Ubuntu: Partially formatted my Ubuntu partition


I was using Disks to format a USB thumb drive. The only problem was that I had my root drive selected by accident. I canceled the operation after a few seconds, which allowed me to back up my Home folder before attempting a re-boot. The re-boot was not successful and I'm stuck with a computer that won't boot and what appears to be most of my original partition intact. This is a standard Ubuntu 14 install on an ext4 partition. The format operation I started was to NTFS with a complete overwrite of all data.

I have a back up, but having never recovered from Duplicity, I'm not sure what surprises await me there.

Is there any hope for me or am I out of luck?


Boot-repair did not work. Nor did tinkering with various ways of massaging that corrupted partition. I tried to open my encrypted ~/home folder using my passphrase, which gave some errors about some important part of ecryptfs being missing. I finally reformatted and upgraded to Ubuntu 18 at the same time. When I went to Restore from my Duplicity backup, it refused to acknowledge the existence of my backup files. No surprises there. My experience (mostly with Windows) has been that half of the backup software out there won't complete a full backup. The other half won't complete a restoration. Fortunately, I was able to do the Restore using a different computer with an older version of Ubuntu. I'll be piecing this thing back together over the next few days.

You shouldn't be able to format your active disk out from under yourself so easily.

In the future, I think I'm going to extract my backups from the Duplicity archives and store them as encrypted *.tar files instead. I've never been able to restore from any backup program without getting an ugly surprise. There are just too many creaking wheels that have to turn in just the right way for one to restore from a backup archive. Tar is well-supported and allows you to extract certain pieces of your archive, unlike Duplicity which will only dump all 80GB in one spot and nothing more.

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