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Thread: Upgrading & migrating from old netbook to ultrabook: advice & recommendations please

  1. #1
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    Smile Upgrading & migrating from old netbook to ultrabook: advice & recommendations please

    Hi all

    This is my first posting on this forum, and I'd be really grateful for the experience of other forum users in answering the following questions.

    I have enjoyed using Ubuntu Xenial and Peppermint 6 on a Samsung N220 Plus netbook (32 bit Intel 686 processor 200 MHz, 2 GiB RAM, 128 MiB HDD) for many years.


    I have found Peppermint to be an excellent choice for my old and under-powered but reliable hardware: it is responsive, and very intuitive to use. Although I've looked at upgrading Peppermint, I prefer the simple interface of Peppermint 6 to more recent releases.


    I am planning to buy a much more powerful 'ultrabook': HP ENVY 13-ba0010na (64 bit Intel i7 1.8 GHz with 4 cores, 16 GiB RAM, 1 TiB SSD); as this will have the extra power to allow me to process and edit video footage.


    I want to migrate all my data files in my /~ directory (backed up using the Ubuntu Backup utility), and apps and settings (backed up using Aptik) to the new ultrabook.


    I am not interested in having a dual boot system (I've got a couple of useful Windows apps, like Adobe suite; but these don't justify filling the SSD with Windows).
    I intend to remove the pre-installed version of Windows 10 and do a complete 'clean' install of an Ubuntu distro.


    I have some questions regarding compatibility and migrating:


    1.
    Peppermint 6 has all the functionality that I need at present.
    I'm sure that the new hardware will be impressively fast regardless of which distro I use, but I'm not particularly interested in installing a bigger slower distro with more bells and whistles: I'd rather have a simple GUI (which ideally has a similar feel to the Peppermint 6 GUI) and enjoy the improved performance to the max.
    The important thing is that the new distro will need to have the correct drivers to take full advantage of the new hardware.
    Is Peppermint still the best option for my new hardware, or is there an alternative lightweight distro which would be a better choice to get full compatibility and maximum utilisation of the new hardware?


    2.
    I have seen a lot of discussion on the forums regarding whether it better to create separate partitions for the operating system and files (using GParted) prior to installing the operating system; as this makes it easier to subsequently upgrade, change, or completely re-install my operating system without risking losing / damaging my files and settings.
    However I believe that many distro installation packages now provide this functionality automatically more reliably without the user having to create different partitions manually.
    I still consider myself a Linux newbie and want the simplest and safest 'idiot-proof' approach which will allow for painless future upgrades, re-installation, or installation of different distros.
    Would you recommend creating new partitions manually before installing my new distro, or will the installation package provide this option?
    If manual partitions, please suggest details of partitions and swap file sizes etc..


    3.
    I'll be migrating my apps and settings from a 32 bit system to a 64 bit system.
    Will Backup and Aptik take care of this automatically ?
    If not, is there a better option for migrating and updating my apps to 64 bit versions automatically (I've got several thousand apps and packages installed, so manually installing all of these will be a pain!).


    I have contacted HP's technical support helpline regarding compatibility of the HP Envy 13 with Ubuntu, but they tell me that they have no experience of Linux OS, and are unable to offer any advice.

    Many thanks in anticipation

    With best wishes for the New Year

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    Re: Upgrading & migrating from old netbook to ultrabook: advice & recommendations ple

    Welcome here

    i understand you have a great experience with Pippermint (which i dont) but your future device will have plenty room to install what you want. Indeed the Pippermint forum is the right place for your questions. With recent hardware its a good idea to choose a recent OS too to have the kernel supporting all the embeded chipsets. So download a recent iso and let the installer doing a fresh install. Then you will be able to copy/paste or import your saved data; no matter if they come from a 32 or 64 bits system or whatsoever.

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/In...n/FromUSBStick
    http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/ubuntu/daily-live/current/ Choose the amd64 image for the latest in progress release (which i daily use)

  3. #3
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    Re: Upgrading & migrating from old netbook to ultrabook: advice & recommendations ple

    You should migrate to a 64 bit OS 32 bits will be gone soon. That will require a new installation of the OS. You will then need to install whatever applications you need beyond the standard ones, and set the configurations. If your data is in /home (make /home a separate partition) or some other discrete location backing it up and restoring it is easy. I also typically create a filesystem called /files for shared or other stored files. In the olden days when disks were small and expensive separate filesystems were set up for other things. I sometimes still set up a small /temp filesystem because sometimes a process can go crazy and fill the logs or other directories with crazy amounts of stuff. I have seen it fill / completely causing all sorts of problems, but that's not commonly done today.

