Use The Recovery Partition Edit on GitHub

The recovery partition on this operating system is a full copy of the Pop!_OS installation disk. It can be used exactly the same as if a live disk copy of Pop!_OS was booted from a USB drive. The existing operating system can be repaired or reinstalled from the recovery mode. You can also perform a refresh install, which allows you to reinstall without losing any user data or data in your home directory, or opt to do a fresh install, which will essentially reset all OS data. Refresh Installs are only available on a fresh install of Pop!_OS 19.04 and above.

To boot into recovery mode, bring up the systemd-boot menu by holding down SPACE while the system is booting. On the menu, choose Pop!_OS Recovery.


Table of Contents


If the existing system needs to be repaired, then click the Install Pop!_OS in the top left, and choose quit.

To access to the existing OS drive and run the package manager repair commands, the following commands will need to be run:

First, press +T/+T to open a terminal, then type this command:


This will show you the name of the main internal drive, which will have 4 partitions on it. We will be working with the 3rd partition. If the main drive is an NVMe drive, it will be called /dev/nvme0n1p3 and if the drive is a SATA or regular M.2 drive, it will be called /dev/sda3.

Next, run this command:

SATA Drives NVMe Drives
sudo mount /dev/sda3 /mnt sudo mount /dev/nvme0n1p3 /mnt

Note: Each box is one single command.

If the command fails and says mount: /mnt: unknown filesystem type 'crypto_LUKS', then the hard drive has been encrypted, and additional commands are needed to unlock it.

Encrypted Disk

To get access to an encrypted disk, these additional commands need to be run in order to unlock the disk. Please use the lsblk command described above to determine the correct drive and partition.

SATA Drives NVMe Drives
sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sda3 cryptdata sudo cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/nvme0n1p3 cryptdata
sudo lvscan sudo lvscan
sudo vgchange -ay sudo vgchange -ay

Note: Pay attention to what the cryptdata group is called. If it is named something other than ‘data-root’ Substitute the correct info into this next command. Make sure that -root is on the end:

sudo mount /dev/mapper/data-root /mnt

And now the existing hard drive can be accessed by going to the /mnt folder. To use the Files program, go to ‘+ Other Locations’ -> ‘Computer’ and then click on the /mnt folder.


chroot is the way to run commands as if the existing operating system had been booted. Once these commands are run, then package manager (apt) and other system level commands can be run.

The EFI partition is usually around 512MB so that would be the partition that we replace in the next command. The Recovery Partition is around 4GB as well.

SATA Drives NVMe Drives
sudo mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot/efi sudo mount /dev/nvme0n1p1 /mnt/boot/efi
for i in /dev /dev/pts /proc /sys /run; do sudo mount -B $i /mnt$i; done for i in /dev /dev/pts /proc /sys /run; do sudo mount -B $i /mnt$i; done
sudo cp -n /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/etc/ sudo cp -n /etc/resolv.conf /mnt/etc/
sudo chroot /mnt sudo chroot /mnt

To exit from the chroot and reboot the computer, run these commands:


Refresh Install

Starting with new installations of Pop!_OS 19.04 (not through upgrading) the installer will include a new Refresh Install option that allows you to reinstall the OS to be reinstalled without losing user account information and data in the home directory. However, your applications will still need to be reinstalled.

Refresh Install Option


Once the recovery operating system has opened, the Pop Installer will start automatically. If the system needs to be reinstalled, go ahead and continue the installation steps as demonstrated here.

If files need to be copied off before reinstall, open the Files program to get access to the existing install. If the existing install is encrypted, please see the encrypted disk instructions above.

Article last modified: 2021-02-23