How to restore system to completely fresh installation?

Maybe 4box should fire up Gparted from Live USB and post a screenshot before trying an install.

The "Something Else" method caught me out on Z16 as is different from Z15 and what I was expecting. But I do not recall seing that Format column.

Here's Gparted's view of the SSD.

Well I guess I'll just go ahead and click "Continue". If you don't hear from me again, tell my family I loved them. :laughing:

Update: On clicking "Continue" (in that "Do you want to return the partitioner?" window), another window pops up.

Write the changes to disks?
If you continue, the changes listed below will be written to the disks. Otherwise, you will be able to make further changes manually.

The partition tables of the following devices are changed:

| Go Back | - | Continue |

Any thoughts?

That is the window you are looking for. Things are back on track.

Clicking continue on that will proceed to install.

What likely has happened here is that you were very attentive to details that for me; I do not install Zorin OS often... not like I did when I first started using Linux.

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Thanks. Install proceeding, will report back later.

It went through most of the installation process, but then came this:

Error restoring installed applications
An error occurred while restoring previously installed applications. The installation will continue, but you may have to manually reinstall some applications after the computer reboots.
| OK |

That sounds as if it's not a completely fresh installation.

I pressed OK, and then restart to complete the installation, including removing the USB.

The Zorin boot menu comes up, I select "Zorin" and it begins to do something but then:

Busybox v1.30.1 (Ubuntu 1:1.30-1-4ubuntu6.4) built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
(initramfs) _

Typing "help" gives a long list of unexplained commands. One is "reboot". I enter that but nothing happens.

So I press the power button to turn off, and then again to turn back on.
This time from the Zorin menu I choose "Advanced options for Zorin".

I get 4 options, normal and recovery mode x 2 different kernels (6.2 for options 1 & 2, 5.15 for options 3 & 4). So this is not a fresh install, it still has the new kernel I installed before. :frowning:

I try option #4, Zorin with kernel 5.15 recovery mode. A lot of text scrolls by and now:

Recovery Menu (file system state: read-only)

with a list options, at top "Resume: resume normal boot".

I don't know the other options do or how to use them so I try "Resume".

"You are now going to exit the recovery mode...etc"
I click "OK".

I get the login screen and Zorin boots up. It seems OK, but I notice it's using a dark appearance theme (like I set before the reinstall) further confirming that this is not a completely fresh installation. Although I don't see any programs I installed before.

I don't know what I'm supposed to do in recovery mode. So I restart, choosing "Zorin" again ("have you tried turning it off and on again?" :grin: ) to see if it will work this time. Nope, again with the BusyBox error.

Off and on again, this time with Advanced Options, option #3 (kernel 5.15, normal mode).

It boots up fine. So it seems when choosing "Zorin", it goes with kernel 6.2 in normal mode and that's what fails to boot.

I still need to do a completely fresh reinstall. Perhaps clicking that "Format?" button in the Something Else partitioner. But that's a job for tomorrow at this point.

100% agree that is a recovered install, not a fresh one. I wonder if this is related to the issue you mentioned already:

We can fix that... but it won't be necessary if you want a fresh install.

The above suggests that the Partition you selected, then set to format - did not format. It was not wiped as free space.
When you click the (-) button, that is supposed to delete that partition. When you click the (+) button, that is to set up how to format it. Clicking "Ok" after selecting your options should then proceed to formatting, not asking if you want to go back.

I have never witnessed this before - not sure what to make of it.

It says "Free space" after the step of deleting that partition but then goes back to "Zorin 16.3 (16)" after the step of formatting it.

I will now try again but clicking that radio button, and I'll report back how it goes.

Doing as before (delete Zorin partition, create new partition in that free space) but now selecting that "Format?" radio button in the Format column of the partitioner.

I click "Install now". This time no message asking "Do you want to return to the partitioner?", it goes straight to the message "Write the changes to disks?" but with some additional text:

WARNING: This will destroy all data on any partitions you have removed as well as on the partitions that are going to be formatted.

That sounds like a true, fresh install, which is what I want.

I cross my fingers and click "Continue".

