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Old 02-21-2007, 03:13 PM   #1
Registered: Jan 2006
Distribution: Linux Mint 12, FreeBSD, Ubuntu 12.10, Mac OS X
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Access previously installed kernel?


I have installed ubuntu 6.10 edgy about 4 times in the last two months on top of itself on the same hard drive. I was afraid to wipe out the previous installs while doing a fresh installation because I have valuable files still on the hard drive somewhere.

I just cannot boot to the gui of those kernels and am a novice at the command line. I would like to know if I can see inside those kernels and get my valuable files from my current bootable kernel then wipe them out to make more room?

I know I can ctrl-alt-f1 to get to the command line once booting to any kernel and mv files to an external device.

Just wondering if I can do it from a gui terminal in my current bootable kernel as it is more user friendly for me.

Also, how do I wipe out the old kernels once I get my valuable files from them?


Old 02-21-2007, 03:30 PM   #2
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If you installed Ubuntu "on top of itself", then you probably wiped out some files. To be sure, we will need more data.

First, if you have something really valuable on that disk, don't do anything else with it--everything you do decreases the probability of recovery.

If the data is really valuable, you may want to consider cloning the drive before doing anything else. Or, you may want to simply get it to a data recovery specialist.

To see what you actually have, please boot from the live CD (hoping you have this) and open a terminal and enter "fdisk -l" Post the results here.
If you do not have the live CD version, then you may be able to get into terminal mode by booting the install CD and entering ctrl-alt-F1 (or F2).

Some more on the nomenclature and mechanics:
  1. You do not have files "inside the kernel"---the kernel is one of many files that make up the OS. Data files are separate.
  2. When you install, the existing data on the disk is "erased"--meaning that it is unlinked. Some of it MAY still be there, depending on what gets written to the disk.
  3. As a practical matter--once you have re-installed--- there is no way to access the previous kernels, files, etc. (Unless of course, you had the data in a separate partition.)

Someone is going to mention "backup", so I'll not discuss that....


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