Mental note: do not use ‘sudo’ when you are tired. Yesterday, just before I wanted to go to bed, I made a typo. Luckily it was not the famous ‘sudo rm -Rf /’ typo, but I managed to delete a part of my /usr/ directory. When dpkg, sudo and man did not work anymore, I knew it was time for a fresh install. I copied my /etc/ directory to my home directory, rebooted with a live CD and started the installation process. After less then 20 minutes, my installation was finished. I rebooted yet again, installed the available updates and required applications, enabled the Nvidia driver and replaced my xorg.conf. One more restart and I was back in business. The whole process (including downloading and installing over 250MB of applications), took me less then 60 minutes. Getting a fresh installation never was this pain free!
If you also want the option of a fresh, pain free reinstall, you can follow these guidelines:
- Create a seperate partition for your /home directory
- Create a seperate partition for your /etc directory (or back it up, before each reinstall)
- Don’t forget to backup other important data (like databases etc.)
- Have a recent LiveCD ready
- Only use symlinks in directories like /var/www/ to your /home, /mnt or /media directories. If you keep your ‘www’ data in your home directory, it will not get deleted during the reinstall process (since the destination of the symlink does not get deleted)