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Reinstalling Ubuntu via Terminal

Ubuntu 13

In this article, we will explore how to reinstall Ubuntu via the terminal. This can be particularly useful if you’re experiencing issues with your Ubuntu system and want to start with a fresh installation. Before proceeding, it’s essential to back up all your important files to prevent any data loss.

Accessing the Terminal

The first step in the process is to access the terminal. This can be done by booting your computer and pressing Ctrl + Alt + F1 to enter tty mode. This mode allows you to interact with your system directly through the terminal.

Fixing Package Configuration Issues

Once you have accessed the terminal, you can try to fix any package configuration issues. This can be done by running the following command:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure -phigh -a

In this command, sudo gives you superuser privileges, dpkg-reconfigure is a command used to reconfigure an already installed package, -phigh specifies the priority of questions that will be asked (high priority), and -a applies the reconfiguration to all packages. If this command doesn’t resolve your issue, you can proceed to the next step.

Accessing Recovery Mode

Restart your computer, and in the boot menu, choose the option that says “linux image generic [recovery mode]”. This will take you to the recovery screen, where you have several options to repair your system.

Repairing a Damaged Filesystem

On the recovery screen, select the option to repair a damaged filesystem (fsck). This option can help fix any filesystem issues that may be causing problems. The fsck command checks and repairs a Linux filesystem.

Updating and Upgrading the System

If the filesystem repair doesn’t solve your issue, you can try updating and upgrading your system. This can be done by selecting the option to “repair broken packages”. This will use the sudo apt-get update and sudo apt-get upgrade commands to update your system and fix any broken packages.

Reinstalling the Ubuntu Desktop System

If none of the above steps work, you can try reinstalling the Ubuntu desktop system. This can be done by running the following command in the terminal:

sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop

In this command, sudo gives you superuser privileges, apt-get install is used to install a package, --reinstall tells the system to reinstall the package, and ubuntu-desktop is the name of the package you want to reinstall.

Fixing Remaining Dependencies

If you still encounter problems after reinstalling the desktop system, you can try running sudo apt-get -f install to fix any remaining dependencies or broken packages. The -f option stands for “fix-broken”. It attempts to correct a system with broken dependencies in place.


After completing the reinstallation or any other steps, restart your computer and see if Ubuntu launches successfully. Reinstalling Ubuntu via the terminal can be a complex process, but it can also be a useful skill to have when troubleshooting system issues. Always remember to back up your data before making any significant changes to your system.

For more in-depth information, you can visit the Ubuntu Documentation or the Ubuntu Forums for community support.

How do I access the terminal in Ubuntu?

To access the terminal in Ubuntu, you can press Ctrl + Alt + T. This keyboard shortcut will open the terminal window.

How do I back up my files in Ubuntu?

To back up your files in Ubuntu, you can use various methods such as manually copying them to an external storage device, using a cloud storage service, or utilizing backup software like Deja Dup. It’s important to regularly back up your important files to prevent data loss.

Can I reinstall Ubuntu without losing my files?

Yes, you can reinstall Ubuntu without losing your files. During the installation process, you can choose the option to "Upgrade Ubuntu" or "Install Ubuntu alongside the existing installation". This will preserve your files while reinstalling the operating system. However, it’s always recommended to back up your data before performing any major system changes.

How long does it take to reinstall Ubuntu?

The time it takes to reinstall Ubuntu can vary depending on various factors such as your computer’s hardware, the speed of your internet connection (if you’re reinstalling from an online source), and the size of the installation files. Typically, it can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.

Will reinstalling Ubuntu fix all my system issues?

Reinstalling Ubuntu can fix many system issues, but it’s not a guaranteed solution for all problems. It can help resolve issues related to software conflicts, broken packages, or configuration errors. However, if the issue is hardware-related or caused by faulty drivers, reinstalling Ubuntu may not solve the problem.

Can I reinstall Ubuntu using a USB drive?

Yes, you can reinstall Ubuntu using a USB drive. You will need to create a bootable USB drive with the Ubuntu installation files and then boot your computer from the USB drive to start the reinstallation process. There are several tools available, such as Etcher or Rufus, that can help you create a bootable USB drive.

Will reinstalling Ubuntu delete my installed applications?

Yes, reinstalling Ubuntu will delete all installed applications and packages. It will essentially give you a fresh installation of the operating system. Therefore, it’s important to make a note of the applications you want to reinstall after the process or back up their configuration files if needed.

Do I need an internet connection to reinstall Ubuntu?

Having an internet connection is not mandatory to reinstall Ubuntu, but it can be beneficial. If you have an internet connection during the reinstallation process, you can download the latest updates and packages, ensuring that you have the most up-to-date version of Ubuntu. However, you can still reinstall Ubuntu offline using an installation media like a DVD or USB drive.

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