    What may be more challenging is configuring your apps to match your previous system, especially due to changes in the system since Xenial. Xenial only has a short time before EOL. I

    You may want to install Xenial amd64 on your new system then configure it then do-release-upgrade. That way you can directly copy your existing configuration files. All of this assumes that you have made significant configuration changes, which I avoid unless absolutely necessary. If you haven't done a lot of configuration I find it's usually easier to just start over and fix the things you can't live with.

    Feel free to ignore my rantings

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    Re: Upgrading & migrating from old netbook to ultrabook: advice & recommendations ple

    Quote Originally Posted by full-o-beans View Post
    I have contacted HP's technical support helpline regarding compatibility of the HP Envy 13 with Ubuntu, but they tell me that they have no experience of Linux OS, and are unable to offer any advice.
    FWIW, if you don't have your heart particularly set on the HP, Dell sell ultrabooks with Ubuntu pre-installed: the XPS 13 Developer Edition.

  5. #5
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    Re: Upgrading & migrating from old netbook to ultrabook: advice & recommendations ple

    It looks like Peppermint 6 is old and unsupported. It has been a bad idea to use it until now, and I hope you migrate to something else asap.
    I am also not sure why you ask about Peppermint OS here on Ubuntu Forums. Peppermint has a dedicated forum: https://forum.peppermintos.com/.

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    Re: Upgrading & migrating from old netbook to ultrabook: advice & recommendations ple

    Quote Originally Posted by full-o-beans View Post
    I'd rather have a simple GUI (which ideally has a similar feel to the Peppermint 6 GUI) and enjoy the improved performance to the max.
    From reading up on Peppermint, it seems they started with Lubuntu and then mix-and-matched liberally from the applications included with Xubuntu and Ubuntu Mate. Any of those would make a good starting point - you can try them out from the live installer to see which you prefer - and then do your own mixing and matching.

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    Re: Upgrading & migrating from old netbook to ultrabook: advice & recommendations ple

    Many thanks all for your speedy and helpful advice - all greatly appreciated.

    @catkiller: Many thanks for the suggestion of the Dell Ultrabooks - will definitely look into this option !

    @dino99 & mikewhatever - Completely agree that my upgrade from Peppermint 6 is long overdue
    Apologies if I seem to have posted in the wrong forum: To clarify, I'm not looking to stick with Peppermint for my new distro if something better is out there. Ubuntu seems to be the most widely supported version of Linux, and is very user-friendly for newbies like myself. Trouble is with so many distros to choose from I'm not sure which would be the best option for compatibility with the HP Envy (for example, which distros support HPs touchscreen and audio drivers ?); hence grateful for any personal experience / recommendations.

    @rsteinmetz70112: Many thanks for your recommendation to urgently upgrade to 64 bit (unsupported on my ancient 32 bit Samsung netbook): your trick of installing Xenial amd64 initially and then upgrading with do-release-upgrade is a really neat workaround, but as you say, it might be safer to start over.

    Will Aptik be any help at all in automating the process when migrating from a 32 to 64 bit platform?
    I'm hoping if I install and run the latest release of Aptik on my new 64 bit machine it might be able to open the backup list of Apps created on the old 32 bit Samsung Netbook, but then download and and install the latest 64 bit versions of the apps rather than 32 bit versions of the apps...If so, this would save me a lot of time downloading and installing apps manually.

    Thanks also for your advice re: creating /home and /files partitions.
    Seems like this is a better approach than installing everything to the same partition.
    I've used GParted a couple of times previously many years ago, but I'm a little anxious about creating new partitions manually in case I get things wrong and screw up my installation before I've even begun using my new distro and my shiny new hardware!
    Do recent Ubuntu distros give the user the option to create separate partitions automatically as part of the installation process ?
    If so, this would be great !
    If not, could you possibly advise on what size partitions I should allocate, and maybe a link to a good tutorial for beginners on how to do this manually using eg. GParted.

    Thanks again all for your recommendations and support

    BW

  8. #8
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    Re: Upgrading & migrating from old netbook to ultrabook: advice & recommendations ple

    Aptik will only help with data, nothing else. Has that tool been maintained?

    Might I suggest you look through these forums for people using HP laptops and having issues. You may want to rethink choosing HP. Lenovo and Dell seem to have better compatibility with Linux.

    All the other stuff is so dependent on your opinion and skill level that I wouldn't presume to make any suggestions.

    Part 1: Backup everything needed.

    If it were me, I'd copy all my data off. For typical end users, that would be held in your HOME directory.

