upgrade failure due a computer crash

Asked by Mike Taylor

my computer crashed during the upgrade to the latest version, appeared to go into and endless loop, I left it twelve hours but nothing changed. I now have a unbootable system. Can I use recovery mode to return to normal? At worst I need to recover my email database from the crashed installation, and as you would expect i did not have a backup..............silly billy!!! one of these things you are always going to do tomorrow!

please note I am a non geek

best regards

Mike Taylor

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thom (tsk) said :

Well Mike,

recovery won't do much (if you're not an expert) since it crashed in the middle of an upgrade (9.04 to 9.10 right?)

first of all you need to get all of your own personal data back.

therefore you need the install-cd and a backupmedium like an external harddisk or an USB-flashdrive with enough room to store your personal data......we're going to do this the safe way.
If you not already have a copy of the Ubuntu 9.10 install-cd, download it and burn it to cd.

start by booting from the installation CD and choose the live-cd option.

when you see the live-cd desktop, go to "locations" -> "computer"
open the folder "filesystem" ......open the folder "home"
if all is well, you should find a folder there with your name on it....open it.
make a new folder here that you call "dotfiles"
select from the menu "view" -> "show hidden files"

you see a lot of files appearing which names start with a dot
move (not copy) all these dot-files tot "dotfiles" (see it as a backup of your settings)
leave this window open, you will need it in a moment again.

plug-in your external drive and open it when it appears on the desktop

now copy all files and folders from your own home folder (the one we left open) to your USB-Harddisk (or flashdrive)

if all is well you have all your personal stuff saved now

unmount (safe disconnect) and unplug your external medium until we need it again
(yes, better safe than sorry...when it is unplugged you cannot accidentily overwrite is)


second thing to do is a complete/fresh install from the live-CD.

so first of all you are going to wipe your disk completely
(but not if you have also another OS on it like win-XP or something)

"Desktop" -> "Administration" -> "Disk utilities"
select your harddisk (top of the tree) and erase everything

reboot and install ubuntu 9.10 the normal way you're used to.

when everything is ready and you are logged in again you can restore your data.

connect your external medium

"Locations" -> "computer"
open "filesystem"....open "home"...open your personal folder

copy everything from your external backupmedium in this folder


oh wait....your evolution mail settings ?
copy the dotfile .evolution from the dotfolders to your homefolder and it's done

oh...firefox settings ?...yes you guessed right....same stuff....but beware
don't copy all the dotfiles back to your home folder...only the ones you REALLY need

hope this wasn't a too big strain on your nerves...good luck :-)

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