Installer proceeds as normal (choose location, user name & password, copying files to disk etc.). I wonder why there is a "Skip" button and what would happen if I clicked it. I resist the urge :grin: .

"Installation Complete, restart now".

Upon restart I choose "Zorin". It boots fine! And fresh! :tada: Default appearance theme and the "Welcome to Zorin OS 16.3" window pops up.

sudo apt install neofetch

That confirms I'm running kernel 5.15-0-78-generic.

So it looks like ticking that "Format?" option (earlier I said radio button because it's round, but it's really a tick/check box) is the trick for a fresh reinstall.

Thanks @Aravisian for your help. And I second @Turtle11 's suggestion that "Reinstall Zorin OS" be an option added to the installer.


Here's a recap if anyone's interested, on how to reinstall Zorin fresh over an existing Zorin installation on a multiboot machine (tested on a laptop with Windows 11 and Zorin Lite 16.3 on a single solid state drive). (If I make any errors, please feel free to correct me.)

  1. Do the usual for creating a live media (USB etc) with Zorin on it.

  2. Boot your computer from the live media and boot up Zorin.

  3. Click "Install Zorin".

  4. Select "Something Else".

  5. In the partitioner, find & select the partition labelled "Zorin OS" in the "System" column.

  6. Click the "-" button below the list of partitions to delete the partition and make it into free space.

  7. Find & select the free space where Zorin used to be and click the "+" button.

  8. In the popup:

  • choose "ext4" for file system
  • choose "primary"
  • set the size if you want / need to do so
  • set as "at beginning" [note: I forgot to do this but it seems to have worked out OK]
  • set the Mount point to "/"
    Finish this step by clicking OK.
  1. In the partitioner, find the drive (which will no longer be labelled free space but as "Zorin" again, and tick the checkbox in the column called "Format?". (Once ticked, the "Zorin" label in the "System" column will disappear.)

  2. Click "install now".

  3. When you see the "Write the changes to disks?" message, click "Continue".

  4. Proceed with installation as normal.

This will result in a clean, fresh installation of Zorin. All previous changes (added software, changed kernels, data and files) in your previous Zorin installation are completely wiped. But other OSes (e.g. Windows) will be left unaffected.

At least, that's how it worked for me.

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It helps to keep a list of stuff you do on a new install in the cloud. Mine:

*Chrome (from web site)
*Extension Manager
*Input Remapper
*Shell Restarter extension
*Weather in the Clock extension
*Clipboard Indicator extension
*Tiling Assistant extension
*Shutdown Timer extension
*Turned on Workspace Indicator extension
*Enlarged fonts in Tweaks to 1.10
*Swapped Caps Lock and Esc in Tweaks
*Swappped Ctrl-R and Win-R in Tweaks (If you have no R Win key)
*Moved Super key to right Win in Tweaks
*Turned off Attach Modal Dialogues in Tweaks
*Enlarged Cursor to medium
*Installed nautilus-admin
*Turned on Sound Keys
*Turned off auto screen lock
*Turned off auto login
*Installed numlockx
*Opened firewall ports for Zorin Connect and Plex
*Set clock to AM/PM and added day of week
*Reloaded my wallpapers from Google Drive
*Made Chrome website shortcuts
*Rearranged Taskbar

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Yeah, for Zorin Lite on the old HP Pavilion (my first Zorin installation), I've been keeping a list (text file in Dropbox) of all the changes I make: programs added (and how: apt, flatpak, snap, .deb), tweaks to the DE, other settings etc.

I've also bookmarked things like SaveDesktop, Penguins Eggs and Zorin-How to Easily reinstall programs when Reinstalling Zorin to hopefully simplify the process in the future.

However on the new Lenovo Ideapad where I did this reinstallation, I'm probably going to be trying things (kernels, git, various driver packages etc) and wiping multiple times, until I've got the bl°°dy wifi card working or I give up and just go with tethering or dongle. Only then will I start adding programs and tweaking settings.

I mean, I like Shaq as much as the next person, but seriously? Kazaam on every new Linux install???


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Since switching to Wayland, Kazam doesn't work anymore so I'm using Shift+Ctrl+Alt+R to record screen.

Numlockx still works but doesn't light indicator.

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