Is there a way to restore Ubuntu without a clean re-install?

Asked by Garret72 on 2007-10-01

I am new to Linux but loving Ubuntu and its ease of use. But I some how managed to install something via synaptic that has some how broken my bootup sequence and I end up looking at a black screen with a revolving cursor icon. A blue screen came up once saying that my XDesktop was broken. Oh, and when it starts up now, the splash screen says edubuntu. Is there a way to "restore" Ubuntu's package list back to its initial install list with out having to completely reinstall the whole system? I think I might know what have broken things but have no idea about how to go in and remove those packages. Thanks!

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Wrwrwr (wrwrwr) said : #1

No automatic way that i would know about.

But if you more or less know what's wrong, you can boot in recovery mode (press escape when "GRUB Loading" message appears) and try to fix that.

To remove a package from the console, do:
sudo apt-get remove <package name>

If you would say what went wrong, maybe i can help more. At which phase of startup do you get that cursor?

Garret72 (garret72) said : #2

The system hangs right after the edubuntu logo shows. Then the screen goes black with a little spinning cursor. I found that if I reboot into the "safe mode", login, sudo xstart, and edubuntu runs, but all the changes from earlier, when it was ubuntu, are gone. I tried to see what I might have installed that caused all this but all the gnome stuff that I click on is linked somehow to ubuntu-desktop and that if I remove this package, the desktop will go away too. It seems. If a reinstall is needed, thats ok, just wondering if there were and easier/quicker way to do it. Reinstalling will likely teach me something else anyway.

Wrwrwr (wrwrwr) said : #3

Things that would cause ubuntu-desktop to be removed probably were there from the beginning.

You could also try to reinstall some packages:
sudo apt-get --reinstall install ubuntu-desktop gdm xorg xserver-xorg

Or just try to reconfigure some:
sudo dpkg-reconfigure xserver-xorg

The packages i've listed are just some wide guesses it's hard to tell what causes your desktop not to load really. Maybe you can find some hints in some logs, in /var/log/Xorg.0.log or /var/log/dmesg for example.

You most probably could make it without reinstalling. Unless you mess really bad with the packaging system it's almost always possible. However finding out what needs to be installed, what removed and what reconfigured may require a lot of work.

Garret72 (garret72) said : #4

I installed Kubuntu and that allowed me to login now and all my stuff was there again. Like you said, figuring out what to get rid off and reconfigure would likely require a lot of work, so I think I will just reinstall and be more careful this time. Plan to use AptonCD this time to back up my system when I get it to where I want and then can just go back to that point if I need to in the future. Thanks so much for your help and suggestions!

jameson (jameson737) said : #5

I think Sbackup if another good option to backup the system from time to time.