“GRUB” is the default boot loader of Ubuntu Linux (including almost all other GNU/Linux distributions). Whether you only use Ubuntu or dual boot it with Windows, or, if you’re a bit of a wild geek 😉 who have installed more than two operating systems in your PC, then GRUB is the small utility that lets you choose your preferred operating system at the very beginning of your PC’s startup process (just after BIOS does its thing ;-)).
Although the installation of GRUB is pretty much automatic as the OS takes care it for you (from detecting other operating systems to installing it into your HDD etc). But later, if you wanted to manually remove it and recover the original boot-loader, say of Windows, then unless you have the installation disk of Windows, it can be a bit hectic.
Whether you have more than two operating systems installed (Windows, Ubuntu and Fedora for instance) and wanted to get rid of a certain operating system (let’s say, Fedora) with ease (requires only two clicks!, usually) or just wanna restore the original boot loader of Windows, then you’d love this tool called “OS-Uninstaller”.
It’s created by the famous dude known as “YannUbuntu” (the developer of the “Boot-Repair” utility).
Few main features …
Sorry to repeat the same thing again and again, but just for the sake of clarification …
*. It supports removing only selected OS boot list entries in the GRUB.
*. Or completely remove the GRUB and replace it with the original MBR (master boot record) that was there before installing Ubuntu.
*. It also automatically re-formats the partition of the OS that you just removed into NTFS (default) or Ext3, depending on the OS that was there before.
*. Change the GRUB menu’s display seconds.
*. Backup the partition table and the boot sectors (just in case).
*. It also lets you manually change the “MBR” and its installed location of HDD and the partition it’s linking for booting. But for most users, you don’t have to “tweak” any of these :).
Please remember that, for it to work, you’ll have to make sure to run it an operating system, other than the one you want get rid of. For instance, if you have installed MS Windows, Ubuntu and Fedora and want to get rid of Ubuntu (oh come on! :P), then you’ll have to use it in Fedora (since it doesn’t support running on top of Windows).
However, I don’t know if there are any packages for Fedora at this moment (it’s a bit new tool), so the best solution is, just like with “Boot-repair”, boot your computer using an Ubuntu LiveCD, DVD or a USB drive and follow the below steps to install it (within the Live session) and then once installed, you can perform your preferred tasks.
So, after booting to an Ubuntu live session (supports: Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot, 11.04 Natty Narwhal, 10.10 and 10.04), open your Terminal window and enter the below commands to install “OS-Uninstaller”.
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:yannubuntu/os-uninstaller
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install os-uninstaller
Once installed, you can search using its name in the Unity’s Dash or simply put the below command in the Terminal window to open it.
The rest is pretty much automatic. And all you have to do is to select the operating system that you want to remove and click on the “Apply” button (if you want more options, then click on the “Advanced Options” button) and it’ll do the rest.
If want to cancel it, then click on the “Quit” button.
Does it work? is it safe to use?
I tested it twice. First I removed Ubuntu 11.10 and restored the original boot-loader of Windows (I’m using Windows 7). And the second time I removed Window from the GRUB menu and re-installed GRUB containing only Ubuntu. And in both occasions, it worked just fine.
But since it’s kind of a new tool, there could be bugs, so please use it with your own risk. Also, please remember that, by default it automatically formats HDD partition of the OS being removed, so the data in that partition will automatically be deleted!.
However, under the “Advanced Options”, you can disable it by removing the check mark for “Format the partition sda2 into: NTFS (fast)”.
And as a safety precaution, once you’ve made the changes and clicks the “Apply” button, reboot your PC before making any other changes using “OS-Uninstaller” again.
So as an ending note, if you’ve been looking for easy to use tool to remove the GRUB (or remove its entries) in Ubuntu, then “OS-Uninstaller” will most definitely come in handy. And “YannUbuntu”, if you’re listening, thank you! :).
To learn more, please visit this official “OS-Uninstaller” Ubuntu Wiki page.