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I recently discovered that running a Linux virtual machine is both cheap (RAM/CPU-wise) and easy; it seems like there's absolutely no need to have a dual-boot Windows/Linux machine (if this is not true - please tell me why!). That said, I would like to format my HDD's Linux partition and allocate that space to Windows. The only thing I'm worried about is the GRUB file, which (I assume) lives on the Linux partition, because I installed Linux second after Windows. Is it possible that by formatting the Linux partition I can damage the GRUB file and be unable to boot?

Details: Windows 7/Ubuntu 13.04 living on an SSD. When I turn on my computer the screen to choose an OS to boot to is the Ubuntu one (vivid purple color).

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Short answer is Yes, you'll damage your GRUB installation.

It doesn't matter where GRUB is located, on MBR (likely in your case) or on Linux partition, it needs /boot/grub directory to work which is (almost) always on your Linux partition. This is because the GRUB binary needs to be kept in a partition because it's too big for the MBR.

If you have separate /boot partition, you may keep it, and your GRUB will keep working, although if you select Ubuntu it won't boot.

Or you can boot from a Windows CD and "repair" the bootloader.

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I use lilo to rescue bootloader. Here is the well explained solution to your problem

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