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I just did a big mistake — I did rm -rf /home/.

I can't afford to lose this data so I quickly did a reboot. Then I was trying to roll back some of the damage it had done. But now I am struggling to log into my server. It just hangs asking for the root password? Am I completely screwed?

Does rm -rf stop on reboot? Or does it continue?

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It does not continue on reboot, but you've possibly deleted something important already. –  Rowland Shaw Aug 2 '12 at 11:46
    
No, it's not continuing on reboot. It was enough to press Ctrl + C... Without possible data corruption. But! If you can't afford to lose this data, have you considered backup? –  Tomasz Nurkiewicz Aug 2 '12 at 11:48
    
I have backups. Just not OS backups. –  Butterflycode Aug 2 '12 at 11:50
    
you deleted /home/ directory under '/' right? how that will affect your system... ya it is not possible to recover your data... but nothing will happen to your system. –  max Aug 2 '12 at 12:23
1  
now you can only log with root account only... because all account under /home is deleted... try to login with single user mode –  max Aug 2 '12 at 12:26

3 Answers 3

You have most likely corrupted your filesystem by the reboot.

The reason why you are getting a root prompt is that mount of the file system failed and you are requested to fix this issue.

You can either fix the file system (most likely deleting files in the process), or try to do some undelete (which is generally very hard on Linux file systems).

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As far as I know it does stop as the terminal session gets terminated. Although the deletion has been aborted the file removal operation might have wiped out important data needed to log into your server. Although I find this highly unlikely since the /home/ directory is usually where non-system critical files are found.

Do you have any backups? If you can't afford to lose the data I would imagine you would have done so.

Also, what were you trying to do in the first place?

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It stops, but when you rebooted your computer logs and other processes might of saved their data to the area of your disk that the files were.

You need to lookup an undelete utility for your filesystem if one exists, or if not recover the raw data with a program like PhotoRec.

If possible you should be booting off a live CD so as not to write any more data to your hard drives.

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I really doubt that he is using FAT or NTFS for a Linux partition. –  Let_Me_Be Aug 2 '12 at 12:06

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