands, replace X with the appropriate letter and Y with the partition number where Ubuntu is installed.

The sudo mount /dev/sdXY /mnt command mounts the Ubuntu partition to the /mnt directory.

The sudo grub-install --boot-directory=/mnt/boot /dev/sdX command installs Grub to the specified boot directory on your primary SSD.

Finally, sudo update-grub updates the Grub bootloader with the new configuration.

Step 4: Reboot Your System

After running these commands, reboot your system. Remember to set your primary SSD as the first boot option in your BIOS settings.

Using a Windows Recovery Disc to Repair the MBR

If you prefer to keep Grub on the external drive but want to be able to boot into Windows without it, you can use a Windows recovery disc to repair the Master Boot Record (MBR) on your primary SSD. This will restore the Windows bootloader as the default.

Step 1: Create a Windows Recovery Disc

If you don’t have a Windows recovery disc, you can create one or use a Windows installation disc.

Step 2: Boot from the Recovery Disc

Boot from the recovery disc or installation disc and choose the “Repair your computer” option.

Step 3: Select Command Prompt from Recovery Options

From the recovery options, select Command Prompt.

Step 4: Repair the MBR

To repair the MBR, run the following commands:

bootrec.exe /fixmbr
bootrec.exe /fixboot
bootrec.exe /RebuildBcd

The bootrec.exe /fixmbr command fixes the MBR and makes Windows the default bootloader.

The bootrec.exe /fixboot command writes a new boot sector onto the system partition.

The bootrec.exe /RebuildBcd command rebuilds the Boot Configuration Data (BCD) which is used by the bootloader.

Step 5: Restart Your System

After running these commands, restart your system. Remember to set your primary SSD as the first boot option in your BIOS settings.

By following either of these methods, you should be able to boot into Windows on your primary SSD without the external drive connected and still have the option to boot into Ubuntu when the external drive is connected. Remember to adjust your BIOS boot order accordingly. This guide provides a comprehensive solution to booting Windows and Ubuntu on multiple drives without Grub dependency.

Can I use this guide if I have Windows installed on my primary SSD and Ubuntu on a separate internal drive?

Yes, you can use this guide if you have Windows installed on your primary SSD and Ubuntu on a separate internal drive. The steps will be the same, but you will need to identify the partition where Ubuntu is installed on your internal drive instead of an external drive.

Can I use a Windows recovery disc to repair the MBR if I don’t have a Windows installation disc?

Yes, you can use a Windows recovery disc to repair the MBR even if you don’t have a Windows installation disc. The steps to repair the MBR using a recovery disc are the same as using an installation disc.

Will reinstalling Grub on my primary SSD delete any of my data?

No, reinstalling Grub on your primary SSD will not delete any of your data. It only modifies the bootloader configuration to make it the default. Your data on both Windows and Ubuntu partitions will remain intact.

Do I need to have both Windows and Ubuntu installed to follow this guide?

Yes, you need to have both Windows and Ubuntu installed to follow this guide. The purpose of this guide is to configure the bootloader to allow you to boot into either operating system. If you only have one of them installed, this guide may not be applicable.

Can I use this guide if I have a different Linux distribution instead of Ubuntu?

The steps in this guide are specific to Ubuntu, but they may also work for other Linux distributions. However, there might be slight differences in the commands or paths mentioned. It is recommended to consult the documentation or support resources specific to your Linux distribution for accurate instructions.

Will changing the boot order in BIOS affect my ability to boot into Windows or Ubuntu?

Yes, changing the boot order in BIOS can affect your ability to boot into Windows or Ubuntu. Make sure to set your primary SSD as the first boot option in your BIOS settings to ensure that the system boots into the desired operating system.

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