[ubuntu-za] A modest proposal for eliminating the inevitable partition failure issue with Ubuntu conversions

David Robert Lewis ethnopunk at telkomsa.net
Sun Apr 12 10:56:02 BST 2009

Trevor Hughes wrote:
> I just wanted to comment that I have had numerous systems booting
> three four or five OSs that have never been a problem. Including
> multiple versions of Windows. I have rarely had a problem and do not
> believe I have ever lost anything vital because of partitioning
> problems - well nothing that couldn't be fixed by any number of free
> or commercial tools out there.
> Ubuntu did a fine enough job of installing itself alongside Vista on
> my laptop/ I eventually go rid of Vista and put a later version of
> Ubuntu un its place and it is still running fine. So I am not sure
> what the problem really is. I agree it is a good ideas to back up the
> MBR and the partition table. Also a great ideas is to use fdisk and
> actually write down the partition information so you can manually
> recreate those partitions if something goes wrong.
> just my experiences
> Trev
The issue is - I never get to the point where I backup my MBR. What 
happens is - I shoot off in the other direction. Stumble upon some 
discussion about some new-fangled software or something. Or follow some 
recipe in the forum. I end up moving data around, getting into the sudo 
part of the machine, and all it takes is for me to write a couple of 
gigs to the wrong device or for the machine to run a script with 
malicious code. I installed a new drive after the crash and within about 
two days the drive, which is named "Gaia" had been renamed "Gaia_". I 
had to edit my fstab to resolve this, and I think this could be the 
result of malicious code or malware being circulated around the Ubuntu 
community by you know who (Microsoft/Apple). So all I am saying is - 
some way of dealing with MBR backup that turns it into a fun exercise so 
that users remember to do it and to not complain when they don't. This 
could be entirely community-driven and if we put up our markings file we 
could get prizes or a "Noddy badge" for having the most interesting 

Of course storing the MBR records of a community would be an interesting 
task, but not out of the bound of the imagination. Link this to a way of 
creating a personaled avatar - supposing the dell-wing Linux penguin 
plus the Ubuntu badge plus your MBR = peace of mind.

The whole thing compiled into something you could carry around with you 
on a key ring. Or put in a photograph holder.

An application that does this on a monthly, weekly or quarterly basis. 
Then when you have a catastrophic failure for whatever reason, whether 
it is your own stupidity, other peoples silliness, or the machinations 
of corporates who think they can sneak destructive code into an 
otherwise stable setup, there is no freak-out with forensic tools. Yes I 
am rather peturbed to find that NTFS holds up a lot better than EXT3 
when the MBR goes, and that none of the magic block backups were able to 
be salvaged from my partition, because I guess one should always keep 
Ubuntu in a primary partition!!!!!

Maybe it's just me, but I am now paranoid about the MBR and don't want 
to go near it without some user-friendliness!

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