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I did an update on Ubuntu, and that landed me with some graphics problem and ultimately into shell.

Is there something like SANDBOX on which you could try out something and rollback if not liked ?

Please help.. !

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Explain.. a bit..! – Yugal Jindle Aug 7 '11 at 14:01
up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you hold left-shift immediately after BIOS you should see a menu asking you what you want to boot to. This is the grub bootloader which usually just selects the latest kernel.

If you then select the latest "recovery mode", that should present you with another menu which should allow you to pick faisafeX which again, presents another menu which lets you use the most bog-standard drivers possible. This might let you temporarily get back into a graphical setting. There are also options for resetting configurations in this deepest menu which might also be worth a go.

If that doesn't hail any success, the update that broke things may have been a new kernel version. In grub try selecting the second non-recovery item. If that boots through, you might just need to select this manually each boot, and of course, file a bug report on Launchpad against the Linux project so people know there's an issue.

Either way, actually, what you're doing needs to end in a bug report or nothing is going to get fixed.

As for protecting yourself against these issues in the future the only viable methods for major system things (like graphics) is to keep some sort of backup from before you update. This either means:

  • Taking a full disk image with a tool like Clonezilla, or
  • Using a filesystem like btrfs (which is now fairly stable) that will let you take live snapshots of the system, and roll back to the old system.

I freely admit that neither is a convenient solution. The first requires booting into a live-CD environment before you can take the image and the second requires reinstallation and reformatting the disk to btrfs (I don't think there is a nice conversion tool) besides having to learn the process for taking and restoring snapshots.

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So, no SANDBOX yet.... that should be next big thing in Linux ! – Yugal Jindle Aug 8 '11 at 4:42
I doubt there'l ever be a sandbox for updates specifically because it's not required 99% of the time and it eats a lot of disk space... But the adoption of btrfs as the default filesystem (not sure when that'l happen) is the first real step to making it possible for users to hack in. – Oli Aug 8 '11 at 12:44

It's rare that system updates breaks your graphics because of the testing done before. Should such an update break your system, you should definitively report it as bug. A sandbox for playing can be set up using VirtualBox.

virtualbox Install virtualbox

VirtualBox is virtualization software. Your physical machine is the host, a VirtualBox instance (a virtual machine) is a the guest.

You can install your OS (Ubuntu) in that virtual machine and create snapshots. Should you want to try new software or want to mess with your configuration, you have not to worry about having a broken system after it because you can restore snapshots should anything go wrong.

share|improve this answer
Well, I actually wanted to say.. a sandbox like what google-chrome-os possesses. – Yugal Jindle Aug 7 '11 at 14:02
With virtualbox I doubt he can play with video driver. And cannot (easily) virtualize an already installed system. – enzotib Aug 7 '11 at 14:22
A sandbox is gone after use. What about upgrading your RAM and use a Live CD? Another option is cloning your disk before doing anything. Takes a lot of time, but you actually achieve your goal: "not happy - rollback" – Lekensteyn Aug 7 '11 at 14:22
@enzotib: true, but for users searching for a sandbox, it's a solution. – Lekensteyn Aug 7 '11 at 14:23

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