I have a small microserver at home that's several years old (HP Proliant Gen8, Intel Celeron G1610T). I installed Ubuntu 14.04 on it, set up RAID on 2 large disks with mdadm, and since then I've used it on and off for trivial things over the years. I've never paid much attention to it (it's still on 14.04..) but now I'd like to give it some love.

I'm aiming to wipe Ubuntu and start fresh, but first I need to back things up. Is there a smart way to discern configurations I've added, changed, etc across the filesystem, so that I can back them up? If not now, what options are available if I were to start from scratch with this capability in mind?

I will most likely copy /root, /etc, /home and select items in /var across to my RAID/NAS disks just for future reference back I am still curious what options are available. Thank you.

2 Answers 2


This will list all the changed deb files:

sudo apt-get install debsums
sudo debsums -s

As for other locations (/var /home /root), it's up to you what to backup or not. I'd simply backup all three and then restore them if and when necessary. A full /etc backup would be nice as well.


You can utilize the find command to look for files that were added on a time range and go over the files there, further slice by type patterns with the -d option to look for configuration files (hidden, cfg, config, yaml are likely patterns), can also further dilute the list with the -user option to look for files owned by a user, given you have used a non-root user on the system that you have likely have used.

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