    Then I'd copy any system configuration files that I'd modified manually. These should be in /etc/ somewhere. Hard to remember each file if you don't take proactive steps AS-YOU-MODIFY them over weeks, months, years. I always add a comment to files that I modify with :thefu: so I can quickly grep and find them. In the meantime, /etc/ is relatively tiny, so it is part of my daily, automatic, versioned, backups.

    Then I copy off everything in /usr/local/ ... everything there was something that I've manually installed. Period. No exceptions.

    Then I'd make a list of all manually installed packages. This is slightly in-exact, but apt-mark showmanual will get all the manual packages, but it will get some automatic packages too. Shove this into a file, use normal redirection, then you can use that list to reinstall later.

    Part 2: Do a minimal, fresh install of the new OS
    Simple is better. I setup storage in a specific way. Not many people do it like I do. I've posted about that setup in these forums multiple times, if you care.

    Part 3: Restore everything in the same order backed up.
    1. HOME directory - a simple copy everything back
    2. System settings - only those I specifically modified!!! Don't touch new stuff that doesn't need it.
    3. /usr/local/ - a simple copy everything back
    4. Tell APT about the list of manually installed packages and have it reinstall those. Ensure there isn't any i386/i686 architecture specified for the packages.


    As the packages are reinstalled, the settings you put back will be see and used.

    This assumes you put any services and the data they use back where they were before. That is a file system location. The partitions don't matter to programs.

    Absolutely Critical Stuff
    When you backup and restore, the owner, group, permissions, ACLs and xattrs must be retained. Backup tools handle this for us. For files in your HOME, it isn't all that critical, but for everything else in /etc/ and elsewhere, it is critical to security that the file metadata be correctly retained. If not, either it won't work or system security can be completely compromised.

    Some other references:

  9. #9
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    Re: Upgrading & migrating from old netbook to ultrabook: advice & recommendations ple

    Just to clarify re: my original question 2 above:
    It seems that it is definitely helpful to make separate partitions if there are multiple users or operating systems.
    However I'll be the only user on the new ultrabook; and I'm not a fan of Windows, even if it comes pre-installed for free; so I don't see any benefit in wasting my SSD space with Windows and running a dual boot system.

    Would you still recommend creating a separate /data partition for a single-user, single-OS setup, and if so; what are the risks and benefits of doing this ?
    If a /data partition is recommended, do modern distro installers generally give the option to create this automatically during the installation process ?
    If not, then I guess I would have to do this manually with GParted prior to installing the new distro.
    What settings would you recommend for the SSD file system type (? is ext4 still best choice ?), partition sizes, and swap file size etc; given the above spec of the new ultrabook ?
    (I'll probably want to share data files with both Mac and Windows machines in future, but will do this via an external HDD formatted using ExFat / EFS which I believe is common to Linux, Mac, and Windows).

    @TheFu: Many thanks for your detailed and helpful reply, links, and step-by-step instructions for migrating.
    Since my original posting, I've found some reports of compatibility problems with running Linux on the HP Envy, so will check out Lenovo and Dell as you and @catkiller recommend.
    I've previously always used Backup (GUI for DejaDup): Simple to use, but even with my current small HDD it takes over 6h to create and verify a complete encrypted image of all the contents of my /home folder, which is a real disincentive to backing up as frequently as I ought to !
    Before I made the move to Linux, there used to be a Windows app called ViceVersa Pro, which provided fast differential backup with an simple intuitive GUI. I wasn't aware of any Linux equivalent, but rdiff-backup sounds perfect (especially if run as a cron job). I've tried to download a copy of rdiff-backup from Github to experiment with prior to migrating to the new ultrabook, but legacy versions don't seem to be available for my ancient 32 bit machine and Xenial OS.
    No matter: I'll definitely include this on my new install. Thanks again for this recommendation.


    Apologies for the number and wide range of questions that I'm asking in this thread:
    I'm hoping that if I plan properly I can make the transition to my new hardware and new OS as quick and painless as possible, and get everything working together correctly from the start, rather than making any mistakes which I then regret or have to find workarounds for.

    Thanks again for your support and patience.
    Best wishes

  10. #10
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    Re: Upgrading & migrating from old netbook to ultrabook: advice & recommendations ple

    Why not just install from the repos?
    sudo apt install rdiff-backup
    I'm using that version on all my systems, except 20.04 which switched to python3 and broke the client-server connection to my backup server. I used 32-bit 16.04 for years until last June on a desktop here. No problems with rdiff-backup between 32-bit and 64-bit clients/servers at all.

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