Feisty minus 24 hours: Checklist for upgrade

A short list of things you might back up before moving to Feisty. This isn’t to suggest you’ll have problems, but if you’re planning a clean install (which I highly recommend :mrgreen: ), or if things don’t go as you intend, it would be good to have these on an external drive or a networked machine.

  • Personal files and photos. That goes without saying, really.
  • Bookmarks. Export your bookmarks list from Firefox, or your preferred browser.
  • Passwords. If you use automatic logins in Firefox, make sure you know what those passwords are … or were. ;)
  • Extension settings. Things like the Tab Mix Plus extension allow you to export the settings. I think Adblock Plus does that too. Look over your list of extensions and see what you can preserve in case of emergency.
  • E-mail settings. I use online mail services exclusively; I believe if you use Evolution or Thunderbird you’ll want to make sure your settings, passwords and extensions are saved there too.
  • Saved games. I’m a hopeless Warzone 2100 addict, so my .warzone2100 folder is important to me.
  • Along those same lines, setup files or libraries for games. Some games, like Neverwinter Nights for example, would need a patch or a client to reinstall. Put those aside somewhere, in case you have to start from scratch.
  • Music files, playlists or indexes. As justin whitaker mentions, backing up the rhythmbox.db file is wise, as is making sure all your music is safely stashed away. If you use another music application, you might find out if it keeps a database or index of the music it knows, and copy that.
  • Fonts. I don’t install a lot of outside fonts, but if you put extra ones on your machine, remember to back them up. Otherwise your documents might look a little goofy when you reopen them.
  • Icon sets and themes. I always end up modifying themes — mostly Openbox and GTK themes — so I make a point of copying my .themes folder when I reinstall. It saves me time later.
  • .bashrc, etc., files. Some people customize their machine in the .bashrc file, and files like it. If that’s you, don’t forget .Xdefaults, .xinitrc, .fonts.conf, .gtkrc-2.0, and so forth. Of course, if you’re used to tweaking things at that level, you’ve probably already got templates of them stashed away somewhere. Don’t forget .conkyrc; those can take forever to put together just right.
  • /etc/fstab. Rod’s suggestion (below) is a good one: If you use networked drives or Windows mounts, save your fstab, even if it’s just as a reference. I would strongly suggest you don’t copy-and-paste your old one into your new setup, since Feisty relabels everything with sdXY designators, instead of the old hdXY style. According to some, that will work, but it makes me feel all creepy and uncomfortable, pasting an entire fstab file overtop the new one. :shock:
  • Networking settings, passwords, etc. These might be set up already, or you might need certain settings for a clean installation. I leave that to you to interpret as broadly as you like.
  • Drivers, firmware or configuration files Again, this might not be of use to you, but for example, if you need a certain .sys or .inf file to get your Broadcom card working, make sure it’s still around. Or if you need a patch for the 8776 Nvidia driver, make sure it’s duplicated somewhere. Some of those things might be integrated into Feisty now, but you never know. It’s easier to delete it later if you find you don’t need it. ;)
  • Unusual deb files you compiled or downloaded. I keep a folder of debs that I made, or that I downloaded from places like GetDeb.net. It might be that the software you use is already part of the repositories (there are quite a few additions), but think about the games and utilities you use, and see if you need a backup around.

Added at the suggestion of ComplexNumber

  • Your .tomboy folder (I’ll add your Zim repository, if you use Zim over Tomboy).
  • Your .mozilla directory, but empty the cache folder first.
  • Any theme engines you might have installed.
  • Any wallpaper you might have ferreted away somewhere.
  • For Gnome users, any GDM themes you prefer.

Since some of this came about by way of a staff discussion on the forums, further debate is available here.

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7 Responses to “Feisty minus 24 hours: Checklist for upgrade”


  1. 1 IgnacioMiller 2007/04/18 at 11:01 AM

    Hey thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for!

    Great blog!
    Dan

  2. 2 ws 2007/04/18 at 11:47 AM

    An excellent suggestion. I wish I had backed up my .firefox folder, as when I upgraded to edgy last week, it blew away my plugins. But that’s all — bookmarks were left intact.

    Still, it’s better to not take the chance.

  3. 3 James Stansell 2007/04/18 at 11:55 AM

    It’s great to see a list like this. One thing I noticed is that almost all the items are in the /home tree so if you’re already saving that then you’re mostly covered already. The exceptions seem to be the system configuration files and oddball deb files.

    I see people recommend doing a new install with each new release but I personally wouldn’t normally recommend that. If your system is already running well, and you don’t have proprietary or binary-only drivers installed, then upgrading the system is usually best. It’s fine to do it over the network, or if you want to use an ISO then use the alternate version.

    Regards,

    -james.

  4. 4 Rod 2007/04/18 at 12:20 PM

    Don’t forget /etc/fstab! I always forget that one and have to re-figure out automatically mounting Windows and NFS partitions.

  5. 5 K.Mandla 2007/04/18 at 12:21 PM

    Thanks James. You make a valid point. It’s really not necessary to do a clean installation, but if something were to go wrong, it would be good to be prepared.

    From my experience of installing Feisty four or five times over the past six months, a clean installation is where the benefit comes in. A lot of the setup — proprietary drivers, Flash, etc., etc. — are much easier in Feisty. If you just dist-upgrade, you’re missing the fun stuff. ;)

    So from my perspective, I’d suggest a clean install, just to enjoy the full effect. :D

  6. 6 K.Mandla 2007/04/18 at 12:38 PM

    @Rod: Good idea. I’ll add that one. Just don’t copy and paste it. Feisty moved to sdXY and that could really screw things up.

  7. 7 groggyboy 2007/04/18 at 6:08 PM

    When I perform fresh installs, I also like to keep a copy of my old Sources.list and my Grub menu.lst – for reference, mostly.

    I keep my home directory (ie. /home/groggyboy) separate from my music/videos/documents/etc folder (which is at /home/storage). my /home resides on it’s own partition, so the last thing i do right before a fresh install is move /home/groggyboy to /home/groggyboy.old. that way, when the install is done, if i need any settings from my previous install, i can go grab them. after a week or so, once i have all the kinks worked out, i simply trash my old home directory.


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