I have read so many write-ups and articles about efi boot issues. I need help!

Dell Inspiron laptop. Upgraded the 1TB SSD to 2 and upgraded from Win 10-11. It had slot for NVMe so a added one of those too. Can’t recall if it as F34 or 35 but Fedora just set everything up nice as can be. Booted off the Fedora Grub2 menu an it was sweet as computers can be. Online migrates to F39 I’m running today.

I did a rather bonehead thing and installed rEFInd without fully understanding what it was. It happily bricked EVERYTHING. Badly. I could boot into live Fedora DVD (using the Mate-Compiz spin ATM), manually mount the key points, chroot and work in Fedora and was actually able to get Fedora booting natively on it’s on bootloader. Windows 11 will not. It just drops into that lame ‘self-repair’ thing that really does little.

In the process I discovered that Bitlocker hit Windows, but not by me. Thus I have no keys. Mickeysoft says they don’t either without wiping all my data. They can’t tell me how/why my drive was encrypted without my knowledge and consent in the first place.

So I’ve been reading everything I can up here about ths yet nothing helps.
Fedora set up when I added it:

Blockquote
NAME FSTYPE FSVER LABEL UUID FSAVAIL FSUSE% MOUNTPOINTS
loop0
sda
├─sda1 vfat FAT32 ESP 6CCB-9CD3
├─sda2
├─sda3 BitLocker 2
├─sda4 ntfs EAE292B6E292868B
├─sda5 ntfs Image 789C3B219C3AD978
└─sda6 ntfs DELLSUPPORT D82AF11C2AF0F7F8
sr0
nvme0n1
├─nvme0n1p1 vfat FAT32 ESP C1FA-6F98 577.9M 3% /boot/efi
├─nvme0n1p2 ext4 1.0 BOOT dd201e1b-10aa-4d9f-8ab0-f33c7194ef92 616.2M 30% /boot
└─nvme0n1p3 LVM2_member LVM2 001 OZy6ok-z4qF-Nsrg-7Gsf-JAlt-NU30-fpr9kF
├─fedora_localhost–live-root xfs ROOT 2b6ba3e1-500f-49a2-b09d-854a2509b7dc 19.3G 72% /
└─fedora_localhost–live-home xfs HOME 6e1dd346-c556-4f4a-b32d-8b84aa5ebd24 603.8G 30% /home (well blokquote didn’t format well) and it’s been great until rEFInd.

It’s frustrating - some articles differ as to the correct location of key items, like boot.conf, kernels, initramfs etc so it’s hard to know what’s correct. But it’s been impossible to get Windows back a sensible existence.

What’s the best and most correct way to try to recover from this with minimal risk to data? I’ve tried everything but have only managed to bring back Fedora, and back her up to a rather large RAID machine I used to use when I was build custom Android system images.

Please help!!!

Windows 11 encrypts by default with bitlocker. The unlock key is put in the TPM.

You have to take action to backup the key.
There are choices like save to usb stick or save to your microsoft account.

As far as I know you cannot recover your Windows partition without the recovery key.
I killed a Windows 11 this way recently and had to reinstall Windows.
Then backed up the recovery code!

It stinks, as usual I for Microsoft . Strangely, if I boot Into one of the non-network enabled command line modes I can see all the data. I’m not done trying since there’s a lot of automotive diagnostics and performance tuning stuff on there. Photos and music are secondary .

It would be so much easier if I could find the incantation that will simply repair the EFI…

Didn’t Mcirosoft do the right thing here and encrypt the data so that a stolen laptop/PC keeps it data safe?

I don’t know how to fix the EFI side of things.

I just wiped out the the EFI slice on the Windows disk . Am going to try a full reinstall of Fedora’s GRUB 2 and hope she sets it up like she did the first time. Booted both from GRUB 2… We’ll see I guess.

Not in I had no knowledge of, or way to obtain and secure the keys. Not by a long shot. Not even a close one, but junk like that is just Microsoft’s M. O . 30 years of it and I am so sick of it …

If you are lucky enough to still be able to access your data, the very first thing I would do is attach a backup drive and use something like xcopy /e <source> <destination> to recover the files (I don’t use Windows much these days, so I’m not exactly sure what the right parameters would be for xcopy; I’m just going from memory that /e means “everything”).

I think the MS Windows installation DVD has such a boot recovery option. However, I’d expect that to make things worse in the case of an encrypted HD, ergo my earlier advise.

IIUC, signing in, even just once, with your online “Microsoft” account will activate Bitlocker and start encrypting your HD. The only way to “opt out” of Bitlocker is to create a “local” account and never use a Microsoft cloud-connected account. It is also very difficult and non-intuitive to create a local account (I’m not sure it is even possible anymore). At one time, you could create a local account by finding the small text that says something to the effect of “I intend to join this PC to a domain at a later time” (paraphrased from memory).

It’s pretty much the same as what you get booting into recovery from the desktop. There isn’t much useful stuff there - though I could be wrong. I’ve been a hard core UNIX/Linux/BSD for so long I really don’t know much else. Windows for me is just a platform for auto diagnostics and performance tuning. There’s a bunch of tune files I really want.

I’m just wasting your time. Apologies. I would love to meet someone that knew how to do this though

Windows is back! Now to get them to play well together once again!

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And after 2 weeks of hell, scratching and clawing - trying to dig myself out of that hole, They’re best friends - just like when I first set the machine up 2+ years ago. I must have learned something from all of this, though I’m not sure what it is yet; except that most likely rEFInd will never happen again!

Thanks much y’all

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