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I accidently removed my entire /usr directory thanks to RVM. I can still use the terminal prompt with Ctrl+Alt+F6, but I don't have any sudo (I guess it's because of the missing /usr).

Is there any way to recover my files?, I didn't reboot yet. If not how can I make sudo and the other things work again without completly reinstalling the OS? I'm runnig Ubuntu 12.04.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you have backups => Yes

If you haven't made backups, start making them while you remember why it is important.

I think the easiest solution is to make a copy of your home directory and /etc onto an external disk, then detach the external disk and do a reinstall of the system. If you have enough storage space on an external disk:

  • start a liveCD
  • copy all files to external disk or at least /home and /etc
  • reïnstall
  • copy the files from your backup to the new install
  • compare the config files in /etc with the ones in your backup
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Alright, then I'll do a complete reinstallation again. It's just a bit frustrating because I keep destroying my system every few weeks . :S – js-coder May 4 '12 at 20:42
You can wait for a little while to check for other answers. And this is exactly why I advise to make regular backups. – jippie May 4 '12 at 20:45
I was busy making one but i got the same advice: reinstall! Just think of it as a lesson learnd :) – Rinzwind May 4 '12 at 20:47
Also you're obviously using root privileges way too often. Try to minimize that to the very least possible. See it as a challange :) – jippie May 4 '12 at 20:48

Easiest method: backup your own files from a live cd and re-install. It is also the most efficient and less time consuming.

Difficult methods:

  • you can install a Ubuntu system on another system and copy the files from that system over to your machine.
  • Use a data recovery tool like R-Studio for Linux to recover it.

    R-Studio for Linux recovers files:

    • Deleted from the computer and emptied from the Trash
    • Corrupted due to a virus, power failure or sudden shutdown
    • From disks that have been Re-formatted to the same file system or a different file system
    • Damaged and have bad sectors-R-Studio for Linux creates an image of the entire disk and recovers it from there to prevent further physical damage to the disk
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