Reinstalling Windows XP on an Acer Aspire One with Linux on it

About a year ago I got myself an Acer Aspire One, because it had a keyboard I could touch-type on normally. I got a Windows XP version although I was only planning to run Linux on it, because I could only get a Linux powered one with an 8 GB SSD. I thought that was a little small for my needs.

When I installed Linux I'd made sure to leave the restore partition alone, I might need it if I wanted Windows XP again. No install disk was provided. Fair enough, the device doesn't even have a drive for it, but what if I wanted to run Windows and install a bigger hard drive?

It was time to restore Windows. I also wanted to keep running Linux on it, so I backed up my home dir and ran the restore program. This was easy, it was an option in my Linux bootloader, which thought the restore partition was a Windows 2000/NT install. However it didn't work because it expected the partions right how they were before I installed Linux.

So I fired up a live Linux USB drive (Ubuntu 9.10) and changed the partitions. You can use something like Gparted for this, it's on most live distributions. Then the bootloader didn't work any more, so I couldn't start the restore option. What you usually do is grab your Windows install disk and use the recovery console's Here's what I did to fix everything:

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26 Dec 2009
Tags: mbr, windows, linux, netbook
Categories: howto