[ubuntu-uk] /var/lib missing?

Chris Coulson chrisccoulson at googlemail.com
Mon Jul 21 18:32:01 BST 2008

On Mon, 2008-07-21 at 13:18 +0100, Matthew Macdonald-Wallace wrote:
> Hi All,
> Quick quiz for you - a friend of mine just tried to update/upgrade his  
> Ubuntu server (running X) using the update manager - it failed halfway  
> through upgrading locales and now most of /var/lib is missing.
> Anyone know if I can get this system back from the dead (I can get a  
> command prompt and log in as root) or does it need a reinstall?
> TIA,
> M.
> -- 
> Matthew Macdonald-Wallace
> matthew at truthisfreedom.org.uk
> http://www.truthisfreedom.org.uk/

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news to your friend, but I think the
simplest way of recovering after losing the contents /var/lib would be
to do a reinstall. There may be ways to recover it, but I don't think it
would be easy, and /var/lib contains a lot of important information
(eg, /var/lib/dpkg keeps a record of every package installed on your
machine, and what files belong to them). I have seen people mention
scripts on the forums to attempt to recover package information
in /var/lib/dpkg, but I'm not sure how well this technique would work. 

I would be more concerned about how /var/lib was lost in the first place
though. Does your friend remember what happened? Loss of something as
critical as the contents of /var/lib is pretty bad!

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