O'Reilly logo

Ubuntu Hacks by Bill Childers, Kyle Rankin, Jonathan Oxer

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Hack #81. Rescue an Unbootable System

When you've had a little too much fun with your new Ubuntu system and it no longer boots, here are a few options to get your computer back in running order.

If you are reading this hack, we want to offer you our condolences. It can be stressful and upsetting when your system won't boot. We're sure you are thinking right now about all of those files you wished you backed up (We know this is a bad time, but once your system is back up and running, you might want to check out "Back Up Your System" [Hack #79]). We've certainly been in the same situation far too many times, but so far we've also been able to bring our systems back to life. While it would be impossible to cover every possible scenario that might cause a system to no longer boot, we're going to go over how to use the Ubuntu install CD in rescue mode to fix the problem and describe some common rescue scenarios.

Boot into Rescue Mode

First, find your trusty Ubuntu install CD and reboot your system to its initial boot screen. Among the number of options is "Recover a broken system." Select this option, and Ubuntu will start what appears at first to be the default installation program. You will be prompted for some standard language and network settings as you are during the installation, but these steps are only to set up the initial rescue environment. Notice that in the top-left corner of the screen, "Rescue mode" appears.

Continue through these dialogs until you are prompted to choose ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required