So you took the great plunge and tried out Linux by dual-booting Linux Mint and Windows 10? And for some reason now you decided to undo everything such as uninstall Linux Mint, clean up grub (bootloader), and revert your PC to Windows only state like it was before? Being a Linux lover, I’m hoping your step could be because you were playing around on Linux and something went wrong, and you want to start-all-over again from a clean slate.
In this article my focus is to give you step-by-step guide of uninstalling Linux on your computer with minimal resources and time, and without spending a penny.
Remove Linux Mint and Restore Windows 10
A: Backup Personal Data from the Linux Partition
Before you jump on uninstalling Linux Mint, make sure you have backed up any personal downloads and data to a external hard disk or USB! I know you will, but just in case you are in hurry and forgot about it!
B: Restore Windows MBR
Linux Mint installs GRUB bootloader to handle which OS you will boot into. Now that you want to remove Linux Mint, there is no need of GRUB anymore and your PC should directly boot into Windows like it used to before you installed Linux Mint. In this step, we will remove GRUB and restore Windows MBR (Master Boot Record).
1. Boot into Windows 10.
2. Type ‘Recovery’ in the programs search box and launch ‘Recovery Options’.
3. You should be on ‘Recovery’ section in the left pane. Click on ‘Restart now’ in the ‘Advanced startup’ section.
4. Click ‘Troubleshoot’.
5. Click ‘Advanced Options’.
6. Click ‘Command Prompt’.
7. Your computer will boot into GRUB one last time! Select Windows 10 and continue.
8. Windows 10 will launch Command Prompt and it will ask you to login. The user must have administrator rights.
9. In the Command Prompt, type the following command and hit enter. You should see message ‘The operation completed successfully’. This means GRUB is now deleted and replaced with Windows Master Boot Record.
10. Type ‘exit’ and hit enter.
11. Click ‘Turn off your PC’.
12. Switch ON the PC. Your computer now should boot straight into Windows 10.
C. Delete Linux Mint Partition
Now that you have reset the boot record, all you have to do now is to delete the Linux Mint partition and the SWAP partition (if you had created it), so that you can gain the hard disk space back.
1. Boot into Windows 10 again.
2. Type ‘Disc Management’ in the taskbar search box and launch ‘Create and format hard disk partitions’.
3. Now you should recogize which is Windows partition, and which are Linux Mint and SWAP partitions. One quick way of identification is to see the format. Windows will be NTFS file system, while Linux Mint and SWAP partitions will be shown as blank as Windows can’t read the ext3 (Linux file system). You won’t even see Volume labels of the Linux partitions. And since Windows can’t read it, you will see 100% free space left even though there is entire Linux Mint OS still there! In my test PC, the first two partitions are Linux – the 46.05 GB is the main ext3 partition and the 2.78 GB is the SWAP partition. C: is my Windows partition evident from NTFS file system. Don’t do anything with the ‘System Reserved partition’. It is needed for Windows.
4. Right-click on each Linux partitions and select ‘Delete Volume’. In my case I would delete the first two partitions.
5. Windows will give a warning that the selected partition is not created by Windows. Go ahead and click ‘Yes’.
6. After deleting the Linux and SWAP partitions, you will see GREEN color code showing free partition.
7. You can now right click on this ‘Free Space’ partition and select ‘New Simple Volume’ and proceed with the wizard to create a new partition. Make sure to select NTFS file system as format so that Windows can read it and you can use that partition again.
Were you successful in deleting Linux Mint and restoring Windows? Do let us know in comments below.