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Thread: New Install - Rebuild Previous Apps and Configs

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    UK
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    1,615
    Distro
    Ubuntu Mate 20.04 Focal Fossa

    New Install - Rebuild Previous Apps and Configs

    I need to reinstall 20.04; fortunately I have separate / and /home partitions. Over the years I have read snippets about using apt to reinstall, from a Backup, previous (manually) installed apps and then manually copying the respective config files. Although reading numerous snippets I have never come across a resource that explains in detail how this is actually done (config files could be in numerous locations). This would save a lot of time/effort and be fantastic if it can actually be done. If anyone could point me to a resource that details this I would be very grateful.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2017
    Location
    melbourne, au
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    929
    Distro
    Lubuntu Development Release

    Re: New Install - Rebuild Previous Apps and Configs

    Why not re-install using "Something-else" ?

    If you re-install using "Something else", and select your existing partitions, and do notformat any, that will cause a re-install, ie.


    • it'll note your current installed packages
    • erase system directories
    • install new system from the media (which can be a different release)
    • attempt to add back your additional packages noted earlier, and will succeed if they are available in the Ubuntu repositories for your 'new' release (they may not be if you changed release or were from a 3rd party source)
    • it won't touch user files UNLESS you formatted.


    As system directories are wiped, some server program configs (which can store config/conf files in system directories) will require restoration from backups, but desktop applications store their configs within user directories, which are not touched unless the user formatted the partition.

    This is by the far the fastest way to upgrade (ie. upgrade via re-install) in my opinion. It's also a super-fast way to correct a really-screwed up system.

    If you use a lot of 3rd party applications you can have issues, as you can with packages that no longer exist (eg. python2 & Qt4 were removed during 2019 so a 18.04 to 20.04 upgrade using this method would have given an error that not all packages were found and thus couldn't be re-installed; but in my experience that's only very few and not a drawback).

    Key is the "format" checkbox, as it not only causes format, but triggers the clean install, where this is sort of unclean install (due to no-format), but I think it's a GREAT feature of Ubuntu (and flavors).

    I hope it remains in the new installer we'll see in 21.10 (for Ubuntu Desktop & many flavors)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    UK
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    1,615
    Distro
    Ubuntu Mate 20.04 Focal Fossa

    Re: New Install - Rebuild Previous Apps and Configs

    Thank you. I normally do reinstall using the method you described - hence having separate / and /home. I've been 'playing' with various network settings (bridge connections/kvm) and despite making backups (mainly in /etc/) cannot get things back to where they were. I'm not sure if any other config files are in /etc/ pertinent to apps I've installed (I guess not) - similar to me messing up my kvm/lib vert environment due to the network configs in /etc/. I've dabbled with something I'm not capable of changing and paid the price. Thanks for your reply.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    U.K.
    Beans
    Hidden!
    Distro
    Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa

    Re: New Install - Rebuild Previous Apps and Configs

    I'm not sure if any other config files are in /etc/ pertinent to apps I've installed
    Have you considered hidden files and folders .. such as

    $HOME/.config

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