A Need for Kubuntu Live CD Repair Tools

Repair and recovery tools continue to be difficult for inexperienced, and often experienced, users. Most top distros come with a Live CD that allow you to boot into a desktop and also install from it. That's great, but it should be just as easy to repair an existing installation. Unfortunately it's not so easy.

I upgraded a Kubuntu Feisty system to the latest packages this morning, rebooted, and received an error from Grub. There was no explaination other than "Error 17." Based on that most users should realize that Grub has a problem and needs to be fixed. The problem is figuring out how to repair it.

The Solution

If you install from a Live CD, chances are it's one tool you will think of it to debug and fix the problem. My first thought was to use it to reinstall Grub and potentially the kernel as well. But how? Most users won't know how to chroot.

It seems like a common sense approach to add a Repair icon right next to the Install link on the desktop. Diagnosis tools would be ideal, but even without those, giving the user the ability to directly access the packages on the target system to install, remove, reinstall, etc. would be a boon.

My specific problem was with Feisty which is still in beta, but my experience is similar to what happens to many other users using production systems as well. If the Kubuntu developers really want to make their distro a good one for new users then providing the ability to fix problems is essential.

One More Thing

While I'm at it, Adept needs support for "dpkg --configure -a." Why we expect users to close Adept, open Konsole, run that command, and then go back into Adept for any further package work is beyond me.

A need for Kubuntu Live CD Repair Tools

You said it all... the reason I am here is that I had an installation of Feisty (the last release before the final one) that I was happy with. I changed a few things related to the appearance and suddenly I have no desktop. I would love to repair that install with all the customisation, but I see no way to do it. I hope someone, somewhere read your blog and particularly that remark about dpkg --configure -a.


Forgotten password, is there anything that I can do?

password reset

You should be able to boot using a LiveCD, then via a root terminal, chroot into your system after mounting it. I haven't tried this, but it should work.

First open a terminal then type in the following code. Most lines should be able to copied verbatim, but the mount command may need to be modified for your system. This assumes that you are connecting to the first IDE hard drive. If your drive is something other than hda1 you'll need to change to the correct designator. Likewise, if your drive is formatted as something other than ext3 (like reiserfs or fat32) you'll need to change that word as well.

sudo su
mkdir /mnt/hd
mount /dev/hda1 -t ext3 /mnt/hd
chroot /mnt/hd

Once you've filled in your password, it's done. Your root password is changed. You should also be able to use passwd to change your user account as well.

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