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When trying out different distributions, if I choose to keep the same partitions and not format the partitions, is it possible to load on a different distribution without losing user accounts, settings and home directories?
I am using Fedora Core 2 Test 1 and it has a stack of problems. I want to either go back to RedHat 9 or Mandrake 10.
Yes and no. You can keep /home on a separate partition and simply add it to fstab to be mounted normally in your new distro...however, you will not be able to save /etc/passwd and /etc/shadow unless you copy them somewhere beforehand. Because /etc holds all the init scripts et al that can vary widely from distro to distro, you cannot preserve it accross different distros.
So my advice...keep your /home partition, but install everything else as normal. If you create the same users on the new install your /home directories should work without a hassle.
the short answer is no. even if you keep your home dir anything it needs outside that partition is stuffed. just tarball your home dir, back it up somewhere if you have space, and redo the whole thing. Then take the installs and other stuff you need out of your backup again.
I made the move from redhat to mandrake 3 months ago, believe me you will not regret the move. mandrake seems easier while in fact being more powerful with less config hassles. of course some other folks would disagree, but that is my personal experience.
Yep done, Mandrake community 10.0 is now my distribution. I backed up and restored. I had to set up all my preferences again and I miss a few redhat tools, but that's life I guess. (Might try and install them from the fedoras disks anyway)
At least I can now play mp3s and compile drivers right out of the box. Maybe when Fedora Core 2 is complete I'll give it another look.
Did you create the same users again? Another thing to check is the UID number of the users. Some distros start regular users at UID 500 and some at UID 1000.
Well, I wouldn't put /root on its own partition, but /home is great to put on its own partition. Why tar it up every time you want to try a new distro? Just leave the partition alone when you reinstall. /home is one of the few directories that remains pretty much untouched during a typical install. Create the same users during the install, then mount your partition at /home. No tarring, no bZipping, and no moving files around when you don't have to.