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Thread: When to Re-Install the OS?

  1. #11
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    Re: When to Re-Install the OS?

    My primary install is 20.04 LTS. I'll probably leave it as-is until 24.04 has been out a few months. At that point I'll probably back up all my data and try an in-place upgrade if that's available after skipping an LTS version. Nothing says I can't install other versions or distros in the meantime without touching my primary.

  2. #12
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    Re: When to Re-Install the OS?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    Good question.

    First, typical Windows users aren't like typical Linux users in many ways. This means the systems aren't "exercised" the same ways.
    I have a Windows install that is over 10 yrs old and working fine, so the need to do a reinstall every 6 months is obviously some need based on use patterns, not the OS.

    Every 3-5 yrs, I have moved the Windows install completely to new storage, so the typical "bit rot" that seems to cause issues on Windows is mitigated by this periodic move of all the bits.
    I have heard that Windows progressively gets slower over time. I have also been told that it's due to the registry getting larger because when programs are removed from the system, they don't necesarilly get removed from the registry.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    Linux kernel updates are really easy and happen about 2x a month for supported released. This is different than the WinNT kernel in Windows systems which probably gets updated at most, once a year. I honestly don't know how often this happens and would welcome specifics from someone who does.

    New Linux and Windows users tend to install all sorts of junk.
    Not I. I only install programs from the software center, and then I keep my machine lean and mean.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    On Windows, I'd probably have to spend a few days pointing and clicking to install software and get everything setup with my settings (assuming I don't miss something), all hands-on effort. Perhaps there's an easier way, but my Windows knowledge isn't strong enough to make it easy and getting all the "setup.exe" files for each 3rd party program is a major hassle. Then there are the OS patches which aren't available anymore for my OS (unsupported), so I think I'd be screwed trying to recreate a Windows system from 60 days ago.
    I have a Windows 7 VM that was backed up after initial install. If anything goes wrong, I can restore that VM and all is good.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheFu View Post
    • Avoid cruft. Install what you need, nothing more. If something isn't needed/used anymore, remove it.
    • Have backups that are proven to be restored. Spend the time BEFORE you need it, now.
    • Stay on supported releases, and move to a newer, supported, release BEFORE EOL happens.
    • Always have a "Try Ubuntu" flash drive ready to troubleshoot boot issues and to see if hardware driver issues are tied to the installed OS or Ubuntu in general. Lots of issues can be quickly resolved using this Try Ubuntu solution.
    These are great suggestions! Thank you!

    So, what everyone seems to be saying, is there is no real reason to "reinstall" a Linux OS unless you break something by tinkering. Other than that it still continues to work well over time. Re-installing for performance is really just a Windows problem?
    Holy Cripes on Toast!
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  3. #13
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    Re: When to Re-Install the OS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shibblet View Post
    I have heard that Windows progressively gets slower over time. I have also been told that it's due to the registry getting larger because when programs are removed from the system, they don't necesarilly get removed from the registry.


    Not I. I only install programs from the software center, and then I keep my machine lean and mean.


    I have a Windows 7 VM that was backed up after initial install. If anything goes wrong, I can restore that VM and all is good.


    These are great suggestions! Thank you!

    So, what everyone seems to be saying, is there is no real reason to "reinstall" a Linux OS unless you break something by tinkering. Other than that it still continues to work well over time. Re-installing for performance is really just a Windows problem?
    As I said, it isn't a Windows problem, it is a Windows-user problem or a computer hardware. I have 10+ yr old Windows installs that run just the same as they did before --- actually faster because they been migrated to faster hardware. I don't install cruft and leave it there - just like I don't install cruft on Linux and leave it there (too often).

    Of course, both OSes can become slower with failing hardware and IME, non-MS OSes tend to recognize failing hardware sooner than Windows does, so issues can happen earlier. OTOH, do you really want to work on your PhD project on hardware that is having data corruption problems for months, but that-other-OS isn't complaining, yet? I'd want to know ASAP.

