System Restore

Lee W ubuntu-list at
Sat Jun 25 13:07:00 UTC 2005

Shawn Christopher wrote:

> Ok, I am going to open this discussion back up again because I feel 
> truly provoked to make a point as was made before.
> I will throw in my lot on the "I think a System Restore" utility 
> *should* be built into Ubuntu. The big selling point on WindowsXP is 
> that "hey if I mess it up THEN, I can click this button and go 
> back...and click it again.....and go back again. Till the problem is 
> fixed". So I can take the risk. With Linux it is not so.
> Giving this kind of support to the users as far as's so easy 
> to use your mom or dad, or grandma, or wife can do it (I migrated my 
> wife from OSX to Ubuntu PPC) might make the software more desireable. 
> I have alot of friends at work that are using Ubuntu and the biggest 
> question I get back is ..."Well what happens if I screw it up" 
> which my answer is "You look up the error or such and try to fix it". 
> That doesn't have much appeal to new Linux users.
> I have a few ideas as to how it SHOULD work however I don't do any 
> coding so my SHOULD == 0. The more and more we take features from OSX 
> and WinXP the faster I think the migration of users would become. Most 
> the OEMs that currently exist are very proficient in telling their 
> users to use system restore (I work in tech support I get the stories 
> all day long). So I think that this is something that should be 
> incorporated.
> (side note: The disk I recieved in the mail I put on a shelf at work 
> and pointed to with a sign that says Linux disk. They are all gone and 
> I'm getting reports back from users. I can't wait till the other 20 or 
> so show up!)
> Shawn

 From some my earlier posts, people can hopefully see I'm all for making 
Ubuntu easier to use as well as looking more friendly.  However I dont 
think such a feature is really needed in Ubuntu (or Linux in general).

I work in Tech support myself (99% of my work is still MS based, still 
trying to get the Linux break) and this one feature I can say I have 
never used and most likely never will.  The most recent case I had to 
hate this feature was trying to clean off spyware/adware from an XP 
machine.  running tools such as Adaware and Spybot (as well as the usual 
AV scanners) most of the viruses they picked up were actually in the 
system restore information.  This machine has had 2 previous spyware 
infections as it is (even with SP2 + Firewall + AV) and it was the 
Financial Directors machine as well.  I ended up emptying the Restore 
info and it was the only was to clean it out, none of the tools could 
clean or delete the infected files.  If it happens again I'm just going 
to rebuild the entire machine, it is the only way in the MS world to 
100% sure there is nothing left.

To bring things back to Linux, we don't need this as all configs are 
stored in mostly easy to find locations and the package manager tools 
can be used to detect if a file has been corrupted or damaged (at least 
a basic level) and it is not difficult to reinstall/repair the 
component.  As far as the configs, a simple cron task to backup 
important configs using tar or cpio in mostly all that is needed.  
Granted a nice frontend to this would make it more usable to end users, 
but in most cases people (in my experience anyway) don't even know the 
system restore feature exists in XP and will call the helpdesk or tech 
support anyway, in which case we can guide them though it.

Windows only needs this featrue as it stores everything it a fancy/more 
complicated way (such as the registry) and it is generally quite 
difficult to reimport a particular part of the system when it goes wrong 
(hence the checkpoint system used by System restore).  In Linux this not 
necessary as you can just reinstall the affected part.



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