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I am going to do my best to explain what happened:

  1. I had been using Ubuntu 18.04.1, and a friend wanted me to install Drupal on my computer. I followed this guide blindly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKSjO0irgHg (which was a terrible idea since its from 2015).
  2. The guide instructed me to install tasksel, so I did.
  3. I then ran 'sudo tasksel'
  4. In tasksel I selected 'basic ubuntu server', 'LAMP server', and 'postgreSQL database', as well as 'ubuntu desktop' because I figured I just wanted to use Drupal right on my desktop for testing purposes.
  5. Then in the video, the next step said I just have to enter my mysql password... and since I never had an option to create a mysql password I just assumed the previous step didn't work... so I did steps 3 and 4 again... which without warning uninstalled ubuntu desktop.
  6. All of the sudden all my sidebar programs were gone and I couldn't access files.. so I restarted my computer and since then whenever I select Ubuntu from grub it just gives me a loading screen forever.

Is it possible to fix this and get into my previous installation of ubuntu desktop? How?

Other answers say to just 'upgrade' ubuntu with a bootable drive.. this doesnt give me a safe option to keep my files. All options say 'will delete all files'

If it's not possible to get into my previous installation, how can I recover my files? They were important :(

Thank you so much for your help.

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Having done something similar myself, if you can access the Ubuntu console via recovery mode or login screen console via Ctrl+Alt+F2, you may be able to either:

  1. manually mount another drive to back up your files (via the console) and then install Ubuntu over your broken installation

or

  1. attempt to fix Ubuntu by reinstalling what you uninstalled.

Option 2 would be easier if you hadn't rebooted and the console was still up since you would know what was uninstalled (though I guess you could repeat the steps in a virtual machine on another computer to find out).

If you need to access the Internet via the console to download missing files, this requires manually building a connection by configuring a certain text file and then manually updating, but I don't recall how to do the configuration at the moment.

  • When I press CTRL + ALT + F2 to access Ubuntu console while it's showing the load screen I just get a black screen with a cursor up in the top left of the screen with nothing before or after it. When I typed anything into it it just leaves it there, creates a new line, and doesn't seem to do anything. – DylanLalonde Feb 8 at 23:12
  • The shortcut I mentioned is for the login screen. I know which screen you're talking about, but I've never used it for anything so I don't know what it does. Guess you're stuck trying the recovery mode console (which uses a different shortcut). – Patrick Dark Feb 9 at 0:30
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I resolved my own issue in the following way:

  1. Entered Ubuntu Recovery mode through GRUB
  2. Dropped to root shell prompt
  3. Used sudo su [username] to login to my user account
  4. Inserted a usb drive
  5. Created a mount point: sudo mkdir /media/usb
  6. Mounted the usb: sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/usb
  7. Copied the files from /home/[user] to the usb: sudo cp -r /home/[user]/* /media/usb/
  8. Unmounted the usb: sudo umount /media/usb

I can now access my files from that usb on other computers without issue!

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