Will a Mint image or backup load onto a new computer?

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abmscopes
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Will a Mint image or backup load onto a new computer?

Post by abmscopes » Sun May 03, 2015 10:41 am

One day soon I will get a new computer as this one is struggling to even run Mint properly due, I believe to its ancient motherboard.

I know with windoze, you can only restore a backup or image of the OS to the computer it was installed on. You can change the hard drive and that's fine, but you cannot restore to a completely new computer.

Is this also the case with Linux OS ? Will I have to reinstall from scratch when I get a new computer?

Thanks.

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MagicMint
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Re: Will a Mint image or backup load onto a new computer?

Post by MagicMint » Sun May 03, 2015 11:54 am

For your peace of mine, do reinstall from scratch :D . It’s much easier, and you can still port your data by backing them up, and restoring them into your newly installed Mint (provided you were the standard and unique user of your old one).

Mark Phelps
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Re: Will a Mint image or backup load onto a new computer?

Post by Mark Phelps » Sun May 03, 2015 11:57 am

I know with windoze, you can only restore a backup or image of the OS to the computer it was installed on. You can change the hard drive and that's fine, but you cannot restore to a completely new computer.
Actually, you CAN do that -- but there is a lot of additional work needed for it to be successful -- and besides, that's not the subject of your concern ...
Is this also the case with Linux OS ? Will I have to reinstall from scratch when I get a new computer?
Linux distros are far more forgiving than MS Windows when migrating from one PC to another. Unless you have restricted drivers installed, one you restore the Mint image to the new PC, when you reboot it, it should be able to find and install all the needed drivers.

Kendoori
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Re: Will a Mint image or backup load onto a new computer?

Post by Kendoori » Sun May 03, 2015 6:32 pm

I have had good luck taking a hard drive from one Mint machine and simply putting it in another. IMHO it's worth a try.

If you get a new machine with Windows installed, it's useful to put that hard drive on ice in case you want to sell it in the future. This way you can just put the original drive back in later on. Because disk space is cheap, I'm a fan of cloning drives, so perhaps a way to approach this is this way... Make an image backup of your working Mint installation to another drive (I like Clonezilla for this). Make yourself a Live USB and boot the new machine to it and see if all runs OK. If it does, either put the clone into the new machine, or your working Mint drive into it.

abmscopes
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Re: Will a Mint image or backup load onto a new computer?

Post by abmscopes » Sun May 03, 2015 7:42 pm

Do you think it's possible that when I get my new PC, if I simply take the solid state drive that ive got mint on just now and put it into a spare slot in the new PC, it'll just work 'out of the box'? I realise that i'd have to use a boot manager to allow me to dual boot in the first instance, but could it be that simple?

I would certainly be interesting to see if it sorted out all the issues i'm currently having with usb devices not working properly, etc (raised on another other thread http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=49&t=194000). I'd then know for sure it was the old mother board causing the issues. (ruled just about everything else out).

I know wise folk always say that a clean install is best. It's just that there's only so many times in one year that I can go through the rigmarole of installing an OS, even one as relatively pain-free as mint !

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Re: Will a Mint image or backup load onto a new computer?

Post by waldo » Sun May 03, 2015 11:28 pm

It might be best to listen to the wise folks. Making an image, and transferring it to a new computer is also a "rigmarole", and I suggest it's maybe a more difficult one than starting over. In addition, that new clean install will not contain the baggage of a system that was forced to run on two different machines. Just saying . . . Your call.

abmscopes
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Re: Will a Mint image or backup load onto a new computer?

Post by abmscopes » Mon May 04, 2015 7:40 am

Yeah, you're probably right. I'm just a lazy sod who really doesn't like repeating tasks too often!

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gold_finger
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Re: Will a Mint image or backup load onto a new computer?

Post by gold_finger » Mon May 04, 2015 1:31 pm

Generally speaking, as Mark Phelps and Kendoori pointed out, it is no problem simply moving the drive to the new computer or cloning it to the new drive. The times when this might be a problem are when you have proprietary graphics or wireless drivers installed that will not work with the setup on the new machine. An easy way around that problem is to just un-install the proprietary drivers first; then transfer the drive. If necessary for the new system, install any proprietary drivers that it might need after you boot into it and you'll be good to go.

There is one big caveat to all of above.

A brand new computer will likely come with Windows 8.1 on it, be using UEFI firmware (instead of the old BIOS firmware), and be booting in UEFI mode with a hard drive that uses GPT formatted partitions instead of MBR partitions (which your old computer surely uses). If this is the case and you're planning to dual-boot with Windows 8, it will probably be best and easiest to install fresh and transfer your data from the old drive later. Here's a tutorial for doing that type of install: http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=163126. If it applies to you, read through that and the info links near end of tutorial before attempting to install. Try to familiarize yourself with the UEFI settings on your computer. If you have any questions beforehand feel free to post back with them.

P.s.
If you're not planning to dual-boot with Windows, then transferring the drive should work; but you may need to change some settings in the UEFI firmware to boot it properly. Eg. Turn off Secure Boot and set the boot mode to "CSM" instead of "UEFI".
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abmscopes
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Re: Will a Mint image or backup load onto a new computer?

Post by abmscopes » Mon May 04, 2015 6:58 pm

Many thanks for that very informative post goldfinger :D

I'm planning on buying a 'built to my spec' PC from PCSpecialist. I was going to get it with a windows 8.1 installed (even the most ardent lover of Linux must concede that it's useful to have windows somewhere to, for the occasional software for which there is no equivalent), but with the imminent release of windoze 10 I would have to reinstall everything twice, so I'm just going to buy the PC without an OS and install Mint from USB.

If I can't get my current installation of Mint to work as above, I plan on partitioning the new SSD drive into 2 halves and I'll install mint on one and when windows 10 is released i'll install it on the other half, using my existing 1gb conventional drive for storage. Sound like a reasonable plan?

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Re: Will a Mint image or backup load onto a new computer?

Post by gold_finger » Wed May 06, 2015 9:59 pm

abmscopes wrote:Sound like a reasonable plan?
Yes, sounds reasonable.

Another thing to consider: ask the custom builder to install Win 8.1 in Legacy/CSM mode. I know the "retail" version can be installed in either UEFI or Legacy mode, but I'm not sure what OEM license options are? Don't know if they need to commit ahead of time to a specific type of install, or if they can decide as the need arises which way to install? Can't hurt to ask. That way you could have Windows immediately and not have to worry about conflicting boot modes for the two OS's. Then just upgrade Win 8.1 to 10 whenever you feel like it.

If you end up with one drive containing Windows and the old drive containing Mint, just set the UEFI/(BIOS) to boot from the Mint drive. Then run this command in a Mint terminal to add a boot entry for Windows:

Code: Select all

sudo update-grub
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