I have a desktop system on which I want to switch Linux distributions; and I'm going to be installing the new distribution on the same partitions which now hold the old distribution's files. I want to back up essentially all files I'm modified or created which are meaningful, to use on the new system: Either use them as-is (overwriting/creating files on the new system) or keep as a reference, just in case.
I know roughly what major folders require this backup: The home directories of real-life users, most or all of
/etc, even if most of it is the same as the distribution made it to be,
/usr/local/src, a list of installed packages I would generate, and a few other bits here and there.
But - I'm sure I'll miss some of it; and my backup choice may be excessive (I e.g. may not need most of
/etc). So, I was wondering:
- This is not a question about how to back up files and folders generally. Please don't explain how to use rsync etc.
- I don't want the backup to be "restoreable", merely accessible as files or decompressible to files
- I'll want to "err on the side of caution" when it comes to choosing what to back up, but at the same time not back up directories I know are useless. In other words: Assuming I've employed good practice, and have kept local/personal/transient files where they belong - I don't want to backup places like
/var/apt/cacheetc, and also not back up things like
- Answers could be guidelines, a script, or some other means.
- My distribution switch will not be an upgrade to a newer version of the same or a compatible distribution.
- Not everything I back up needs to be a copy of a file. I gave the example of the list of installed packages, which does not exist as-is; and I don't intend to back up the entire state of package management state.
Related question: What directories do I need to back up?