Why format your home partition? I hope that's just a slip of the keyboard
1) I use a separate data partition, mounted in home. Before I install (and of course erase home) I move all hidden files and folders in home to a folder in the data partition
2) Use a home partition and move all hidden files and folders in home to a folder somewhere in home.
Why you ask. If you let them be the new Mint will inherit settings from the old and may not be as fresh as desired - that's why these should be moved away before install
You should keep them because you can use the settings in there for your applications. Check the version and if it's OK copy the settings for that specific application to it's correct place - you have a working application
3) Use the new upgrade toolhttp://www.linuxmint.com/blog/?p=481
Thanks for the info. But I'm confused with at least part of it.
Not a slip of the keyboard -- I had assumed that when instructions say "do a fresh/clean install" it means to format /boot, /, and /home partitions (in my situation) and leave none of the old installation on the HDD.
1) You say "erase home". I would normally assume that "erase" means "format", but that can't be what you mean because you've moved hidden stuff to a data partition in home, and formatting home will wipe out that stuff. So what do you mean when you say "erase home"?
2) By your first comment and those in this paragraph, I infer that you do not format the /home partition. True?
3) I followed that link and read many of the comments about the new upgrade tool. It appears that many folks have found that it causes problems of varying severity. Have you used it?
Thanks in advance for your additional help with this.