warning colour needed when the entire disk will be used

Bug #1256874 reported by sudodus on 2013-12-02
54
This bug affects 11 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
One Hundred Papercuts
Medium
Unassigned
ubiquity (Ubuntu)
Medium
Unassigned

Bug Description

Too often beginners misunderstand the partitioning dialogue of the desktop installer.

The Desktop Installer is flexible and looks nice, and is generally easy to understand, but the partitioning page can make people confused. There are several threads at the Ubuntu Forums describing installations, where a previous system has been overwritten by mistake.

Full task:

All actions to reduce the risk of losing data are valuable. Videos, wiki pages, warning text at the downloading sites.

Above all, the text and colours in the installer itself needs improvement, and it should not be too time-consuming to make such an improvement. Some people need to sit down and check what has been misunderstood and try to imagine what can be misunderstood by beginners. Those descriptions and instructions need to be rewritten. In a second step it is important to involve those who translate the text into all the languages. I'd volunteer to such a group.

Minimum task:

I think the most risky case is where 'the entire disk will be used', which is written with bold font on the second page. The title is 'Erase disk and install Lubuntu' with large font. It is evident if you stop and read. But the background colour is neutral grey and the text is normal black. I think the background of that second page should be red (like the red signal colour for recording or of traffic lights). And the text should be bold.This should stop some people from clicking automatically before reading the text.

See the attached pictures 'erase-disk-old.png' and 'erase-disk-new.png'

-o-

Two examples from the Ubuntu Forums:

1. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2170483

'I'm not looking for any support but I thought I'd post to let you know
about unexpected behavior from your 13.04 installer. I recently
installed 12.10 on my Asus Revo L. I partitioned 30 gigs to dedicate to
Ubuntu. After mucking around I wanted to go ahead and install 13.04.
However the 13.04 installer wouldn't boot up, and after a while i found
out i had to go into grub boot config file and set "nomodeset".
Finally I was able to get into the installer.

The installer gave me some options: "Upgrade from 12.10 to 13.04" or
"Erase 12.10 and install 13.04". I chose the latter. The installer then
went on to repartition the entire hard drive, format it to Ubuntu, and
install 13.04 in it. I lost my windows install, for which there is no
backup (the system does not come with a restore disc or flash drive) and
all my content. Over what? That never should have happened guys'

2. http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2183287

'When I went to install 13.10 I chose the option to remove windows and
replace with Ubuntu. I had two partitions when I chose this. One with
files I wanted to keep and the other being the windows 7 partition. When
I chose to remove windows I assumed it would be placed on my C drive and
not my other one. But what actually ended up happening was all my
partitions merged into one deleting everything. Now I only have Ubuntu
on my drive. I need help retrieving my files please!'

One example from AskUbuntu:

Accidentally Wiped out Hard Disk With Windows 8 while installing
ubuntu 13.04, Is there any way to recover?

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 13.10
Package: ubiquity (not installed)
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.11.0-12.19-generic 3.11.3
Uname: Linux 3.11.0-12-generic i686
ApportVersion: 2.12.5-0ubuntu2
Architecture: i386
Date: Mon Dec 2 11:36:31 2013
InstallationDate: Installed on 2013-10-18 (44 days ago)
InstallationMedia:

MarkForUpload: True
SourcePackage: ubiquity
UpgradeStatus: No upgrade log present (probably fresh install)

sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :
sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :

I could not upload both files to the first comment, so here comes the old (current) version of the second screen when using the entire disk.

Changed in ubiquity (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
Lars Noodén (larsnooden) wrote :

I would say rather than a color, that a dialog pop up where "no" is the default and that "yes" has to be chosen manually. Answering "no" should bring the user back to the previous dialog where installation type is selected, giving the user a second look at the choices.

sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :

That would be more than my minimum, but yes Lars, such a pop-up with "no" as default would make it much safer :-)

Dale Visser (dale-visser) wrote :

I think an additional case for a strong warning screen should be added: when an existing NTFS or FAT32 partition is set to be deleted or modified in any way. This would help newbies coming over from Windows.

Chris Hermansen (c-hermansen) wrote :

This is a great point to think clearly about the contents of the message.

The prospective user needs to understand clearly that the "erase and install" option leaves no chance of returning to the previous state unless there is a separate backup.

I can easily believe that the inexperienced or untutored prospective user would read "Erase disk and install Lubuntu" and not realize there is some hidden copy of Windows somewhere that can be magically reinstalled. At the same time there cannot be pages and pages of instructions.

So I suggest:

"Delete Windows and all your data from the computer forever and install Lubuntu in its place"

In something contrasty and obvious as Nio suggests.

If there is room for a bit more explanation / fine print below then something like:

"if you have a backup of Windows or install media, you can re-install it"

and:

"Once Lubuntu is installed, you can retrieve your data from your most recent backup".

2013-12-02 17:48, Chris Hermansen skrev:
> This is a great point to think clearly about the contents of the
> message.
>
> The prospective user needs to understand clearly that the "erase and
> install" option leaves no chance of returning to the previous state
> unless there is a separate backup.
>
> I can easily believe that the inexperienced or untutored prospective
> user would read "Erase disk and install Lubuntu" and not realize there
> is some hidden copy of Windows somewhere that can be magically
> reinstalled. At the same time there cannot be pages and pages of
> instructions.
>
> So I suggest:
>
> "Delete Windows and all your data from the computer forever and install
> Lubuntu in its place"
>
> In something contrasty and obvious as Nio suggests.
>
> If there is room for a bit more explanation / fine print below then
> something like:
>
> "if you have a backup of Windows or install media, you can re-install
> it"
>
> and:
>
> "Once Lubuntu is installed, you can retrieve your data from your most
> recent backup".
>
Nice write-up Chris,

I think it helps making a real improvement of the installer :-)

Best regards/Nio

sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :

2013-12-02 16:00, Dale Visser skrev:
> I think an additional case for a strong warning screen should be added:
> when an existing NTFS or FAT32 partition is set to be deleted or
> modified in any way. This would help newbies coming over from Windows.
>

You are right Dale,

This is a good way to help help newbies coming over from Windows.

