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Old 02-09-2014, 11:32 AM   #1
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persistent /home vs. fresh install

When doing a "fresh install" using the /home file system from a previous installation, what happens with all of the $HOME configuration details? I don't know what most of the hidden folders and files are all about:
  • How do I discover which items I no longer need and can delete?
  • Will the settings in the old files cause trouble for new editions of apps an utilities after the "fresh install"?
  • How do I get access to new features of the "fresh install" and preserve my preferences from the previous install?
  • Does it make sense to rename my old-install user, create a fresh user, then move details from the old user as needed?

I have a separate /home file system and want to do a "fresh install" of Linux Mint-16 KDE. My current deployment uses Linux Mint-15 Cinnamon, and I've been a Gnome-something user since Ubuntu 08.04.
This means that my $HOME folder contains all sorts of hidden files and folders to configure a collections of apps and utilities that I'll no longer be using.

Thanks in advance,
~~~ 0;-Dan
Old 02-09-2014, 12:15 PM   #2
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Some configuration files will give you problems, others won't. The ugrade step you are taking is not very large, so there is a fair chance the majority of your applications will be fine.

AFAIK applications are not very good in combining old settings and new settings into something which configures exactly what you want.

You recognize problems in settings files when certain program options or features do not work correctly for no good reason.

Since you are installing a fresh KDE this should not give any problems. If you already have a .kde directory it is better to rename or delete it. KDE is notorious in misbehaving when you use old config files.

My recommendation would be to just keep the $HOME and see what happens after installation. Then drop old config files on a per-need basis. Do make backups to avoid accidental overwrites.

Old 02-09-2014, 12:23 PM   #3
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My experience and opinion is that there is no advantage to keep your old home directory. I just back up my data files and do a fresh install complete with a new home directory.

but there are many who don't agree with me.
Old 02-09-2014, 04:48 PM   #4
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I'm a little lazier than @qlue - I generally re-use my /home (and have never bothered deleting old cruft).
I keep a separate backup of /etc and my /home just in case and have at it. The various package managers generally do a pretty good job of managing the (re-)installs. For example I just replaced Fedora 17 with F20 with any hickups (packagekit excepted).

Eventually I always trash the whole lot, so not cleaning up each time becomes moot.


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