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How to reset a HDD to original settings?

March 28Hits:1

I created a virtual hard drive (VHD), size 30 GB, shrink from C: partition, and installed Windows 8 Consumer Preview on it.

Before installing Windows 8, I was dual-booting Windows 7 with Ubuntu.

The VHD file is stored on the C: partition. After I installed Windows 8 CP on it, I had 3 operating systems: Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8 and Ubuntu.

I wanted to delete all operating systems on my HDD and merge the VHD to the C: Partition, so I created a bootable USB drive with Windows 8 Pro and booted from it. When the installer listed all partitions on my HDD, I clicked on the C: partition and clicked on "Format". This has led to my problem, and I have some questions that I have been researching for a week, but to no avail. The questions are:

  1. How can I get my VHD back? When I boot to Windows 8 Pro, there are still 3 operating systems listed for me to select: Windows 8 (which is the OS I'm using), and the others are Windows 8 (volume 2 \VHD\win8.vhd, I have no idea why this still appears because my volume 2 was completely formatted) and Ubuntu. These 2 operating systems cannot be used.
  2. If I can get my VHD partition back, how can I merge it with the C: partition?
  3. is there any software that is able to reset a HDD to original settings? Because I have installed Windows 8 and since then, I've lost the F8 menu option.


It would seem that you may be in a difficult situation here. When you formatted the C: drive you essentially told the file system that it was okay to overwrite everything that was there originally, including your Win8 VHD. However, the files (or parts of them) may still be accessible.

For your second question. The bootloader is left in tact with this type of procedure, which is why you are seeing the old choices.

The first thing I would do is take a look at the current partition structure with something like GParted. This will tell you how things are set up and might give some clues about the OS's.

If you are interested in recovering any files you may have some luck with Recuva or Unstoppable Copier.

If you are interested in completely wiping your partition structure and starting from scratch, you should be able to use the Windows installation CD or I think you should be able to with GParted. That should wipe out the bootloader as well.

To fix the multiple options to boot to, check out these instructions. While written for Windows XP, the fundamentals should still carry over to Windows 8.

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