1. Yesterday I noticed that my ubuntu drive (installed with Wubi) would suddenly go read-only. This happened several times yesterday, but I would reboot and everything would be fine. it seemed like this happened very rarely even a few days prior.

  2. Now when I boot up Ubuntu, I go straight to an empty Grub command line (it just says "Grub" and there's a command line prompt).

  3. My windows partition is totally fine. I'm able to read and write files, and am indeed writing this post on that partition.

Question 1: Is there any way to save my Ubuntu files from Windows? I have an external harddrive. There was priceless configuration files that I'd like to retrieve.

Question 2: Is there any way to fix and salvage my existing set up? Should I be afraid my hard drive is general is in imminent danger of failing for Windows as well?


Question 2. Probably not. No way to tell, but if it is failing you'll see some strange behaviour in Windows as well. Corruption of Wubi installs is fairly common, since they seem more vulnerable than normal Ubuntu installs, and this can be triggered by a crash (also not uncommon) that leads to the corruption. If you have ever forced a reboot, then look no further. This is a well-established cause of Wubi corruption. (Always use Alt+SysRq R-E-I-S-U-B to safely reboot)

Question 1. In general, the steps to follow are: 1. Run chkdsk /r in Windows. This will repair the Windows partition that holds the Wubi \ubuntu\disks\root.disk. 2. If necessary, fsck the root.disk from an Ubuntu live DVD.

However, step 1 is not without risk. It's possible that it doesn't repair the disk and you end up with a 0 byte disk that is a dead-end.

For this reason, if you really cannot afford to lose your data, you might consider running photorec on the root.disk or booting a live DVD and mounting it read-only to back up data before attempting the repair.

Here are some links to assist with the above:

How can I recover files inside a Wubi install before re-installing Ubuntu?

How to recover Ubuntu data if it's installed inside Windows?

To run photorec, you'd boot a live DVD and then run photorec on the root.disk, sort of like this, but instead of /dev/loop0 you'd use the /<path to>/root.disk

Just remember which methods are destructive (chkdsk, fsck) and which are not. Attempting to mount and copy or running photorec are not. BUT if the root.disk is already badly corrupted you may not have a choice.

Once you have your data, I'd recommend a normal install, or if you choose to reinstall with Wubi, keep your important stuff synched off the root.disk e.g. to /host/xxx (natively on the Windows host partition).

  • I appreciate your post. Unfortunately, it looks like my root.disk already reads 0kb. I've tried some of those solutions above anyway to no avail. – user1770201 Oct 11 '14 at 14:42
  • @user1770201 I'm sorry to hear that. – bcbc Oct 12 '14 at 3:41

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