Macsen informed me yesterday that there was something wrong with his laptop so I went to take a quick look. Issues with kids and laptops are generally easy to resolve and I assumed that this would be another five minute job.
This time all he had was a screen informing him that something had gone seriously wrong and he should contact the system administrator. The system administrator in this house, as ever, is me.
It turns out that he had attempted to upgrade his laptop and something had happened and now it doesn’t work, which is a surprisingly complete explanation for a 13 year old.
All credit to him for noticing that an upgrade was available and realising that it should be done, and I can’t really blame him for what happened next, because I still don’t know what was the something that happened. That said, it looks like he’d started a distribution upgrade without realising.
Of course, turning the thing off and on again didn’t help. Something has gone seriously wrong and re-installing is the only way out of this. But first, the data.
Actually, the first step was to download and create and Ubuntu Live USB and, once I’d remembered to change the boot options on the laptop, I was able to boot from the USB and find the home folder on the laptop. This, I could then copy to a portable disk drive.
Once this was done, and after the kids were home from karate, Macsen and I sat down together to verify that all of the documents had been backed up correctly. I may be exaggerating slightly here, but the file he was most concerned about was his desktop background.
The installation went as smoothly as you would expect from Ubuntu, so I was able to start the restore of the data just in time for dinner.
After dinner, we completed the updates and initial configuration so that everything that needs to work today, is now working.
Other software (games mainly), we have agreed to sort out at the weekend and then we had a bit of a conversation about why we always do upgrades at the weekend.
I have to say that Macsen was remarkably calm at the prospect of being unable to boot or use his laptop for the foreseeable future. I have, in the past, seen people go completely to pieces for much more minor issues.
So now Macsen has the latest and greatest version of Ubuntu. I’ve only managed a very brief look at it so far, but it is remarkably pretty.