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Recently, I installed Ubuntu 10 Netbook edition (on my netbook, yes, obvious). My battery died literally, while I was using Ubuntu.

Now, when I restart the computer, it seems that GRUB has duplicated all of the entries in the MBR that pertain to the partition that houses my Ubuntu install. For example:

Ubuntu ...
Ubuntu ... (Recovery Mode)
Ubuntu ...
Ubuntu ... (Recovery Mode)
Memtest ...
Memtest ...
Windows (Vista loader)
Windows (Windows 7 starter loader) 

When I try to access either of the two Ubuntu instances in the boot loader it presents me with an error akin to this:

...numbers... Kernel panic ... VFS unable to mount...

What I would like to do is:

Wipe out grub, and Ubuntu, and then reinstall Ubuntu (I really only use it for emacs and ess for R so there's nothing in the home directory that I need to backup)

How would I go about "resetting" my system? Or fixing the issue that I have.

Thanks in advance!


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up vote 4 down vote accepted

It seems like there is some issue with loading the initrd: possibly the GRUB configuration file is corrupt. If you want to try fixing your existing install, I would try the following:

  1. Boot from live CD or USB stick (the Ubuntu Wiki has instructions on how to prepare a bootable installation USB stick)

  2. Re-install GRUB; some instructions are available in this post.

However, if you don't have any valuable data on the disk, it may just be simpler to reinstall: just use the Ubuntu Live CD or a bootable USB key, wipe out your existing Linux partitions (using the "Manual partitioning scheme" in the installation; you can also let the installer "Use whole disk for Ubuntu" if you don't have Windows or other OSes on the disk), and then proceeed installing as usual.

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Thanks @Riccardo, I ended up rebooting from USB, deleting the partitions for the Ubuntu install, rebooting and reinstalling. – Brandon Bertelsen Oct 7 '10 at 13:02
Riccardo, it's a dual boot system, if I let it use the whole disk - wouldn't it remove the Windows install? – Brandon Bertelsen Oct 9 '10 at 5:10
@Brandon Yes, if you let it use the whole disk on a dual-boot system, it will also erase your Windows partitions. With the manual partition scheme you can select which partitions you want to use for Ubuntu (and mark them for re-formatting). – Riccardo Murri Oct 11 '10 at 11:51
Perhaps it would be a good idea to remove the recommendation to "Use whole disk for Ubuntu", I'm just thinking of the passerby who uses this part of the solution when they may not have intended to. – Brandon Bertelsen Oct 12 '10 at 2:38
@Brandon I've reworded the sentence, adding a caveat. Do you think it suffices? – Riccardo Murri Oct 12 '10 at 5:49

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