Reinstalling Ubuntu

This weekend I decided to reinstall my laptop. Largely because it’s been through two Ubuntu upgrades (8.10 –> 9.04 –> 9.10), and also because it was still on an ex3 file system and my netbook on ex4 is a lot snappier with less memory. I also wanted to reclaim the disk space previously used for Vista, which was largely going to waste.

My method for re-installation is as follows:

  1. Back up the whole of my home directory (including hidden files). In my case this was about 83Gb.
  2. Do a clean install of Ubuntu 9.10 from USB. This took under 10 minutes, which was a record for me.
  3. Do software updates and installation of anything outside the base install that I need (very little in my case). This required a reboot for a new kernel.
  4. Copy back the home directory, trying not to do anything else at the same time to avoid config files getting overwritten.
  5. Download and install dropbox.
  6. Log out, and log back in.

After an hour or so (of copying data) I found myself with an identical looking interface, but with a lot more extra space, a snappier feel, and no loss of data.

It probably took about 2 hours in total (of which 90% was copying data), and I didn’t have to do anything I’d regard as too scary for a non-technical user.

2 replies on “Reinstalling Ubuntu”

  1. I keep wanting to do this every time I upgrade my laptop (first installed with Ubuntu 6.06, and not refreshed since then) but I now have so much customisation and extra software that I honestly don't know if I'd ever get it back to the same state…

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