I was stupid and installed Ubuntu on top of a Windows 7 and Windows 8 dual boot configuration. The result was that Ubuntu was fine, but those systems were lost. Googling, I found I could create a USB boot from an ISO with Rufus from a running Windows system. The other ways didn’t work. It didn’t work from Linux or from a Mac (with either unetbootin or using dd).
However, I could not recover the partitions in the recovery section, it just failed. Fortunately http://superuser.com/questions/302603/problem-recreating-bcd-on-windows-7-64bit-the-requested-system-device-cannot-b pointed out the problem.
On these late machines, you can boot from a USB 3.0 slot, but Windows 7 does not support USB 3.0, so it fails to write. You need to put it into a USB 2.0 slot and voila it works!