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I tried to upgrade from 12.04 to 12.10 and am encountering a problem with graphics drivers.

My plan is to re-install 12.04.

Before I do that, I would like to copy some files from the machine. I'm able to boot successfully from a disk with 12.04, but I can't find my old home directory, as the only user in the home directory is ubuntu.

I've also tried to ssh into the machine, when it had booted (without graphics) but was unable to.

Is there a way to get to the old filesystem directory while booting from a CD? Any other suggestions?

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That should be fairly simple. Your files should be under /home/eric (assuming eric is the user name). If the file manager complains that you don't have permissions to copy them, open it with admin privileges with gksu nautilus. – mikewhatever Jun 15 '13 at 20:52
The only user I find in the home directory is the ubuntu user, when I boot from the CD. I'll add this information to the question. – Eric Wilson Jun 15 '13 at 20:58
That must be the /home of the Live CD then, and what you need is the /home on the HDD. Look for partitions in the leftside panel of the file browser, if any, they should be clickable and accessible. – mikewhatever Jun 15 '13 at 21:27
Thanks. I can get some things, but am running into permissions problems. Suggestions? – Eric Wilson Jun 16 '13 at 1:40

Running from a live DVD, your normal system partitions and directories are displaced to make way for the live boot and user.

On the Xubuntu 13.04 Live DVD that I had handy, your normal disks show as icons along the left edge of the Live screen. You can mount the disk containing your dead (not "live," you know) user's home directory from the icon's contextual menu and find that user somewhere under /media. Obviously your live disc doesn't have that convenience.

From the command line, locate the correct partition perhaps using sudo fdisk -l or lsblk /dev/sda, then mount it. In my case the Live DVD identifies as /dev/sdb, my normal system disk as /dev/sda, and there I have a separate /home partition at /dev/sda6, so

mount /dev/sda6 /mnt/

makes my dead user's home directory available from live DVD at /mnt/<user>.

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