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My new Dell Inspiron 15-3552 laptop came with 14.04.5 pre-installed by Dell. A global software update attempt trashed its OS. Tests with a clone of its HDD show that there's a recovery mechanism that can be invoked to restore the OS "to factory state". I'll try another global software update (using Software Updater) later, meantime a couple of questions:

  1. Is the recovery mechanism an OEM/proprietary feature or is it built-in to the 14.04 OS as standard? (During it the open window is titled "Dell Recovery" - and I didn't use any rescue media.)

  2. I've shown Dell's HDD partitioning below. Is 3GB big enough for the OS? (I'd read it should be 7-10GB, someone else suggested 20-25GB was more like it for / (root) "if separate /home" - isn't /home always separate with Ubuntu?)

    ubuntu@ubuntu:~$ lsblk 
    NAME   MAJ:MIN RM    SIZE RO TYPE MOUNTPOINT 
    sda      8:0    0  465.8G  0 disk 
    ├─sda1   8:1    0    500M  0 part 
    ├─sda2   8:2    0      3G  0 part 
    ├─sda3   8:3    0  454.5G  0 part 
    └─sda4   8:4    0    7.8G  0 part [SWAP]
    
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As you probably assumed, "Dell Recovery" is Dell's proprietary backup and recovery software, it is not a part of Ubuntu.

Assuming Dell didn't pre-load your OS with a bunch of their own software, 3 GB should be enough for an original fresh(ish) installation of Ubuntu. If you're referring to the recovery partition, keep in mind it's also in a compressed format. For Dell computers that come with Windows OS, my experience is roughly in line with your research (7-10 GB recovery partition).

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  • Thankfully there wasn't any bloatware pre-loaded by Dell. As far as I can tell, the 3GB sda2 partition holds the installed OS, which partition Mike McGrath's Linux in Easy Steps (5th edition, p19) says you should make 7-10GB (if installing the OS yourself). Did your "in a compressed state" refer to the installed OS or the files it's (re-)installed from? Would those files be in the 500MB sda1 partition, do you think?
    – user638287
    Jan 14 '17 at 9:06
  • Sorry, I wasn't sure if you were referring to the partition for the main OS or the recovery partition which holds the factory default image. The factory default image is in a compressed format and should easily fit in a partition less than 10GB for Ubuntu. When installing the main OS though, you generally want that to be a decently large enough partition to hold the OS and any packages/files you download or create. I'm not too sure what the 500 MB sda1 partition would be used for, my guess is just for storing kernel and ramdisk images.
    – TLin
    Jan 14 '17 at 10:12
  • So do you think that the main OS is in that 3GB sda2 partition and, if so, is that a big enough partition? If it's not there, where is it? (When I physically removed the HDD and connected it to my Windows 7 laptop, to clone it for tests, Windows Disk Management identified this partition as an OS.)
    – user638287
    Jan 14 '17 at 12:46

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