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Old 01-22-2004, 05:45 PM   #1
Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Ohio, USA
Distribution: RH 9.0 / Fedora Core 3
Posts: 58

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Changing Distros and Saving Existing Data

Well, I've been doing this linux thing for just over a year now ... and I'm starting to get an itch to try out some other distro's. I'm on RH9 right now, which I started with simply because I'd heard the most about it and it sounded as good a place to start as any.

I started playing with Knoppix at work the other day and was pretty impressed. Even the eye candy was great, so I started thinking, "What else is out there?"

My question is this: Can I change distros and leave my partitions in tact and be able to save what data I have so far? I'd like to not loose my saved emails, if possible (but that's not completely a requirement) and I have a lot of web page design and stuff saved that I need to keep.

If this is distro Dependant, which distro's are good for this sort of switch?

Old 01-22-2004, 06:17 PM   #2
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Registered: Jan 2004
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When you install a distro, it installs the kernel, and all the software. If you have all your user data on a separate partition from your programs/kernel/etc, then you are fine, just make sure that your user partition is not erased during the new install.

Generally, all your user files are stored in /home/username (if you have a webserver, the webpage files may be stored somewhere else, like /var/www/htdocs or /home/httpd). Just backup all these files, and then restore them after you are done installing a new distro. Depending on how much stuff you have, you might just be able to dump it all on 1 or 2 CD-Rs.

If you have a lot of data (several gigs), so that it is not feasable to backup to CD-Rs, and everything is on the same partition, what you can do is use somethig like parted or Partition Magic to split your partition into two, and move all of your user data you want to keep to the second partition, while leaving all the software on the first. Then you would be free to erase the first, and install a new distro there.


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