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I've just made the mistake of trying to install the proprietoy ATI drivers on 12.04 Ubuntu. It asked me to reboot, which I did, and was greyed with a kernel panic.

Now I'm looking for the undo button, and was hoping that I could perhaps leverage the fact that the filesystem is XFS, and one of its touted features is copy-on-write, meaning that the pre-nurfed files will still exist on my drive.

Can I roll back the changes, even though I didn't create a specific snapshot. If so, what's the best way of doing it?

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  1. No, if the snapshot doesn't exist, you can't roll back to it.

  2. You can most likely fix this without needing to do that by rebooting and choosing the single user mode and using the console to fix your X config with the package manager via apt-get remove <ati-driver-package>; apt-get install <working-driver> and editing the X config. Ask in another question about how to do that if you don't know how.

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This kernel panic happens pretty early on in the boot: I'm not sure I'll be able to fix it without a live disk, as not even the recovery mode in grub gets further than this problem. – russ May 2 '12 at 22:19
From the message, it looks like the install failed to rewrite the initial filesystem image (initrd.img) correctly or what grub loaded as the initial filesystem image isn't valid data and thus Linux can't mount it. Note that both the initrd.img and the kernel image are loaded into memory by grub. – Dan D. May 2 '12 at 22:27

No, you cannot. XFS has no built-in snapshotting capability. It is a metadata journaling filesystem, which is a different thing.

LVM under XFS provides snapshotting capability, but nothing exists within XFS itself.

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