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reinstalling debian /bin

Please excuse the late reply.  Thank you all for the help.  I have
decided to reinstall the Debian system.  I have a backup of all the
important files so it was a fairly quick install.  I use the system to
run a few web sites so I wanted to assure that all the /bin files were
available.  I almost have it back to normal.  I will make another
attempt to set up Xen only this time I will be more careful which /bin
directory I delete.  I am just thrilled to be able to experiment with
all kinds of exotic software and not be burden by financing the

On 9/20/06, James Kramer <kramerjm at> wrote:
> Everyone Thanks for the help.  I will try the advice this weekend.
> Jay
> On 9/19/06, Alex Pennace <alex at> wrote:
> > On Sun, Sep 17, 2006 at 01:53:35PM -0400, James Kramer wrote:
> > > While working on Xen setup I managed to delete /bin  by using the command
> > > rm -R /bin. I don't think that I can recover the /bin files but I
> > > should be able to reinstall the packages. I have a backup of all my
> > > data files and most config files that were in /etc.  I can boot into a
> > > different debian OS using grub so I can access the partition and
> > > files.  I can chroot the particular partition.  Can someone suggest
> > > how to reinstall the system.  If I do a complete debian reinstalll
> > > from CD on top the partition would it retain my old directories and
> > > files.  I tried to chroot the root partion figuring that I could use
> > > apt-get to reinstall the packages but I can not figure out the proper
> > > way to do it.
> >
> > You are going to encounter a chicken-and-egg scenario that is not
> > going to be easy to back out of. The problem is many, many packages
> > depend/predepend on programs in /bin. It is probably that an apt-get
> > --reinstall will fail due to the missing files.
> >
> > "dpkg -S /bin" will list most packages that have files in /bin. (If
> > the root directory in question is under /mnt, use "dpkg --root=/mnt -S
> > /bin".) The files that are missed would be files created by package
> > maintainer scripts instead of being unpacked through dpkg. This is
> > almost a non-issue for /bin, but would be an issue for most other
> > directories.
> >
> > Gather up the corresponding debs. For each deb, run dpkg -x (deb)
> > (tmpdir). Copy over the files in (tmpdir)/bin into the target's
> > /bin. Check the target's /bin/sh; make it a symlink to bash if it
> > isn't already.
> >
> > You now have a Debian system that is 95% of the way to being
> > whole. Boot into it and run apt-get --reinstall install (packages in
> > question).
> >
> > As hinted above, there may be packages that do not unpack any files
> > into /bin (and thus won't appear in dpkg -S /bin), but have maintainer
> > scripts that create files in /bin behind dpkg's back. If you are
> > truely concerned about that, then apt-get --reinstall install all the
> > packages on the system. Be warned that this can cause other problems:
> > It calls the maintainer scripts for every package, and some of them
> > are not idempotent.
> >

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