I've a dual boot system with XP and Ubuntu. (Grub 1.5) Ubuntu was originally installed from a CD and has its own partition on an external hard drive.

After an upgrade from 11.10 to 12.04 the 3.XX kernel let me log in, but then give me a black screen. The 2.XX kernel give me a workspace, but with a distorted aspect. (I had to play with the monitor settings to even get the system button to appear.) I tried 12.04 on a USB and it looked OK, but was so slow I would never use it. What is the best way to reinstall 12.04 or even 11.10?

  • I downloaded the 12.04 iso, burned it to a CD and ran installation. Grub is installed and it recognizes both OS and boots into windows OK. In 12.04, the first message is HDIO_GET_IDENTITY failed for /dev/sdb. I have gotten this message for a very long time without any adverse effects. Then I get the message failed to set mode in [CRTC:6]. I tried inserting nomodeset into grub, but the boot still hangs after a few seconds with a blank screen. Nothing I do in recovery mode gets me any farther. The advice from Floyd is good, but no use until I get 12.04 to boot. What do I do next? – MPR May 30 '12 at 15:09

It depends how you partitioned your harddisk.

  1. backup everything (windows and linux partition) to an external harddisk

case 1. If you have the entire ubuntu system in one partition, you have to take extra steps to keep the data in your home directory. Assuming you have enough disk space:

  • resize the linux partition to its minimum (you will just want to copy over your home directory)
  • make a parition for the system (/) and a separate partition for /home (see below how easy a reinstall would be if you had been smart and given /home a separate partition)
  • boot into you system, copy your home directory over to your new home

case 2. if you have separate root / and /home paritions:

  • just install linux into your root, ONLY if you have a fresh backup and your home partition is really separate, don't forget to format your old root)
  • select your existing /home as your home partition (retain data, mount point /home) You will have to reinstall some applications, but all your desktop and application settings will magically reappear, because everything personal is in your home dir.
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