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I'm trying to figure out what are the criteria behind the installation in object, to see how I can properly use it, improve something or possibly replace it with something installed from scratch to better suit my personal needs. Possible questions follows.

  • What are the benefits of an Ubuntu installed just in one single primary partition, that is /dev/sda3?
  • Why the related filesystem is ext3, though Maverick is shipped with a kernel recent enough to handle ext4?
  • What's the purpose of the first primary partition, that is /dev/sda1? I noticed it's FAT and when the system is up it is not mounted...
  • How is the bootstrap supposed to work? While upgrading packages a dialog box appeared concerning possible destinations for grub, but, though I was pretty sure MBR was a suitable place, I ended up choosing both sda and sda3: if I'm not wrong I was not allowed to go on unless I checked them both... Anyway I was not happy to proceed without understanding what I was actually changing, I didn't know what there was initially in the MBR and what there was in the partition boot sector of sda3...
  • What can I do in order to perform kind of a "blind" system recovery? I mean, I can install Ubuntu from scratch, but what if I wanted to reproduce the exact initial conditions at the very first boot of the machine? I thought a dump of sda or separate dumps of sda1 and sda3 would be very useful, unfortunately I didn't launch my "dd" timely to get those dumps on my own. Would you ever make that kind of dumps available?

Many thanks in advance

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I'll try to answer each point, but there's a few details I need filled in.

  • The benefit of having the entire OS and your personal data on one partition is that there is only one partition to manage. If you want to shrink/expand/move the partition then there are fewer other partitions getting in the way. I, personally, prefer to have many partitions. It is not as likely on personal machines as on servers, but errant programs can cause a partition to overfill.

  • Ext4 has some performance issues that are holding it back from being the default root filesystem. See the last heading of this article. It is very possible to use it as a root fs however and the article has details on how to do an inplace upgrade (do not do if you're still using [legacy] GRUB)

  • I don't know what the size of the partition is, but I can guess by the filesystem, the placement, and the fact that it isn't mounted that it either has to do with booting or with factory backups. Did you install Ubuntu yourself? If not, I'd say that is the factory backup. If yes, then it is likely the boot partition (which could also be mounted as /boot)

  • Again, depends on if you installed Ubuntu or if a factory did. If a factory did, then they likely included a recovery partition. Else, you're stuck using Ubuntu live disks/USBs to reinstall.

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The person above me has covered already a couple of questions. I'll go a little into detail on the /sda1 FAT partition that is present on the EEE pc 1011px (I have the same one, still quite happy with it running xubuntu 12.04).

You can mount that partition by

sudo mkdir /media/newhd
sudo mount /dev/sda1 /media/newhd
df -H

You can view the files by browsing to them via nautilus or by typing in the terminal:

cd /media/newhd
ls -l

In it you'll find a couple of folders .disk boot casper..

All those folder toghether (EXCEPT the BOOT folder) are an extracted iso of the ubuntu version that was pre-installed on your netbook. I'd guess if you copy those files on a FAT32 formatted USB thumb drive you could use that to do a blind system recovery There must be a way to access it directly without usb thumb drive but it is not mentioned in the manual.

Hope this is a bit clarifying

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