[ubuntu-uk] /var/lib missing?

Matthew Macdonald-Wallace matthew at truthisfreedom.org.uk
Mon Jul 21 19:45:02 BST 2008

Quoting Chris Coulson <chrisccoulson at googlemail.com>:

> 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,
> 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.

Yeah, we figured as much and just rebuilt the server.

> 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!

looking at the history && logs before we rebuilt the system, we can't  
see anything abnormal.  He had a few issues installing as well but it  
worked the 3rd time which makes me suspicious.

Anyway, it's working for now and I'm going to see him later in the  
week, but it's sounding more and more like a  
disk/motherboard/backplane issue... :o(

Ah well, thanks anyway,


Matthew Macdonald-Wallace
matthew at truthisfreedom.org.uk

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