Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh install

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wyldekey
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Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh install

Post by wyldekey » Wed May 19, 2010 1:58 pm

I just installed Mint 9 (formerly had Mint 8/Helena) to a secondary computer. I made a separate "/" and "/home" partition. Everything went great! Then I used the new Mint Backup Tool to restore /home directory that I had backed up on an external HD. It took a lot longer to restore than it did to make the backup, but after it finished I rebooted, expecting to have my old settings back. The desktop picture, theme and icons are restored, but there is no longer a Mint Menu, time and date, window list or wi-fi indicator in the panel. Also my Firefox icon is blue & white instead of the regular colors, even though other icons are the same.
I can add the missing items, except I haven't been able to find a way to add the wireless connection icon, and I can't get my internet to work now. It won't automatically connect or ask for my default keyring password. I don't understand why these things are missing. Shouldn't my settings be the same as they were?
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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by remoulder » Wed May 19, 2010 2:33 pm

You have restored your home which presumably includes the hidden configuration folders. As these configuration options were configured against mint 8 they are causing you problems in mint 9 as many are now incompatible, this is why it is recommended to create a fresh home not try to re-use the old one. The update instructions do not make this clear, but you should only restore your data folders, i.e. Documents, Music, etc, not the entire home.

To solve this, in nautilus show hidden files (Ctrl+H) and delete any configuration folders for applications you no longer have installed, this may be all the hidden folders with possibly exceptions of .mozilla and .thunderbird? Ensure you delete the .gconf folder at least as this holds the settings for your desktop. Also check if any of the folders or files in them have a padlock on them, as there is a bug where the backup program restores files with root as the owner. If this is the case open a terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T) and enter

Code: Select all

cd /home
sudo chown -R yourusername:yourusername yourusername
substituting yourusername with the name of your user. After you have done all this, log out them back in. Everything should be reset to default.
[Edit] your original post and add [SOLVED] once your question is resolved.

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wyldekey
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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by wyldekey » Wed May 19, 2010 2:45 pm

Thanks remoulder.
I did notice some folders were now owned by root. I haven't used a backup tool to restore the entire /home before. Usually I just copy certain folders from the backup to new home folder.
I'll try out your suggestions.
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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by pewterbot9 » Thu May 20, 2010 2:19 am

remoulder wrote:The update instructions do not make this clear, but you should only restore your data folders, i.e. Documents, Music, etc, not the entire home.
"The update instructions do not make this clear"?!!! Darn tootin' they don't! In fact, they make it sound like all settings are restored, along with all applications that were not installed by default. This is a big lure to my staying with Mint, rather than vanilla Ubuntu. Good thing I found this thread, before putting my trust in Mint's Backup Tool.

This is very upsetting, because Mint has been needlessly deceptive, in wrongly describing the advantage of their Backup Tool I'm sure this will upset many new and established users of Mint...who were deceived into thinking Mint now provides a superior method of restoring all applications after upgrade.

Obviously, that's not true...I've been using grsync to backup and restore my personal data after each Ubuntu or Mint upgrade..so nothing is new with Mint re. this matter...and I see little reason not to just revert to Ubuntu.

In fact, because of this rude deception, I'm dropping Mint like a hot potato, for good. You may consider me a *former* fan/advocate of Linux Mint. Bye bye!
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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by markfiend » Thu May 20, 2010 4:07 am

Well that's certainly saved me from making the same mistake. I think I'll definitely go the apt upgrade && apt dist-upgrade route.
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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by Brian49 » Thu May 20, 2010 5:16 am

The Mint backup tool is certainly a mixed blessing as it stands. On the one hand, I too had the problem of numerous folders and subfolders in my /home directory having their permissions changed to "root only"; in addition, Wine and the installed Windows applications wouldn't run and I had to remove and reinstall them. On the other hand, it was good to have my desktop instantly restored intact, and especially the GNOME panel, which would otherwise have taken much fiddly work to recreate the way I like it. I would add that some installed Linux applications create folders in the /home directory (e.g. MPlayer, Ubuntu Tweak), and I'm not sure whether those applications would function properly if those folders weren't restored.

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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by remoulder » Thu May 20, 2010 8:28 am

Brian49 wrote:some installed Linux applications create folders in the /home directory (e.g. MPlayer, Ubuntu Tweak), and I'm not sure whether those applications would function properly if those folders weren't restored.
Brian, by and large these folders only contain the application settings for your user. If they are not there then the app recreates them and sets them back to defaults, however you might have to be a bit careful with apps such as firefox and thunderbird as the hidden folders also contain your profile for those apps and you might not want to lost your bookmarks, addons, mail, etc. If not sure just rename rather than delete so you can always go back.
[Edit] your original post and add [SOLVED] once your question is resolved.

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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by Brian49 » Thu May 20, 2010 11:27 am

Ikey - thanks for the clarification. So as you see it, the backup tool doesn't allow users to avoid having to recreate all their personal settings after a fresh upgrade, have I got that right? In my case, that would have taken many hours of painstaking effort.

Can you please say exactly where the API settings are stored? It isn't very apparent to the naked eye when browsing through the hidden directories.

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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by Fred » Thu May 20, 2010 1:02 pm

The problem here seems to be one of misunderstood terms. A backup tool is just that. A method/program/routine to backup something. It is not an update/upgrade method/program/routine. It can be a useful tool to make it easier to upgrade without loosing data you wish to retain, but it doesn't take the place of the knowledge required to upgrade your system. It wasn't designed to do that task, only to assist you in doing it.

