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Old May 11, 2021, 02:53   #1
Join Date: Jun 2019
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werecobalt is on a distinguished road
Save dying computer

My computer has some problems. I’m trying to save the files and hopefully the computer too.

So it’s a ubuntu 18.04 LTS. It stucks at the purple booting screen and cannot proceed. But it can boot in recovery mode. The files seem to be all still there. “fsck” shows that “/etc/default/rcS no such file or directory”.

How do I:
1. back up all the files without GUI? (preferrably without usb disk)?
2. fix the computer?
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Old May 11, 2021, 07:36   #2
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Where would you like to back up the files then? Do you have a website or google drive with enough space to store them?

One of the easiest ways is with scp (cp over ssh), if you have ssh access to another server with enough space. Or you can install openssh-server and connect to your computer from another one, with e.g. winscp from Windows.

Is your disk failing? If so be careful and have things planned: every time you boot your computer could be the last one. Is that an HDD or an SSD? Do you get "read fail" or "bad sector" messages in the output of journalctl -xe (scroll with arrows, exit with q)?

The content of my /etc/default/rcS is the following --- but if you are missing that file out of the blue it is likely that it's not the only one. I'd recommend to back up and reinstall just to avoid future problems.

# /etc/default/rcS
# Default settings for the scripts in /etc/rcS.d/
# For information about these variables see the rcS(5) manual page.
# This file belongs to the "initscripts" package.

# delete files in /tmp during boot older than x days.
# '0' means always, -1 or 'infinite' disables the feature

# spawn sulogin during boot, continue normal boot if not used in 30 seconds

# do not allow users to log in until the boot has completed

# be more verbose during the boot process

# automatically repair filesystems with inconsistencies during boot
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Old May 11, 2021, 08:52   #3
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Thanks for replying. I plan to send files to my mailbox or to my github.

No “read fail” or “bad sector” in “journalctl -xe” output.

Is it possible to update the distro, after backing up? Will it possibly fix it or break the disk?
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Old May 11, 2021, 09:14   #4
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Analyzing this from the far is maybe not really working out as expected. Also this forum is sure not the best platform for it. Best would be to find a chat room with Linux experts that may help. The Ubuntu forums maybe also a point of contact. But to be honest, "real-time" help would be best.

Also it would be good if you have some kind of recovery CD/USB drive lying around (even the Ubuntu install disk may work - SystemRescueCD or something is better). You may also buy a magazine, they sometimes have those included. But analyzing/repairing from the damaged system may lead to even more errors and corruptions. The look from the "outside" is really important.

You have also not written about how much data we are talking here. Is is just some documents from you home folder or are you thinking about backing up the whole distribution (in which case the external boot disk is a must)? Just some MB or aa couple of GB. Anyway, I would also suggest backig this up locally on a usb drive, it will be much faster and also you may need some tries to repair it.

For the repair, I would (after you backed up everything correctly!), use "fsck -y /dev/sdaX" or so. Important is the -y, a damaged drive usually contains a ton of errors. Depending on how damaged it is, a repair is maybe not possible anymore. Is it a SSD or a magnetic disk? But here are - again - a million of possibilities, do the backup first, the analysis later.

Still - keep calm and backup your stuff. Hope that helps.
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Old May 11, 2021, 09:37   #5
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Thanks, I’ve bought a usb stick. I’ll back up the files when it arrives. The data is less than 10G.
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