I have a server that I use to host my mythtv backend among other things. It seems that root partition with the system on it became corrupted. I booted it with a livecd and repaired the partition with fsck and it is now clean. However, it seems that critical files / directories are now missing and the server will not boot.

I have backed up my critical files to a thumb drive and now want to repair the system. I am hoping that there is a method where I can use the installer to install linux again but not overwrite all that goodness I created? The home directories and data stores for the myth videos are on separate partitions and were not corrupted. If I go into the custom settings of the install and ask it not to format the drive, will this work for me? Thank you.

  • Do you mean you want to reinstall without formatting /? You can try the repair / reinstall option if presented during install but it may not work. – user68186 May 1 '13 at 15:05
  • Yes, I think that is what I want. Now that you mention it, I do recall that you get a reinstall option there when you go into the installer. When my backup finishes, I will give it a shot. – maddentim May 1 '13 at 15:09
  • Once you are done, it will be great if you could answer your own question with what was preserved and what you needed to redo. This will help others. Best of luck. – user68186 May 1 '13 at 15:21
  • Will if I am successful. I opened the installer and am not presented with a repair option... Just install 12.04.02 along side existing, reinstall and erase everything or "something else". with the something else, I am presented with the partition and can choose what to do with them... – maddentim May 1 '13 at 15:38
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    Not formatting didn't work. The install hung part way through and I restarted and choose to format. It didn't really matter anyway as the install had said that even though we weren't formatting, it was going to delete etc, var, usr, etc. so not format wasn't going to help anyhow. As disasters go, it is not a big deal. At least I have fresh install now! – maddentim May 2 '13 at 18:46

For those who come here with a similar question, all I was able to do was backup files and reinstall.

Fortunately, I had originally separated my home directories in a partition instead of leaving them in the system partition. This way, when I reinstalled, I used the same username and password and my user was back in business.

So if you have not already moved your home directories to it's own partition, do it now! Kinda wished I had done that with /var too...

  • Note to others: putting /var in its own partition makes sense for web servers where web pages etc are stored in /var. For desktop users a separate /home is a good idea. – user68186 May 2 '13 at 18:54
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    also, /var is the default location for your mysql database files... So if you have a machine that hosts a web app with a database behind it (even if only for your own personal use). Also, my mythtv stores its database in mysql. so that had to be recreated. That said, when I recreated things here, I did not create a new partition as I did feel like investing in the work. I did however write a little bash script that backs up the databases nightly and ubuntuOne then sucks them up to the cloud! – maddentim May 4 '13 at 14:22

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