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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by Ahmad » Sun May 23, 2010 6:45 am

Ok thank you guys for all this info, I was having some problems after restoring home and I could now solve them :)
I am very happy with mintbackup although i think it should be adviced in the tutorial not to restore all the home folder, that will save people some trouble.

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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by SallyK » Sun May 23, 2010 8:10 am

The problem here seems to be one of misunderstood terms. A backup tool is just that. A method/program/routine to backup something. It is not an update/upgrade method/program/routine. It can be a useful tool to make it easier to upgrade without loosing data you wish to retain, but it doesn't take the place of the knowledge required to upgrade your system. It wasn't designed to do that task, only to assist you in doing it.

Fred
I've upgraded from one version of Windows to the next on the same computer several times, and while you sometimes needed to tweak minor things, all the settings/software etc were just carried over. I suspect that that I wasn't the only who read the tutorial on updating - http://community.linuxmint.com/tutorial/view/2 and thought that Mint was finally taking steps to make that work under Linux, rather than having to set everything up again from scratch. To me, it so obviously seems like the way upgrades should work.

I think the problem was bringing the back up tool into the installation instructions at all. No, there's nothing in them that says outright that all settings will be brought across - but why else would you mention it as part of an upgrade method? It's not upgrading at all, it's reinstalling - and that is not at all obvious from the tutorial.

I don't have a problem with reinstalling - I did it from Mint 7 to MInt 8- and a couple of different Ubuntu installs. It may be that it really is the better way of setting up a Linux system. The tutorial really needs to make it clearer that that is what is happening, though - as it is, it's definitely misleading, if you go in expecting it to be talking about upgrading a system.

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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by Biker » Sun May 23, 2010 8:26 am

Even under Windows, you can not restore a system backup to a newer version, which is what some individuals are attempting to do. Blindly selecting entire directory structures and expecting them to all work on a newer OS version is not the fault of the OS, nor the developers. Yes, one SHOULD backup their data before upgrading. However, let's get real here. There isn't a single operating system that I'm aware of that allows you to backup system settings and apply them to a newer version.

This all boils down to some of my beefs about some versions of Linux. It's become so easy to use, that a user doesn't have to understand anything about the OS. "Oooooh! Lookie! I'm using Linux!" Yet, the comprehension as to how the OS really works is non existent. We're just perpetuating the existing crop of point and click users who fail to understand what's going on at the system level.
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Fred
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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by Fred » Sun May 23, 2010 11:06 am

I have seen a number of complaints about the backup tutorial. I am sure, as with any piece of documentation, that it could be improved. My point would be that a backup tool is not an upgrade tool or method. If you try to use it as such you are destined to be disappointed with the results.

The problem is that there are as many different ways of installing a Linux system as there are people doing it. Different partitioning schemes, multiple users, features, configurations, DEs, software, etc. Add to that the fact that when changing distro versions changes may have been made to how the distro works internally and that user software versions are different. To create a routine that can understand these changes and read your mind as far as what you want the outcome to look like is asking a lot and is certainly beyond the capabilities of a simple backup tool. I suspect that to some users this is not as self evident as it is to others.

Educate yourself before attempting to upgrade to the next version. Don't blindly put your faith in a shiny GUI, assuming it will make the decisions you would want it to make if you knew what you were doing. :-)

Fred
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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by SallyK » Sun May 23, 2010 12:08 pm

I have seen a number of complaints about the backup tutorial. I am sure, as with any piece of documentation, that it could be improved. My point would be that a backup tool is not an upgrade tool or method. If you try to use it as such you are destined to be disappointed with the results.
The problem is that is that it isn't a backup tutorial - it is specifically and explicitly an upgrade tutorial.

It would never have occurred to me to use a backup tool that way with an upgrade - if that hadn't been what we were to told to do by an official (linked from the download page) tutorial.

I upgraded that way, coped with the issues that arose, and had no intention of even mentioning it - things go wrong when you install stuff sometimes, and you just sort it out, asking for help if you need it.

Going off in a huff because of it is pretty ridiculous, but on the other hand, there was a fair amount of misunderstanding of what had actually happened displayed in the replies. This isn't a case of somebody trying something unreasonable out of the blue, but of somebody trying the follow the official instructions, and breaking things on their system in the process.

I know people flouncing tends to get others' backs up - it did mine - but I was concerned by the attitude that all the fault was with the user, and none with the instructions.

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Re: Problem with Backup Tool: restore /home after fresh inst

Post by edzell » Wed Aug 24, 2011 10:42 pm

This isn't a case of somebody trying something unreasonable out of the blue, but of somebody trying the follow the official instructions, and breaking things on their system in the process.

I know people flouncing tends to get others' backs up - it did mine - but I was concerned by the attitude that all the fault was with the user, and none with the instructions.
Thanks for the balancing viewpoint, Sally.

I once knew a man (and his young family) who caused the crash of an airliner, killing himself and more than 100 others aboard because he used a control "in a way that it was never meant to be used." The accident inquiry showed that the instruction manuals made statememts about the control system that varied from ambiguous to outright wrong; and that he could not reasonably have expected the result he inadvertently produced.

The flawed tutorial you refer to here would be unlikely ever to result in such a disastrous outcome, but it shows the same kind of careless, sloppy or hurried disregard for accuracy, leading to unanticipated outcomes for those who assume it can be trusted.

People make mistakes and allowances need to be made but it is wholly unreasonable to defend against recognising those mistakes by turning on the disappointee and blaming him for not "educating himself," instead of recognising the flaw (in the tutorial) and the need to correct it. As far as I can see that has still not been done. Fortunately in the case of my dead friend the inquiry's recommendations were more relevant.

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