Best regards/Nio

Adolfo Jayme (fitojb) on 2013-12-05
Changed in ubiquity (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
Changed in hundredpapercuts:
status: New → Triaged
importance: Undecided → Medium
sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :

Good idea to mark it as a papercut :-)

Erick Brunzell (lbsolost) wrote :

What's needed is actual logs indicating what went wrong.

Sadly when things go wrong the number 1 priority becomes recovering as much as possible, or quite often the user that unintentionally lost an OS/data just goes away forever!

So what we need is testers with Win 7 & Win 8 to test the installation process!

To further complicate things many manufacturers now like to use FOUR primary partitions out-of-box!

Ultimately I think the new default should be to reject any installation option other than "manual partitioning" if any Windows/ntfs crap is present anywhere on any active drives!

Erick Brunzell (lbsolost) wrote :

Silly thought; have a warning to the effect of, "Are all of your operating systems and data partitions presented here? If not please request help at .........."!

oldfred (oldfred) wrote :

The issue is not just the 4 primary partitions in use with MBR. We are seeing the the forums many users over writing UEFI Windows with gpt partitioning. Again not sure if just user error or why it is occurring but it is a lot more than one or two accidentally picking wrong choice.

Several have chosen LVM as it says 'easier' partitioning and it seems to overwrite entire drive without any warnings at all. Same with encrypted LVM.

Several have installed with dual boot Windows, had major issues with Ubuntu, so they elected to reinstall. Menu said overwrite existing Ubuntu install, but erased entire drive, including Windows & recovery partitions.

Erick Brunzell (lbsolost) wrote :

Sorry if I came across as condescending :^(

Here's a recent report at the forums:

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2195105

To me that indicates that ubiquity is somehow buggy but with no actual info we don't know what's wrong.

We really need to have someone with access to Win 7 and Win 8 to test the heck out of the installer so we can figure out what's going wrong!

In that particular case it's quite odd that Kubuntu installed OK but then replacing it with Lubuntu resulted in the loss of Win and data.

Ubuntu QA Website (ubuntuqa) wrote :

This bug has been reported on the Ubuntu ISO testing tracker.

A list of all reports related to this bug can be found here:
http://iso.qa.ubuntu.com/qatracker/reports/bugs/1256874

tags: added: iso-testing
sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :

Another case where a user has overwritten Windows by mistake ... or because the Ubuntu installer gave wrong information.

See this link

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2202595&p=12914574#post12914574

and that whole thread. Can it be like I suspect, that it is possible to select 'install alongside Windows' or 'install inside Windows' and then select encrypting the drive, so that Ubuntu grabs the whole drive?

In there a choice at all in Ubuntu 13.10 to 'install inside Windows'?

Best regards
Nio

sudodus (nio-wiklund) wrote :

And it happened again ... this time the poor newbie asks:

'p.s. please have less ambiguous instructions during the installation. I seriously had no idea that option I chose was going to remove Windows.. '

http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=2203184

We need to do something!

Oldfred at the Ubuntu Forums refers to the bug report

https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ubiquity/+bug/1265192

Best regards
Nio

Changed in ubiquity (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Triaged
milestone: none → ubuntu-14.04
milestone: ubuntu-14.04 → ubuntu-14.04-beta-1
Colin Watson (cjwatson) on 2014-04-17
no longer affects: ubiquity

I just posted a comment on this over at bug #1265192 but perhaps it is more appropriate for this bug. Since I wrote this comment, I have been thinking about the number of users who a) know about AskUbuntu, b) look up their problem, c) do not find an existing answer, and d) bother to ask a question. At a guess, I would say they probably represent, at most, 1 in 10 of new users. So the lower bound of "1 drive inadvertently wiped every 1.5 days" might actually mean ten drives wiped every day. It is just a guess, but I wouldn't be that surprised. Copy/paste follows.

> @Erick: WT#? it gobbled your XP partition when you said upgrade ubuntu 12.04? Eeeeeek!

Data loss on partitioning is sadly common, just browsing AskUbuntu today I counted 35 reports of people inadvertently deleting or formatting their Windows partitions since the start of April -- http://askubuntu.com/questions/tagged/partitioning+data-recovery?sort=newest&pagesize=50 -- that's one user's data being deleted, due to bug or error, every 1.5 days. And that is obviously just a lower bound, consisting of the minority of users who knew about AskUbuntu, and bothered to report it there, and had their questions properly tagged.

I just now saw a report of "Install Ubuntu alongside Windows" deleting all the partitions on a 2nd drive: http://askubuntu.com/questions/471996/data-lost-after-installing-ubuntu-alongside-windows -- The user managed to recover his deleted partitions using a data recover tool but concludes, "I am still angry over B**tard Ubuntu i hate it VERY much, I WONT USE UBUNTU AGAIN IT IS S**T. "

Ubuntu attracts a lot of novice users. The installer needs to make it really, really clear when it is going to wipe a partition that contains an existing file system. I would say it is necessary to make the confirmation crystal clear - maybe go so far as making them type WIPEMYDATA! or similar in capitals, to confirm that they read the text and really understand what is about to happen.

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