[xubuntu-users] How to organize your disk to simplify reinstalls

Rog linux.rog at gmail.com
Fri Jan 10 20:39:49 UTC 2014


I've found that there are few dot files that I need to keep when updating. If 
on transfers them over after a new install, there's the potential for 

I keep /home on a separate partition and back it up before a fresh install, 
which I prefer to doing an upgrade for major releases. (I also keep backups 
and VMs on a separate partition). I do a custom install / partitioning and 
tell it to mount the home partition as "/home"

After an update, here's folder and files I replace with old backed-up files. 
Some of these are specific to my system and reflect install of software not 
part of a "normal" distro:

    .gimp (if its the same version as what was installed with upgrade)
    to keep defaults for FireFox,

        .mozilla -- especially the folder <strange name>.default which has
        custom settings, etc.
        <strange name> is a firefox generated name consisting of a string of
        characters generated randomly to help maintain security across installs.

    to keep recognized ssh hosts



I do this before starting applications like T-bird and FireFox - new installs 
will create new defaults.

I edit the new .bashrc, to add-in aliases that I have created, to avoid the 
possibility of creating conflicts with possible new content in .bashrc for 


On 12/27/2013 05:26 PM, Michael Shiloh wrote:
> This is an excellent discussion, I have learned lots.
> I too have been trying to figure out what to put things to simplify 
> reinstalls or recovery.
> I've been using Ubuntu One to back up all my files of importance, except for 
> big files like pictures, music, and videos. Those get backed up to a local 
> disk, along with my entire home directory.
> I have one laptop at my workshop and one at home. They both sync the Ubuntu 
> One directory, so I have a backup there, although I'm not 100% convinced 
> that Ubuntu One syncs very well.
> As Benjamin points out, the problem is the various local configuration 
> files, e.g. .config and others. Some we want to keep, some we want to 
> discard and rebuild.
> Case in point: Before I understood how Thunderbird worked, I ended up with 3 
> different email folders, some of which are valuable archives of accounts I 
> no longer have access to, others are duplicates of my active accounts and 
> could be deleted. I use Thunderbird for all my email, so it has 4 active 
> email accounts, and archives of several inactive accounts. Some day I need 
> to sort this out, but meanwhile every time I re-install I just copy the 
> whole mess over. It's a huge waste of space but doesn't really cause trouble.
> I think what Benjamin (and me, and others) are getting to is that there is a 
> while mess of dot files and dot directories, some of which we would like to 
> copy and restore to a new installation, and others of which we would like to 
> discard and recreate.
> I think key to navigating this is understanding what all these files are, 
> what programs or functions they belong to, whether they can be recreated or 
> should be saved, whether they duplicate something that exists in the cloud, 
> etc. etc.
> Is anyone aware of an article that describes this?
> Of course the combined wisdom of this mailing list embodies that 
> information, which is one of the many reasons I subscribe and read. I thank 
> you all for sharing your wisdom.
> Michael

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