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Isn't it time to get rid of this answer and enforce the policy of closing Windows questions, here, here, ... as off-topic?

I'd rather leave a comment "We're sorry, but this site is all about Ubuntu and the people here are very good at dual-booting and removing Windows, but not very good at getting it back once it was removed... However, on http://superuser.com, a sister site to Ask Ubuntu, they're very good at deleting Ubuntu and installing Windows, so you might be better off there. ;-)" and close the question as off-topic.

If it means me closing all the answers that link there as off-topic, give me some moderator tools for a week and I'll happily do it for you!

Being slightly cross with all the Windows questions here on Ask Ubuntu...>:-) So cross that I'm willing to donate from my rep to all the people that would lose rep by deleting that question.

  • Try to help if you can. Ignore them if you can not. Leave a comment. Vote to close (community run site). If it is closed it can be re-opened with cause. – Panther Aug 12 '15 at 17:17
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    @bodhi.zazen: I was just annoyed... With the sleuth of Win10 Qs around lately, I got cranky. ;-) – Fabby Aug 12 '15 at 18:55
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    I understand. I would like to see computers shipped with Linux pre-installed. People would get frustrated fast if they had to download a windows DVD and track down the drivers. – Panther Aug 12 '15 at 19:15
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I don't believe that question is a good example of a question that isn't about Ubuntu. Ubuntu is currently installed, the longhand way of reading the question could be: What do I need to do to Ubuntu to get rid of Ubuntu and prepare for the reinstallation of Windows?

And that might very logically have plenty of Ubuntu-related things in its answer. You might need to unmount the firewire matrix from /proc/, or defragment the boot partition, or patch the 802.11 antenna array for parity switching. The person asking doesn't know. That's why they're asking. In short, that the answer doesn't neccessarily need to be Ubuntu related, doesn't mean the question isn't on-topic, even if only tangentially.

I also have to think about this from the perspective of what makes the internet —and AU— better. Neither deleting a furiously popular question with good answers or even just shoving it to another site (where its search exposure will suffer) accomplishes this. They're bad options that tick an administrative box.

And even getting rid of answers that aren't Ubuntu —just because they aren't Ubuntu— seems a little rigid and unhelpful to users who use the site. You've targeted an answer which does its very best to be helpful for the problem at hand. That's not something we should punish or push away.


The second example is a better candidate for going elsewhere. It's as much about BIOS as anything else.

The third example is data recovery and with the current OS being Ubuntu so is on-topic here, IMO. At the very least options can be presented.

And the last one seems to be more about creating a bootable Windows USB. I'm not sure if that's from another Windows install or Ubuntu, so again, potentially on-topic.


To summarise, keep an open mind and wear sunscreen.

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    I'll wear a radiation suit! ;-) – Fabby Aug 12 '15 at 16:37
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    It's like a shop that doesn't have what you want but won't tell you where you can get it. All you get is an unhappy customer who will never return to that shop. At least if the customer goes away with a memory of happy service, he/she may return. You can't retain a Windows user against his or her will but you can leave a memory of those nice Ubuntu/Linux people. – Simon Hoare Aug 13 '15 at 5:44
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    I'm forced to agree with your assessment of the example questions. – Elder Geek Aug 13 '15 at 13:11
  • @ElderGeek youtube.com/watch?v=eb1A4KmVJME – Oli Aug 13 '15 at 13:24
  • @SimonHoare not really. A more proper analogy would be: you own a restaurant, a client who you've seen coming some times before comes in and tells you "your food is terrible, shame on you, now you must suggest me where to find a competitor of yours where to eat". – Andrea Lazzarotto Jul 31 '16 at 11:39
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Lets put some stuff straight. The question has a fundamental problem, which is that that question doesn't have a single correct answer, but a long tail of "things that may or may not apply to you", which may have something to do with the edit that was done after it was answered which left it in its current state, the original question could be solved by just searching for a Windows installation media and installing Windows over Ubuntu, but that doesn't work for everyone.

So, to remove Ubuntu you just have to remove the partition and configure the bootloader or install X (I tried to have a self answered question about "How to uninstall an OS?" on SU, but it didn't end well) and hope that the X installation routine takes care of stuff. There isn't a preparation to speak of that is not a generic "do backups of whatever important information of your system, if any", which is applicable to every software removal.

Lets put it this way:

Two users want to remove Ubuntu to install X, one of them just used Ubuntu for 5 minutes and decided that is not his thing, what is the advice you could give him? He could probably just start the installation process of whatever he is going to replace Ubuntu with, make sure it takes care of the bootloader and partitions and done. There wasn't any preparation to speak of, right?

What about a programmer for 10 years? First of all, you would expect him to know what they are supposed to do, but lets presume they don't. If you give him the same advice as above, you probably need to find some exorcist to dispel all the curses that that user threw at you after losing the file which is Good Code™.

I don't think is not a good question not because Windows, but because is fundamentally flawed in the way people would (and did) answer it: what specific preparations have people to do before removing Ubuntu is extremely dependent on the user habits and whatnot, and probably doesn't go beyond "backup" and install X however you are supposed to do it. There isn't a single correct answer that would apply to 70% of the cases for the first part, and the one that does (backup your stuff) is just too short for the Q&A to actually work out.

If the user had asked "how to migrate my personal files on my /home to a X installation?" that would be interesting and answerable, with different tactics that they could follow (for this specific case, Windows creates a english and localized directory of anything under your %USERDATA% (I think that's how its called the variable that points to your user directory), so just copying the directories over should suffice, presuming you always use the home subdirectories that xdg creates).

And just as an extra food for through, the people that finds the question thinks that is more unhelpful than helpful according to anonymous feedback, and the most upvoted answer is an almost 50/50 leaning towards helpful. Take it with a grain of salt, because despite of having 450k views, the total score of everything doesn't reach the 1k votes, which I suspect that people don't even bother to leave any feedback at all, because that's not what they are looking for.

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