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Partitioning/Home/Moving

Detailed instructions for migrating Home Folder into its own dedicated partition.

Setting up /home on a separate partition is beneficial because your settings, files, and desktop will be maintained if you upgrade, reinstall Ubuntu or another distro. This works because /home has a sub-folder for each users settings and files which contain all the data & settings of that user. Telling Ubuntu to use an existing home partition can be done by selecting “Manual Partitioning” during the installation of Ubuntu and specifying that you want your home partitions mount point to be /home, being careful to make sure that the partition will not be formatted in the process. You should also make sure the usernames you enter for accounts during installation match usernames that existed in a previous installation. (via Partitioning/Home/Moving – Community Ubuntu Documentation.)

Reverse tweak by moving the OS

The above method is slightly advanced and therefore cumbersome. However there is an easy way. Do we know why the home folder is kept on separate partition? My idea to keep it separate is two fold either to keep it encrypted or to retain the individual program settings or both. Now for this method to work the home folder should not be encrypted.
Now the method:

Boot from live-cd or usb. Open nautilus as su. (Command is “gksudo nautilus’)
From view menu select hidden types. Now be careful. Select the drive where home is installed. Delete all directories except home. Yes delete all. Now click hom. Once inside home select all (by ctrl+a). Now ctrl+x. Move up one level. Now we can again see the home folder. Paste the contents of home by pressing ctrl+v. Once done. Find home folder and delete it. Unmount the drive.

Open GParted. (if it is not there install it by running “sudo apt-get install gparted”)
Now with GParted create a new partition for linux root “/” . This is where a new installation will take place. This should have a 12 GB space. That is good enough.

Now exit from the GParted and click install-ubuntu. Go to advanced Options and select the new partition as root, old partition as ‘home’ and swp as swap respectively. All settings for all programs are intact and shall be adapted by programs as and when we install that program.

This method can also be used for installing a new version without disturbing the settings.

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About Sandeep Bhalla

A lawyer, thinker, author, Linux/Ubuntu power user but often an economist or gardener or philosopher or cook or photographer depending upon the current thought and environment. View all posts by Sandeep Bhalla

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