    As for normal system maintenance for Linux desktops ... seems like someone should have written an article about that. Oh - they did:
    https://lifehacker.com/what-kind-of-...nux-pc-5817282
    or the updated version: https://blog.jdpfu.com/2011/06/24/sy...-for-linux-pcs (last updated 2021).

    I think there is something important about actually doing backups that exercises spinning storage and is preventative against future issues. It gives the HDD hardware a chance to see when reading is just starting to degrade, so the HDD will either refresh the byte or relocate it somewhere else. Windows users tend to only backup their data files ... and only by manually copying those to flash storage, typically. They do it more often when important work is happening, but less often or not at all, when they aren't doing anything really important - sometimes for years without any backup.

    Just the fact that we do backups is helpful, I'm convinced.

  4. #14
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    Re: When to Re-Install the OS?

    Totally agree.

  5. #15
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    Re: When to Re-Install the OS?

    There is no need to reinstall every 6 months. Windows users don't say and don't do that. Given the particular peculiarity of the question, I'd venture a suggestion, you should spend less time on social media platforms.

  6. #16
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    Re: When to Re-Install the OS?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhatever View Post
    There is no need to reinstall every 6 months. Windows users don't say and don't do that. Given the particular peculiarity of the question, I'd venture a suggestion, you should spend less time on social media platforms.
    Need is the wrong word. You are correct there is no need. But there are many in the Windows world who value and do nothing but benchmark and overclock stuff. To them fractions of a second count. So if Windows is slowed even slightly by the fragmentation or registry or whatever then off with it's head. These are the same people that will build a whole new machine because 80+fps isn't enough. They need 100+. To each his own...

  7. #17
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    Re: When to Re-Install the OS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tadaen_Sylvermane View Post
    Need is the wrong word. You are correct there is no need. But there are many in the Windows world who value and do nothing but benchmark and overclock stuff. To them fractions of a second count. So if Windows is slowed even slightly by the fragmentation or registry or whatever then off with it's head. These are the same people that will build a whole new machine because 80+fps isn't enough. They need 100+.
    60 FPS is perfect. Any more you risk tearing, any less you have choppiness.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tadaen_Sylvermane View Post
    To each his own...
    NIL! Gamers!!! NIL!

    J/K
    Holy Cripes on Toast!
    Attention is the currency of internet forums. - ticopelp

  8. #18
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    Re: When to Re-Install the OS?

    No need for regular reinstall of linux distribution as other said. What you should do is delete cache files, temporary files from time to time. For example web browser's temporary files.

  9. #19
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    Re: When to Re-Install the OS?

    Quote Originally Posted by Frogs Hair View Post
    Unless an OS installation is corrupt and non functional in some way I don't reinstall and that includes testing new versions of Ubuntu. I also upgrade to new stable versions at times. Backup for me entails cloning my pictures and documents to removable sources and that's all I'm concerned about. If I had a hard-drive full of movies my backup process would be different. As a Windows user I have not heard of the reinstall every 6 months approach . Windows 10 has been getting two build/ feature updates a year and I suppose that is when some choose to reinstall.
    Back in the days of Windows on top of DOS including Win95 & 98 the reinstall every few weeks/months was recommended. If it only crashed once a week you were doing good or weren't using it much. Today I think Windows is pretty stable though I barely use it so can't really say. My primary machines are on 20.04, I don't know if I'll go to 22.04 or wait for 24.04.

  10. #20
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    Re: When to Re-Install the OS?

    I only reinstall, or perhaps I should say install, approximately every two years, soon after the new LTS versions are released but allowing a few weeks for the immediate bugs to be squashed.

    I think the last time I had to actually reinstall, ie scrap what I have and just start again with the same version, was the first time that I attempted to install in a new UEFI machine; I didn't read carefully enough at the time and rather than leave it as a BIOS install I simply scrapped the whole thing and started again.

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