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Old 01-22-2019, 06:04 PM   #1
microft777
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Does repetitive installation of distros adversely affect my PC?


I've been using Linux distros for over 15 years, but recently I think I've maybe had some strange things that may have occurred. Several months ago, I came across KDE Neon and decided to try it. However, after several weeks, it began to refuse to accept config changes. I went to DistroWatch and found that Manjaro Gnome Edition has the best user rating. However, again I'm having trouble getting Manjaro to accept config changes. My wife later told that our son said that changing from distro to distro was ill-advised especially on an 'older computer'. My question is: was he right. Also, when changing distros, should I delete the distro-specific files in the Home directory.

Last edited by microft777; 01-22-2019 at 06:08 PM.
 
Old 01-22-2019, 06:26 PM   #2
camorri
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Quote:
distro to distro was ill-advised especially on an 'older computer'
Simple answer, no.

I would always recommend re-formatting the root partition to make sure no old cruft is left laying around. Only other thing is the wear and tear you put on the hard drive, which is minimal. Generally, linux gets along well with older computers.

Quote:
when changing distros, should I delete the distro-specific files in the Home directory.
I would recommend that. Leaving old files around may cause problems, however, without specific files in mind, I can not give a definite answer.

The best approach is to back up to other media any files you want to save, format the home partition, install, and then restore your data.
 
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Old 01-22-2019, 07:09 PM   #3
sevendogsbsd
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Agree with camorri completely - won't hurt your PC.

Don't me misled by "best user rating". This is like talking religion or automotive engine oil: everyone has their opinion and theirs is right...I would say any one in the top 10 is fine but there are some gems hidden much lower. Absolutely no clue how distrowatch ranks these. Hang out here on the forums - I believe there are threads to help folks pick out the best distro for their needs.
 
Old 01-22-2019, 08:36 PM   #4
Timothy Miller
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Like others say, no. If you have an SSD, it will decrease it's write life, but most SSD's have far more write life than you'd normally use in far more than it's warranty period, but if you're wrking with HDD's, then no problem.
 
Old 01-22-2019, 08:41 PM   #5
colorpurple21859
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If that was true my 6 yr old laptop should have died years ago. I have repaired it several times from it hitting the floor, but not from installing distros, which I do all the time.
 
Old 01-23-2019, 01:07 AM   #6
Angelo_d'Cuore
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I have been fiddling with various distro's since 2001, but only went full on into using Linux exclusively at home in 2008.

Just some of the distro's I've installed include Ubuntu, Debian, Mandrake (before it assimilated and became Mandriva), Fedora, Arch, Minix, etc.. No problems with HDD crashing or becoming corrupted.

But it's important to do a new install on a clean HDD, so I would agree with what others have said: backup you documents and media and other important stuff, verify the backup, format the HDD and then install the new OS on the clean HDD.

The HDD I installed my first permanent Linux distro on (back in 2008) was already 2 years old and even after multiple re-installs of various forms of Linux, still lasted me another 4-5 years before finally giving up the ghost (was doing some PC cleaning of the internals and after removing the HDD, I accidentally dropped it ).

All the best!
 
Old 01-23-2019, 11:28 AM   #7
DavidMcCann
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I have a desktop (2005) which has seen Fedora (versions 1 to 14), Debian, and CentOS; it has survived the lot. I have a /home partition that is never deleted. Sometimes new versions of software created new configuration files, but none have ever got confused over the old ones. Occasionally I've manually removed obsolete .desktop files, but that's been from an urge for tidiness rather than necessity.
 
Old 01-23-2019, 03:23 PM   #8
microft777
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My original reason for my long post was to see if any of you may have come across a distro which refused to accept and/or retain configurations changed in the system settings or in /etc.
 
Old 01-23-2019, 03:33 PM   #9
camorri
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Post any errors you get when the changes are refused. For example, if you get a permission error, the user you are in at the time of the error does not have permissions to write to the file. Just an example, you may well have another problem, so post the error messages and we can probably help.

Any changes you make in /etc dir requires root permissions. Either use sudo in from of the command, or log in as root and make the changes.
 
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Old 01-23-2019, 03:49 PM   #10
sevendogsbsd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by microft777 View Post
My original reason for my long post was to see if any of you may have come across a distro which refused to accept and/or retain configurations changed in the system settings or in /etc.
This would never happen unless the default perms were changed and as others have mentioned, your user did not have sufficient perms to begin with, but then you should not have been able to change things under /etc in the first place. If you made a change to something volatile that wasn't meant to be changed, I can see how that may happen, but that is a theoretical condition and can't think of a situation where that would happen, maybe under /proc which is I believe dynamic, could be wrong.
 
Old 01-23-2019, 07:51 PM   #11
dugan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by microft777 View Post
Also, when changing distros, should I delete the distro-specific files in the Home directory.
Yes you should.

The question makes me wonder how much (same home directories? Anything else) you're trying to keep between reinstallations.
 
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Old 01-24-2019, 04:51 PM   #12
jefro
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Not directly related to your question but.

There are some few machines that have a uefi bug. It keeps adding up new boot entries till you have no more space in uefi.


A hard drive should allow a root user (installer) to modify a drive unless it has some odd issue not normally found. Some failure of drive or file permissions or drive geometry or such.
 
  


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