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:
- Back up the whole of my home directory (including hidden files). In my case this was about 83Gb.
- Do a clean install of Ubuntu 9.10 from USB. This took under 10 minutes, which was a record for me.
- 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.
- Copy back the home directory, trying not to do anything else at the same time to avoid config files getting overwritten.
- Download and install dropbox.
- 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.