Clean Slate

Article from Issue 211/2018

If you have totally messed up your Debian, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, elementary OS, or Linux Deepin, you can simply reset with Resetter.

In case of a broken system, beginners tend to grab a DVD or a USB stick and reinstall the system. This is fast, they think – and the thinking here is not wrong. But you do not have to resort to this anymore, thanks to Resetter [1]. Under the hood, Resetter is a Python script that supports resetting to the default installation for some distributions, much like the procedure for smartphones.

Resetter's way of working is quite simple: Using the appropriate manifest list, the tool determines which packages were originally installed (and in which versions) when the operating system was installed. Resetter will remove anything that does not match and reinstall the default packages according to the manifest. Besides two reset modes, the software offers another possibility to search Personal Package Archives (PPAs) directly in Launchpad and install them without any further manual work (via the Easy Install button).

Resetter reads the flags in Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and some other distributions to return to the state immediately after installation. The list of officially supported distributions includes the 64-bit versions of Debian 9.2 in the standard output with Gnome, Ubuntu from 14.04, Linux Mint from 17.3, elementary OS from 0.4, and Linux Deepin from 15.4.


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