Welcome to the most active Linux Forum on the web.
Go Back > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie
User Name
Linux - Newbie This Linux forum is for members that are new to Linux.
Just starting out and have a question? If it is not in the man pages or the how-to's this is the place!


  Search this Thread
Old 08-03-2005, 04:57 AM   #1
LQ Newbie
Registered: Oct 2004
Posts: 8

Rep: Reputation: 0
Switching Distros

Hi, I'm currently running Mandrake 10, and I'm ready to switch distros, but I don't want to lose my /home directory

now, I know I can install the new distro over the old, leaving my /home partition untouched, but will I have major conflict issues with config settings & the like?
Old 08-03-2005, 05:02 AM   #2
Registered: Jun 2001
Location: UK
Distribution: Gentoo, RHEL, Fedora, Centos
Posts: 43,417

Rep: Reputation: 1977Reputation: 1977Reputation: 1977Reputation: 1977Reputation: 1977Reputation: 1977Reputation: 1977Reputation: 1977Reputation: 1977Reputation: 1977Reputation: 1977
It depends on the individual program really. the most likely conflict would be your bash settings, as these are normally heavily personalised per distro, but other than that, it's down to each program, wether it's a different version that requires different config settings. Generally it's not somethign to worry about.
Old 08-03-2005, 05:10 AM   #3
Senior Member
Registered: Jun 2002
Location: UK .
Distribution: *buntu (usually Kubuntu)
Posts: 2,690
Blog Entries: 9

Rep: Reputation: 45
In theory, if you have a seperate /home then you shouldn't experience any problems. I didn't when changing from a debian derivative (knoppix on the hard drive), to mandrake, then to gentoo, back to mandriva. Though when it came to moving from the Mandriva to the SuSE that I currently use, I had problems.

Sorry, I can't recall what the probs where exactly as I've been doing lots of stuff that I've never done before, as well as learning the differences.

But, on a previous occassion, I wanted to do some meddling with my partitions. I was walked through doing that by one of the blokes from my LUG. He explained a way of using the "tar" command to copy/compress the entire home directory, in such a way that I could store it elsewhere, then I did the partitioning changes that I wanted, and then just put the tarred version of my /home directory back into the new version (I'd shrunken it from about 50 gigs down to 30 gigs - obviously you have to have a rough idea that the compressed old version of it will fit).

Again, that's about 6 to 9 months ago so I no longer recall how I actually did this.

But you may want to look into doing that.

If I can, I'll post the stuff that I was told about, how that works.

maybe that helps/points you in the right direction (if nothing else, it would ensure that you have a back up of you /home, just in case things go wrong when you try the switch).



Last edited by bigjohn; 08-03-2005 at 05:37 AM.
Old 08-03-2005, 05:37 AM   #4
Senior Member
Registered: Jun 2002
Location: UK .
Distribution: *buntu (usually Kubuntu)
Posts: 2,690
Blog Entries: 9

Rep: Reputation: 45
Ok, the only bit I found of how to do what I suggested in my previous post is this
> # cd /home
> # tar cvfz /home-backup.tar.gz .< Note the dot, it's important
> # cd
> # cd /home
> # tar xcfz /home-backup.tar.gz (no dot need this time)

at this point, it didn't like "xcfz" it replied something about only a
certain number of actruxz (and a few others) switch(es) so I tried the
one that I've used in the past when untarring stuff xvzf, which seemed
to work (well it appears to have as I'm typing this from my /home at the
The above is the bit that was about compressing the /home (I just chopped out the other bits where I was doing the partitioning).

So the stages, well as you can see from the # I had to cd into my /home directory, then did the tar command, then cd out of the /home. I'm presuming that that is the point where you would be doing the distro change/install - if you are gonna use a distro that has a graphic installer, then its easy just to tell the installer not to format that part of the hard drive where you have your /home. You then just have to make sure further down the line that you can mount the /home partition, as far as I understand, you just have to use the same username, plus you have to nominate the /home by putting an entry into your /etc/fstab.

When you then get to log in for the first time (again provided you've used the same username) then you should be able to check whether you have the stuff that you wanted to keep still in the /home. If you have, and after testing it, you then don't need to do the second part of the above (the bit in between the cd and the cd /home prior to where it says tar xcfz......). Because you will have managed to do retain the /home info/settings/customisation/data

If you find that you have problems, then that's the stage where you'd have to format the /home partition and then get the compressed /home-backup.tar.gz file and copy it into the new /home and uncompress it. from there you would probably find that you end up with /home/home/username - but you can the at least just move the files and/or directories to the correct place and then delete the backed up stuff.

Sorry if thats not very well explained, but I can't think of any other way to explain it!

hope that helps a bit



Last edited by bigjohn; 08-03-2005 at 05:39 AM.


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
question about switching distros biojayc Linux - Software 3 04-05-2005 01:03 AM
Switching distros..... AudioMechanic Linux - Distributions 5 09-05-2004 08:02 PM
Switching Distros claudius753 Linux - Newbie 1 02-19-2004 05:18 AM
Switching Distros thcmwz Linux - Software 1 11-27-2003 11:45 AM
Switching distros pmehta1613 Linux - Newbie 1 11-08-2003 07:03 PM > Forums > Linux Forums > Linux - Newbie

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:38 AM.

Main Menu
Write for LQ is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration