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How do you uninstall Ubuntu?
August 28, 2018
Edited: June 12, 2020
December 3, 2023
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Don’t Uninstall, reformat the partition
Firstly you don’t “uninstall” Ubuntu 16.10 or Kali-Linux, you simply reformat the partition they are sitting in. Most people would probably use NTFS (Windows format) but you can use
ext4 for Linux if you like.
NTFS has the advantage as it can be written to and read by both Windows and Linux.
ext4 can only be read and written by Linux unless extraordinary steps are taken in Windows with the possibility of data corruption.
You can reformat the partitions in
gparted or a number of other programs.
Finding what the partitions are
There are a few ways of discovering the correct partitions to reformat.
lsblk to reveal partition device name
If when you installed Ubuntu 16.10 and Kali Linux you gave the partitions a label they would be revealed with the
$ lsblk -o NAME,FSTYPE,LABEL,MOUNTPOINT,SIZE,MODEL NAME FSTYPE LABEL MOUNTPOINT SIZE MODEL sr0 1024M DVD+/-RW DW316 sda 931.5G HGST HTS721010A9 ├─sda4 ntfs WINRETOOLS 450M ├─sda2 128M ├─sda5 ntfs Image 11.4G ├─sda3 ntfs HGST_Win10 /mnt/d 919G └─sda1 vfat ESP 500M nvme0n1 477G Samsung SSD 960 PRO 512GB ├─nvme0n1p5 ntfs 858M ├─nvme0n1p3 16M ├─nvme0n1p1 ntfs 450M ├─nvme0n1p8 ntfs Shared_WSL+Linux /mnt/e 9G ├─nvme0n1p6 ext4 New_Ubuntu_16.04 / 23.7G ├─nvme0n1p4 ntfs NVMe_Win10 /mnt/c 363.2G ├─nvme0n1p10 ext4 Ubuntu_18.04 /mnt/clone 27.2G ├─nvme0n1p2 vfat /boot/efi 99M ├─nvme0n1p9 swap [SWAP] 7.9G └─nvme0n1p7 ext4 Old_Ubuntu_16.04 /mnt/old 44.6G
Imagine I wanted to reformat the partitions Ubuntu 18.04 and Old_Ubuntu_16.04 I would reference them as
gparted or any other partition formatting program. Of course they would likely display the LABEL as well so using
lsblk might be unnecessary.
Mount the partition and read
From your terminal (of your currently booted Ubuntu) type:
$ cat /etc/lsb-release DISTRIB_ID=Ubuntu DISTRIB_RELEASE=16.04 DISTRIB_CODENAME=xenial DISTRIB_DESCRIPTION="Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS"
We can repeat this command (with minor modification) on every partition after mounting it.
Some people probably find it very easy to mount partitions but I wrote a script for it. I run
sudo mount-menu.sh and get this selection screen:
Your Ubuntu 16.10 and Kali partitions will probably be
ext4. They will definitely not be
vfat. For this example I’ll pick
nvme0n1p10 to see what distribution is installed there (yes we can already guess it is Ubuntu 18.04).
Use the Down Arrow key to highlight it and press Enter. The menu will clear and you are left with a message in your terminal:
===================================================================== Mount Device: /dev/nvme0n1p10 Mount Name: /mnt/mount-menu.jcXDv File System: ext4 ID: Ubuntu RELEASE: 16.04 CODENAME: xenial DESCRIPTION: Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS Size Used Avail Use% 27G 9.4G 16G 38%
Now we can repeat the command from the last section with a minor modification:
$ cat /mnt/mount-menu.jcXDv/etc/lsb-release DISTRIB_ID=Ubuntu DISTRIB_RELEASE=16.04 DISTRIB_CODENAME=xenial DISTRIB_DESCRIPTION="Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS"
Yes I know it looks wrong but I cloned my Ubuntu 16.04 over to the 18.04 partition recently to test Ubuntu’s 16.04 to 18.04 upgrade process (it’s a hobby of mine).
Unmount the partition
The next step is to unmount the partition. I also wrote a script to do that
Highlight the partition you mounted in the last step and press Enter.
The menu will clear and a message will be display:
/dev/nvme0n1p10 mounted on /mnt/mount-menu.jcXDv unmounted.
You can find both scripts here: Unable to read files between two distros