Perfect guide to delete Linux Mint and restore Windows

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.

Delete Linux Mint and restore Windows

 

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.

Windows 10 - Recovery Startup
Windows 10 – Recovery Startup

4. Click ‘Troubleshoot’.

Troubleshoot
Troubleshoot

5. Click ‘Advanced Options’.

Advanced Options
Advanced Options

6. Click ‘Command Prompt’.

Command Prompt
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.

bootrec /fixmbr

Command Prompt -Reset MBR command
Command Prompt -Reset MBR command

10. Type ‘exit’ and hit enter.

exit

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.

Windows Disk Management
Windows Disk Management

4. Right-click on each Linux partitions and select ‘Delete Volume’. In my case I would delete the first two partitions.

Delete Volume
Delete Volume

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.

Free Space
Free Space

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.

New NTFS Partition
New NTFS Partition


Were you successful in deleting Linux Mint and restoring Windows? Do let us know in comments below.

Kiran Kumar
Hi there! I'm Kiran Kumar, founder of FOSSLinux.com. I'm an avid Linux lover and enjoy hands-on with new promising distros. Currently, I'm using Ubuntu as a daily driver and run several other distros such as Fedora, Solus, Manjaro, Debian, and some new ones on my test PC and virtual machines. I have a day job as an Engineer, and this website is one of my favorite past time activities, especially during Winter ;). When I'm not writing for FOSSLinux, I'm seen biking and hiking on scenic trails. I hope you enjoy using this website as much as I do writing for it. Feedback from readers is something that inspires me to do more and spread Linux love!. If you find a time, drop me an email or feedback from the 'Contact' page. Or simply leave a comment below if you found this article useful. Have a good day!

13 COMMENTS

  1. When I follow all of the steps to restore the Windows MBR and finish by turning of the PC, I power it back on and the grub menu is still there.

    Is there anything I can do to fix this? Or am I ok to continue with the rest of the guide even though I’m still reaching the grub menu?

  2. can you help me ? Before i installed Linux mint 19.1, i’ve created a partition for it. during installation, i forgot to go to ‘something else’ check button. then, i think the Linux is installed in the same partition as Windows but i couldnt see any program files of Linux on Windows. i dont want to mess with the C: drives but now i’m worried. it still run as usual but can i at least retrieve all linux program files and start over the steps by reinstalling it back. thank you. it will be much of a help from you 🙂

  3. I would be more helpful to show how to add the free space as usable space for the Windows partition.
    I used Parted Magic to do just that.

  4. I followed the steps to remove GRUB and restore Windows MBR. I believe they worked fine as I now boot direct to Windows. However, trying to delete the Linix Mint Partitions did not work. Right clicking on the Linux partition did nor bring up ‘delete Volume’. What came up was a ‘help’ button. That suggested expanding the Windows partition, but when I tried that, the ‘expand’ option was grayed out. I really want to try this Linux system but need to find out what went wrong with the initial install. It sort of worked but its response tine was very slow. It seemed to take minutes before it would respond. All suggestions are welcome. Thanks

  5. This is great provided you installed linux along side windows using a dual boot scheme. However, for those off us who didn’t do so, and are now stuck with Linux as the only OS… kind of makes this guide less than useful. So far, there isn’t anything at all that can tell us how to remove linux all together, and reinstall windows as the OS.

  6. im not dual booting windows and linux i just have linux and i need to fully replace linux and go back to windows HOW

  7. I am in the same position. There was only one program that I like and it only runs in Windows or IOS-X. I have my Linux Mint as the only operating system. I am still checking , But it looks like the ONLY option may be to purchase a new HD! If anybody has had success in deleting Linux please let me know!!

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