Reinstalling Ubuntu from the Terminal: Easy Guide

Reinstalling Ubuntu from the Terminal can seem daunting, but it’s a straightforward process once you know the steps. Whether you’re looking to start fresh or fix an issue with your current system, reinstalling can be the quickest route to a clean slate. The following guide will walk you through the necessary steps to reinstall Ubuntu using the Terminal, ensuring that you can get back to a fully functioning system in no time.

Step by Step Tutorial: Reinstalling Ubuntu from the Terminal

Reinstalling Ubuntu from the Terminal involves a series of commands that will remove your current installation and replace it with a fresh one. Before proceeding, make sure you have backed up any important data.

Step 1: Boot into Recovery Mode

First, you’ll need to boot into Recovery Mode to access the Terminal.
Booting into Recovery Mode involves restarting your computer and holding down the Shift key (or sometimes the Esc key) as it boots up. This will bring up the GRUB menu, where you can select the ‘Advanced options for Ubuntu’ and then choose ‘Recovery mode.’

Step 2: Open a Terminal Window

From the Recovery Mode menu, select ‘root’ to open a Terminal window with root access.
In Recovery Mode, you’ll see a menu with several options. The ‘root’ option drops you into a Terminal session where you have full access to run commands as the root user, which is necessary for reinstalling the system.

Step 3: Reinstall Ubuntu

Use the command apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop to reinstall the Ubuntu desktop system.
This command tells the package manager to reinstall the ‘ubuntu-desktop’ package, which is essentially the entire Ubuntu desktop system. This process might take a while as it downloads and installs all the necessary files.

Step 4: Reboot the System

Once the installation is complete, type reboot and press Enter to restart your computer and boot into your fresh Ubuntu installation.
After the installation, a reboot is necessary to start using the newly installed system. Your computer should now boot up as if it were a new installation, with all default settings restored.

After completing these steps, your computer will restart and you’ll be greeted with a fresh installation of Ubuntu. All previous configurations and user data will have been wiped clean, so you can start customizing your system from scratch.

Tips for Reinstalling Ubuntu from the Terminal

  • Always back up your important data before starting the reinstallation process.
  • Ensure your computer is plugged into a power source to prevent it from shutting down during the reinstallation.
  • If you encounter issues accessing the GRUB menu, consult your computer’s manual or online forums for specific instructions.
  • Reinstalling the system will remove any third-party software you’ve installed, so you’ll need to reinstall these programs afterward.
  • Keep your system connected to the internet during the reinstallation to ensure all necessary files are downloaded.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will reinstalling Ubuntu from the Terminal delete my personal files?

Yes, reinstalling your system will remove all files on the system partition, including personal files. It’s essential to back up any important data before proceeding.

Can I reinstall Ubuntu without using the Terminal?

Yes, you can reinstall Ubuntu using a live USB or DVD, but this guide is focused specifically on using the Terminal.

What if I can’t access the GRUB menu to boot into Recovery Mode?

Try using different keys like Esc or F12, depending on your computer’s model, or check your system’s documentation for the correct key combination.

Do I need an internet connection to reinstall Ubuntu from the Terminal?

Yes, an internet connection is necessary to download the Ubuntu desktop package and any updates during the reinstallation.

Can I reinstall a specific version of Ubuntu from the Terminal?

The command provided reinstalls the version of Ubuntu that is currently installed. To install a different version, you would need to use a different method, such as booting from a live USB with the desired version.

Summary of Steps

  1. Boot into Recovery Mode
  2. Open a Terminal Window
  3. Reinstall Ubuntu
  4. Reboot the System


Reinstalling Ubuntu from the Terminal is a powerful tool that can help you quickly restore your system to a clean state. Whether you’re troubleshooting, de-cluttering, or simply starting anew, the Terminal offers a direct and efficient way to reinstall your Ubuntu desktop. While the thought of diving into command-line tasks might seem intimidating to some, following these step-by-step instructions can simplify the process and make it accessible to anyone comfortable with basic Terminal commands. Remember, the key to a smooth reinstallation is preparation – back up your files, ensure a stable power source, and maintain an internet connection. With these precautions in place, you’ll be ready to breathe new life into your Ubuntu system.