How to restore a Debian / Ubuntu based distro to its original state

Users who try many applications, install multiple packages and make many changes to our distros to test it, improve it or just for fun, sometimes we end up with an operating system with many things installed and in my case many times with packages that do not ** ** idea when or for you to install them. Similarly, sometimes we prefer to return to the initial state of our distro to start from scratch, to speed up this process of restoration Resetter has been created, an excellent application to restore a distro based on Debian / Ubuntu.

What is Resetter?

It is an open source tool, developed in python and pyqt that allows us to restore a Debian or Ubuntu based distro to its original state, without the need to use a distro image or complex package removal processes and more.

To restore our distro, the tool uses the update manifest of each distribution which compares it with the list of currently installed packages, the installed packages that differ from the manifest are uninstalled and can be installed in the future. restore a distro

This tool claims its development team that it is compatible with the following distros,

  • Linux Mint 18.1 (tested by me)
  • Linux Mint 18
  • Linux Mint 17.3
  • Ubuntu 17.04
  • Ubuntu 16.10
  • Ubuntu 16.04
  • Ubuntu 14.04
  • Elementary OS 0.4
  • Debian Jessie
  • Linux Deepin 15.4 (pstolen by me)

Resetter Features

  • Open source tool, with high support and a fairly high level of stability.
  • Easy to install and use.
  • Allows you to create a list of applications that you want to be installed after restoring to the base version of your distro.
  • It allows the storage of a copy of the state of your current distro, with which in the future you can install the applications of said copy.
  • Simple installation of PPA from the tool.
  • Powerful PPA editor, which allows you to deactivate, activate and eliminate PPAS for any user in the system.
  • Various installation options.
  • Manual and automatic reset mode.
  • Possibility of removing old kernels.
  • Allows you to delete users and their directories.
  • Many others more.

How to install Resetter?

Installing Resetter is quite simple, just download the .deb file corresponding to the latest version here!. Then install the .deb package as usual, so that you start enjoying the application.

Similarly, it is recommended that before installing Resetter download the add-apt-key package with wget with the following command wget -c http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/universe/a/add-apt-key/add-apt-key_1.0-0.5_all.deb then please install it with gdebi by executing the following command  sudo gdebi add-apt-key_1.0-0.5_all.deb

How to restore a Debian based distro?

We can restore a Debian / Ubuntu-based distro with Resetter easily and quickly, when we run the application it immediately identifies our distro and its characteristics in addition to the update manifest. In the same way, the tool shows us three options that will allow us to carry out certain tasks that we detail below:

  • easy install: It allows us to create a list of applications that will be installed after restoring your system, or for future package installation.
  • automatic reset: Provides the possibility of restoring a Debian / Ubuntu-based distro automatically, it will do a standard restore, also eliminating users and home directories as well as making a backup.
  • custom reset: It offers us a personalized restoration, where we can choose the ppa that we want to install, the users and directories that we want to eliminate, eliminate old kernels, applications to eliminate among others.

Once any of the aforementioned options have been chosen, we must follow the simple instructions that the tool indicates.

We hope that with this tool you can obtain favorable results, recommending its use in production prior to testing in development environments. Backing up the information by your own means is also advisable.

It is worth noting that the automatic procedure carried out by this application can be done with simple commands, but that this is a very practical way to do it.


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  1.   Kacike Techotiba said

    Too bad it's not for Fedora, I move between Kubuntu and Fedora and many times I find good tools for Fedora and not for Ubuntu and vice versa

  2.   Juan Luque said

    Excellent tool, long live GNU Linux.
    Then I'll install it to see how

  3.   Edwar Damas said

    Very incomplete information, the installation method is not a .deb
    They must have bothered to read the documentation, before posting ...
    How to install
    Install via deb file found here.

    PPA will be created this Friday or weekend.
    It is easier to install any deb files via gdebi, especially on elementary os with no graphical way of installing a deb file.
    On the terminal, run sudo apt install gdebi.
    - Linux deepin isn't based on ubuntu but on debian so some modules aren't available in their repos by default.
    For Linux Deepin Users

    Before installing Resetter, fetch the add-apt-key package using wget -c http://mirrors.kernel.org/ubuntu/pool/universe/a/add-apt-key/add-apt-key_1.0-0.5_all.deb and install it with sudo gdebi add-apt-key_1.0-0.5_all.deb

    1.    lizard said

      Sorry but in the releases there is the .deb to install it on any Debian-based distro.

  4.   Robert said

    I have a big problem I hope someone can help me ... I am looking to repair Elementary OS, I will briefly explain what happened, I was deleting PPAs that I installed but in the end I did not use, so I decided to remove them, I made a mistake and deleted other things that I should not, reinstalled some and I repaired from terminal (it still worked normal, without any problem), then I restarted the OS but when the system was loading it no longer passed the logo. Try from the recovery of elementary os to repair broken packages, and all that has been done correctly, update applications, the distro and from terminal in recovery mode it seemed that there was no problem, when rebooting to enter the system normally, it still remains in the logo of Elementary, does not start the interface 🙁 I do not know what I can do to restore the factory if it can, or how to reinstall elementary os, I have only a few months using linux, maybe I have skipped important steps or not, so I ask for help ... ?

  5.   gonzalo said

    Hi. Can I use resetter on debian 9? thanks.