widget wrote:...Every time you copy a file it degrades slightly. After a while they are bad....
That's new to me - and I thought I've seen it all
I'm not arguing about separate / and /home directories, but I like to clarify some stuff:
1. The /home/user directory is there to hold user files, individual settings (in hidden files so you won't see them usually), in short the data files of the user - documents, music, video, you name it. A Linux distro/release may come and go, but the user files should stay. This is why they should be in a different partition (or drive).
2. The Linux operating system is installed to / (root) and some sub-folders (/boot, /bin, /sbin, /usr, /etc, and more), but not to /home... Only user-specific settings are stored in the /home/user... folder.
Now let's have an example scenario and look at the difference between a single / (root) partition and / and /home partitions setup.
Scenario: You are a happy Linux Mint 14 user and everything runs smoothly. One day you learn about a new Linux Mint release - #15. If #14 is great, #15 looks even better. You decide to upgrade, but somehow things go wrong. Packages break, applications don't start, you try to fix it but make an even bigger mess of everything. In the end you're left with only one choice: reinstall the system.
A. You're the "simple is good" fellow and your entire Linux install resides on a single partition (or drive). And you got a simple plan to put to action:
1. Create a bootable LIVE media for Linux Mint 15 (the release you want to install);
2. Prepare an empty harddrive or partition to hold all your /home data (you got spare disk under your bed just for that purpose);
3. Boot up the LIVE media and mount your /home/user folder;
4. Attach the spare harddrive and mount it (if it's a USB drive it's mounting automatically);
5. Copy your entire /home directory to your spare harddrive - since you got plenty of music and stuff you have a cup of coffee or two while the drives spin);
6. Time to install the new Linux Mint release: wipe the partition/disk clean and install the new release;
7. After a reboot into the new Linux installation, you copy the /home... folder on your spare harddisk back to your PC, hoping that your old config files work the same way as they did before. Alternatively, you could selectively only copy those files back to /home/user... that aren't there. (Note: The Linux installation process also creates a few hidden files and folders in the /home/user directory, so you need to decide if you want to use the new config files/directories or overwrite them with the config files/directories you just backed up. If you just copy the backed-up /home folder to /, replacing the new /home directory, all new config files and directories will be gone.)
8. After a few more cups of coffee everything is in place and you can reboot. With a little luck, your plan works. Oh, what about all the applications you had installed on your old system?
9. You got a great memory and quickly select and install the missing apps. All is fine and you only spent the better part of a day having a quality time with Linux.
B. You're the complicated girl/guy and went through great pain to have separate / and /home partitions. To make things even more complicated, you "backed" up your software selection in your /home/user folder. After reading all the advice you can get, you venture on to mission impossible:
1. Pick up (or prepare) a bootable installation media;
2. Boot up the Linux Mint 15 installer and follow the instructions;
3. Mount (but don't format) your old /home partition and let the installer do it's magic;
4. Reboot and open your software selection and let Linux install the missing packages.
Please don't take offense with the character descriptions - it's in good humor. I was an A guy until I ran into exactly this situation.