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Newbee lost in "terminal"


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I am a Linux-Newbee myself but in the DOS/Windows-world I was programmer and admin. But my friend is a total user-only (he is physiotherapist an GOOD in that) so I ended up being his computerman. We both have the rockPi 4 A (no WLAN) with Armbian XFCE. He also has some pad with Android. Everything was good for about a year.


He is using Telegram a lot. On the pad he had several messages about a Telegram update, one click, done.

On the RockPi with Armbian instead he had messages about using an outdated version of Telegram which soon will cease functioning. No Updates  offered. He installed Telegram new which worked, but after a restart he had the old version back.


Tragedy is developing:

In some forum they advised him to upgrade Armbian which would update Telegram as well. They told him the magic words (sudo apt update/upgrade). They did not tell him to make a backup on an external drive.

After the update Armbian is running but the desktop is not coming up any more, he is stuck with command prompt. He can log in though.


I never had this before so I don't know what to do. Ok, a complete new install, but no backup and lots of music and movies. Is there a way to "repair" it with commands?

Thank you for reading and for (hopefully) advice!





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3 hours ago, Joaho said:

Is there a way to "repair" it with commands?


There might be, but it will be difficult second or third hand (from us, to you, to him...).  Easiest and fastest way will be just to install fresh from scratch.  Back up any important user data first, though.


I guess you might need to learn some very basic GNU/Linux terminal commands, even for that.  But plenty of guides around the Internet for that (you will need cd, ls, cp, etc.).  Good skills to have anyway.


Another way to get your files off, if the OS drive is on sd card, or eMMC (and you have some adapter) you could mount it on working Linux desktop and go through and look for / move files in a GUI file manager.


And/or, just buy more media (sd card / eMMC), write new OS image to that, and hang on to the old one until you acquire some way (tools/skills) to access it.  At least that gets you back up and running in the meantime.

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