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I'm presently having Ubuntu 13.04. I am wishing to change it to the next version by installing the next version i.e. Ubuntu 13.10 using bootable DVD. For that I will 1st download .iso image from Internet and burn it. Now, what I want to know is how to restore my system to the current state after the fresh install.

I explain what I mean: I have taken back up of my /, /boot & /home partition (in the current Ubuntu 13.04). Now for the fresh install the current O.S. will be replaced or removed. Then after my system has Ubuntu 13.10, what do I need to do so that my backed up partitions are restored? Is it simply running commands for restoring (like I run tar or cpio or dd command)?

This is the 1st time I'm restoring my system after fresh install. If I simply run commands for restoring (say for ex. my '/' file system ) then won't it replace the files on the Ubuntu 13.10 (that are specific to the new O.S.) with those of the old version? If so , then it may make my system not work like Ubuntu 13.10.

I'm unclear on this. In other words, are the files residing on / & /boot file system makes the O.S. behave as that particular O.S. If so, then they can't be replaced!!

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    Why not just let Ubuntu update itself rather than use the DVDs? I typically do a upgrade over the internet and it has worked pretty flawlessly since 11.10. I'm currently 13.04. – slm Dec 24 '13 at 1:24
  • @slm You are right. Earlier I also did that way only by upgrading. But now I want by doing the other way so that I get experience on this way also. Because installing a fresh O.S. & restoring the previous system data seems a general way that can be applied for any change of distribution and everywhere. So, I'm interested to get that experience this time though next time onwards I may simply upgrade from Internet. – Ravi Dec 24 '13 at 1:39
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    so do you want to do a clean install and then apply your previous setups? – slm Dec 24 '13 at 1:44
  • @slm yes you are absolutely right. That's I intend to do. – Ravi Dec 24 '13 at 1:47
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In other words, are the files residing on / & /boot file system makes the O.S. behave as that particular O.S. If so, then they can't be replaced!!

Pretty much so. / and /boot contain the operating system files and will be replaced when you upgrade. If you restore those, you will be back to the previous version of Ubuntu.

Basically, you just want to back up your personal files - that is, /home, which contain all the configurations (e.g. your browser's bookmarks, your desktop settings...).

To backup your /home, you can use any way you want. I usually just use tar to an external hard drive; you might use e.g. rsync.

Besides, if you have /home in a separated partition (which is a good idea for this type of situation), you should be able to do the new install without touching it.

  • I have separate home partition. Yes I can do a new fresh install without touching it but that won't restore my config. files and the installed files. For restoring these I need to using back up tool to restore root and boot but you have clarified that it will downgrade my O.S. and so shouldn't be done. – Ravi Dec 24 '13 at 2:11
  • To be more explicit, I usually use tar this way when I can't access both disks at the same time over the network or whatever: 1) clean up home a bit (empty trash, maybe delete brwoser cache, etc.); 2) cd; cd ..; tar -cf $TARGET/home.tar $USERNAME/ ; 3) switch to the other machine, cd; cd ..; tar xvf $TARGET/home.tar --overwrite; reboot. On fedora 21 nothing bad happens and everything is restored as it was. Negligible glitches: bool (??) crashed (no consequences) and chromium warned about the profile coming from another machine (just click "unlock"). – Nemo Oct 17 '15 at 7:42
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Upgrading via DVD

Take a look at this installation manual titled: Getting Started with Ubuntu 13.10. In this guide a dialog is shown that will prompt you during installation as to what you'd like to do with any existing installation that's already present on the system. You can simply select to "upgrade" the existing install.

      ss of 13.10 type

Clean install and re-applying user data

If you'd like to do a clean install and then reload your data onto the cleanly installed system then you can follow the following general steps.

  1. I'll often do the installation using a DVD, similar to what you're proposing.
  2. After installation I'll use rsync to copy any /home/<user> directories onto the system aftewards
  3. After recovering data, I'll re-install any packages that I had on the system previously from official repos.

    NOTE: To perform this step I'll have dumped a text file into my /home/<user> using dpkg or rpm prior, which contains a full list of packages I had previously installed on my old system.

  4. It's usually the case that most files on a desktop in /etc are stock, it's rare that I change anything there, beyond /etc/sudoers.

One final tip, when I copy /home/<user> I'll often restore the dot files into a sub-directory in /home/<user>/dotfiles and then reapply these as I start to use the system, rather than wholesale copy them onto the system. I find this method allows me more control as I start to re-setup software etc.

I just used this recovery method on a Fedora 14 -> Fedora 19 migration, and regularly use it when setting up CentOS 5 -> 6 migrations. I've also used this before on a Ubuntu 11.10 -> 12.04 migration.

  • This is the other way of doing the same thing i.e. upgrading without fresh install. I'm interested for a general method. Say, I have fedora 18 and then I want to replace with Ubuntu 13.10. That way I'm looking for a universal/general method. My Q also asks a related doubt: 'are the files on root and boot f.s. responsible for making the O.S. behave how it's supposed to? If so then how can I restore using a back up tool?' – Ravi Dec 24 '13 at 1:55
  • I would never try and apply /boot and/or / files from one system to another. This just leads to headaches. The method I outlined above is the optimal way I've figured out how to do this in the 20+ years I've used Linux. Doing this among a newer version of a distro can be a headache, doing it across different distros is suicide. – slm Dec 24 '13 at 1:57
  • Oh! So that means its not a general or universal way that I was thinking. – Ravi Dec 24 '13 at 2:06
  • @Ravi - no there isn't, unfortunately. Debian/Ubuntu/Fedora organize their /etc directories very differently so they aren't easy to migrate from one to another, when doing an upgrade as you're proposing, especially. I always do the above, and a migration usually takes 1-3 days, as I start to migrate a setup for an application. So I'll go through and migrate for ex: vim, pidgin, dropbox, etc. I usually keep a tomboy or vim window open with a list of apps that I need and go one by one through the list. – slm Dec 24 '13 at 2:09
  • The informations you provided here are very useful. Your answer very much fits to what my Q was 'how to restore my system after fresh install'. Many thanks! – Ravi Dec 26 '13 at 14:46

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