It’s always good to know what you need to back up before wiping a hard drive, whether you’re upgrading to a newer version of a distro (generally safer) or distro hopping (which I have 5 good reasons for doing a lot of).
Here’s a cheat sheet to help ensure you don’t forget anything.
0. Entire Home Folder(s) and List of Apps
List of Installed Apps
For those that don’t care about extra unnecessary config files and folders taking up precious space, back up the entire home folder, skip to Number 5 for ways to get a list of your installed apps, and be done with it.
1. Home Folders
Start with the most important (and obvious):
- Templates and Public (if you use them)
Include any other /home/ folders (excluding hidden folders for now).
Many Linux distros have custom fonts – e.g. Ubuntu, Ubuntu Studio, and Uberstudent. You’ll know you’re missing a font when you open a document in LibreOffice Writer and see an italicized name in the font box.
LibreOffice uses a default “basic font” when a specified font within a document isn’t installed.
View and change your basic fonts by going to “Tools” > “Options” > “LibreOffice Writer” > “Basic Fonts” (Western).
3. Email Data
You don’t want to spend 15 minutes plugging in all your e-mail accounts and recreating your to-do list and calendars in your email client after a fresh install. Back up the config files using the directory or the app’s export function if possible.
4. Config Folders
Depending on the programs you use, you’ll want to back up config files so you spend less time customizing your favorite apps after a fresh install.
5. List of Installed Apps
There are many ways to do this –
- Rely on the list of saved config files and folders within your home folder, if you jumped from #0 (may be incomplete).
- From your Applications Menu, write the names of your installed applications in a text file (recommended).
- In the terminal:
ls /usr/share/applications > ~/Documents/[file1].txt # Lists all shared installed applications in a file titled [file1].txt # in your Documents folder cat ~/Documents/[file1].txt # Displays the contents of your new text file. sed 's/.desktop//' ~/Documents/[file1].txt >> ~/Documents/[file1].txt # Removes ".desktop" from the end of each line.
- Also from the terminal:
cat ~/.bash_history | grep ppa- > ~/Documents/[file2].txt # This saves ppa commands from the terminal in a saved text file
Bonus: Don’t forget your web browser bookmarks.
Know a better way of doing any of these? Did I miss something?
Tweet me at @golivelively, email me at Jtspratley [at] go live lively [dot] com, or comment below.