Page 1 of 1

this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:21 am
by chris_heath
so, as i understand the current installer, it will automatically recognize the drive chosen for installation as currently possessing an installed operating system
we get the option to install beside the current OS(s) or format the drive and install 'fresh'
right?
ok, so...
my suggestion is that a third option could be made at that point
install fresh, but preserve user data
in my mind the v0.1 would offer a manual selection of which data to preserve
ultimately the installer would present the user with intuitive choices for which data should be preserved (as well as a manual selection)
anyone see what i'm getting at here?
anyone need me to elaborate?
i can't possibly be the first person with this idea, right?
and so, why hasn't it been done?
cheers,
chris
(Linux User since 1999)

Re: this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:25 am
by gm10
The way to preserve user data is to make a backup before installation, just like you always should. You cannot expect an operating system installer to be a backup tool for user data from different operating systems and file systems. There's already the "Something else..." installation option which lets you preserve whatever you want.

Re: this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:56 pm
by CaptainKirksChair
chris_heath wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:21 am
my suggestion is that a third option could be made at that point install fresh, but preserve user data
Actually, if during your initial install you choose the Something Else option and partition your hard drive so you have root (/), /home, and swap partitions, then during any upgrade, just format the root partition but don't format the /home partition. The Mint installer will just put a copy of the operating system on the root partition and leave the /home partition intact.

Re: this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:04 am
by Moem
CaptainKirksChair wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:56 pm
The Mint installer will just put a copy of the operating system on the root partition and leave the /home partition intact.
This method works great, but you should still make a backup of your data, just in case.

Re: this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:38 am
by gm10
CaptainKirksChair wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:56 pm
chris_heath wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 4:21 am
my suggestion is that a third option could be made at that point install fresh, but preserve user data
Actually, if during your initial install you choose the Something Else option and partition your hard drive so you have root (/), /home, and swap partitions, then during any upgrade, just format the root partition but don't format the /home partition. The Mint installer will just put a copy of the operating system on the root partition and leave the /home partition intact.
To expand on that: A clean LM19.x installation done via the automatic installation option does not have separate home and swap partitions. To achieve the same effect here you'd have to manually remove all data from the target partition except for the /home directory, and then in Something else... mode check not to format the / root partition.

Re: this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:01 pm
by chris_heath
so, is backing up your home directory too simple for an installer to bother with it?

or are there too many different configuration possibilities that it is too hard for an installer to incorporate a home directory backup?

Re: this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:23 pm
by MrEen
chris_heath wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:01 pm
or are there too many different configuration possibilities that it is too hard for an installer to incorporate a home directory backup?
Absolutely this!

Your suggestion would wipe my DATA partition that my /home folder has many symlinks to.

Re: this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 6:04 pm
by gm10
It's potentially very complex, but even without going into that, preserving your settings from another Linux OS and desktop environment has good chances of creating a mess on the Linux Mint you're installing, so there is no reason to provide an automated option doing that and thus creating the impression of it being a good idea. And there's no way to automate keeping only the data, not the settings.

Re: this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:54 pm
by CaptainKirksChair
Moem wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:04 am
CaptainKirksChair wrote:
Sat Mar 30, 2019 10:56 pm
The Mint installer will just put a copy of the operating system on the root partition and leave the /home partition intact.
This method works great, but you should still make a backup of your data, just in case.
Moem, you are correct. I always advocate backups just in case something goes wrong (today, March 31st is World Backup Day). My recommendation is to get an external hard drive and just drag and drop your home folder to the backup drive. Let it run overnight. This way, your data is safe on a separate drive and you don't have to use dedicated backup software to save and restore your data. And, if you need to access the backup right away, it's available by a simple copy and paste. That's what I will be doing tonight!

Re: this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:23 am
by Moem
CaptainKirksChair wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:54 pm
My recommendation is to get an external hard drive and just drag and drop your home folder to the backup drive. Let it run overnight.
This is exactly what I do before reinstalling and also before I take my 'daily driver' on a trip. I have never needed that backup so far but the day may come when I will.

Re: this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:15 am
by lsemmens
There are only three rules for computing, regardless of OS.
Rule 1 is BACKUP
if you find that too hard then Rule 2 comes into play
Rule 2: BACKUP'
of course rule 3 might also be invoked if rule 2 does not apply
Rule 3: BACKUP
and if all that fails you're on ya own!!!

Re: this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:05 pm
by BG405
MrEen wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:23 pm
Your suggestion would wipe my DATA partition that my /home folder has many symlinks to.
Good point!
lsemmens wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:15 am
BACKUP
Indeed. I have several copies of important stuff spread across different hard disks. Been bitten once too many.

..
@Chris:
Whilst I like your thoughts, I think it'd be a better idea to feature a backup tool alongside the installer in the live ISO, rather than complicate the installer itself which might cause more confusion for people new to Mint (or Linux in general).

Re: this can't be a new idea, right?

Posted: Mon Apr 01, 2019 9:31 pm
by CaptainKirksChair
Moem wrote:
Mon Apr 01, 2019 4:23 am
CaptainKirksChair wrote:
Sun Mar 31, 2019 9:54 pm
My recommendation is to get an external hard drive and just drag and drop your home folder to the backup drive. Let it run overnight.
This is exactly what I do before reinstalling and also before I take my 'daily driver' on a trip. I have never needed that backup so far but the day may come when I will.
I've never had an issue with my Mint systems. The only problems I've had are with...yes...Windows. I had a 500GB hard drive that was an unintentional backup of my Windows computer. I was running Windows 10 from a 1TB hard drive when one day at start up I got the message that my previous operating system was being restored. No other messages. I had no idea what was happening. About 2 weeks later I got it again and realized it was Microsoft trying to update my computer with the Win10 anniversary update (the hardware could run Win10 but not the anniversary update). I had just done my yearly taxes and quickly saved those files to a USB thumb drive. Then Microsoft did it again and this time, my 1TB hard drive started showing disc errors. Lot of them. So I replaced the Microsoft-destroyed 1TB with my 500GB Win7 hard drive and backed it up to my external hard drive. I bought a new 1TB hard drive and installed Windows 7, turned off automatic updates, and restored my data. That's where I am now. (It also has a dual boot to Mint 19.0 Mate.) I power it on to Windows about four times a year and check for updates. Otherwise, it run Mint Mate.