• Launchpad Entry: rescue-mode

  • Created: 2009/01/22

  • Contributors: EvanDandrea

  • Packages affected: ubiquity, gfxboot-theme-ubuntu


Another option will be prominently placed on the main menu of the desktop CD, labeled as "recover my system" or something similar. This option will boot into a minimal environment with a full screen window that explains several recovery options in detail, including common symptoms (GRUB error codes) if there is enough space on the screen without scrolling. The user will be able to choose from these options and the appropriately tool will launch, preferably without the jarring effect of one window disappearing and another appearing in its place.

Release Note

The Ubuntu, Kubuntu, and Xubuntu desktop CDs and DVDs now include a "Recover my system" option that will allow you to perform a number of recovery tasks, including restoring the entire system to a pristine copy of the version of Ubuntu included on the CD.


  • We have had the ubiquity-preserve-home option for several releases, but it is not easily discoverable.

  • Repairing a broken GRUB installation is not easy.

Use Cases

  • Alissa encounters a GRUB error 15 "File not found" every time she boots the computer.
  • Dave ran a number of scripts from, and now that he sees a multitude of error messages on boot, he wants to reinstall. He does not want to lose his personal documents.


The application will avoid using technical language unless quoting an error message.


A new menu item titled "recover my system" will be added to the CD boot menu that adds a "recover" argument to the kernel command line. This argument will function much like the only-ubiquity parameter in that it will start a minimal X environment and then launch an application. In this case the application will be the ubuntu-recovery program or the equivalent code embedded in ubiquity and called with a --recover parameter.

This will present a dialog that describes each recovery option in a section of verbose text with a button below it whose label is the verb form of the section title. Clicking the button changes the page displayed by the window to a view of the recovery progress.

When recovery completes the application automatically triggers a reboot and the usplash message that informs the user to remove the CD is modified to also note that recovery is complete.

The initial recovery options will be "restore my bootloader", which will run grub-installer, and "reinstall/upgrade Ubuntu, preserving my personal files and settings.", which will run ubiquity in a special mode that preseeds ubiquity-preserve-home from data it fishes out of /etc.



Test/Demo Plan


Unresolved issues

  • Do we really want to encourage upgrade by reinstallation à la Windows?
  • Should it grab the package selection and sources.list files to try to recreate the previously installed system. What about just the package selection, ignoring any missing pacakges?
  • Should we also consider an "Uninstall Ubuntu" option that deletes Ubuntu's partitions, grows the partition to the left to fill up the space, and replaces GRUB with a stored version of the original bootloader.
  • What if more than one copy of Ubuntu is installed?

BoF agenda and discussion

Schedule for Jaunty+1


RescueMode (last edited 2009-01-22 12:46:46 by cpc3-lamb5-0-0-cust387)