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Upgrading from Ubuntu 14.04

Discussion in 'Other Operating Systems' started by whirlybomber, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. whirlybomber

    whirlybomber Member

    Feb 14, 2004
    Summer Hill
    So I kinda fell off the upgrade wagon with my Ubuntu desktop here at home, and I really need to get back on to something a bit more modern.
    I realise that Ubuntu has undergone some pretty big structural changes and trying to roll forward from LTS to LTS to catch up to 20.04 is just going to be a pain in the proverbial and likely to crash the heck out of my system.
    So I was wondering, is it possible to "back up" my user (and all the cruft that has accumulated in my directories) and have any hope of that data being "restore-able" on a current 20.04 Ubuntu system?
    Or do I just have to manually copy across all the data and save / print / whatever all the system settings, sources and so on before I start?
  2. HyRax1

    HyRax1 ¡Viva la Resolutión!

    Jun 28, 2001
    At a desk
    It's not really your data that will be in danger, it's installed apps that might break. Your data won't break as it's not part of the OS (short of accidentally formatting the volume Home is on during the upgrade).

    Two ways you can approach this:
    • Backup just your user data (everything in /home), do the upgrade, reinstall/fix apps.
    • Use something like Clonezilla to do a bit for bit backup of your boot drive (does not have to contain your actual Home data). Should something bork itself, you simply restore the image and your system starts up as though you never attempted the upgrade in the first place. I generally do this with my servers which use a separate SSD for the OS and the RAID array only contains data. While this is the most reliable method, it's also the longest.

    Beyond that, I find it's relatively rare for a release upgrade to bork things these days. Worst case scenario is an app or two that might need to be purged and reinstalled with default config and then you re-jig it to your tastes, but that's usually about it.
  3. elvis

    elvis Old school old fool

    Jun 27, 2001
    If I'm doing a *big* upgrade, this is my path. I note all of what HyRax1 said too - your apps will be the trickiest part. With that in mind, do the following:

    Generate a list of installed applications. I typically run as root on deb based distros (including Ubuntu and Mint):
    dpkg -l > /etc/installedpackages.txt
    And on rpm based distros like RHEL, CentOS, Fedora:
    rpm -qa > /etc/installedpackages.txt
    That will generate a file with everything you installed via tools like apt, yum, dnf, etc, as well as naughty installs where you grabbed some random deb/rpm and installed it outside of your package manager.

    Back up at least the following directories recursively using something like rsync that preserves permissions:
    * /home (all user home dirs, per-user application configs)
    * /etc (system wide config, services, etc)
    * /root (root/admin home dir)
    * /opt (third party install dir)
    * /usr/local (another typical third party install dir)

    From there, I install my new OS, and rsync back /home first. Log in, then start checking things out - see what's missing, see what critical applications you need, check your old package lists against your new ones, etc.
    HyRax1 likes this.
  4. GumbyNoTalent

    GumbyNoTalent Member

    Jan 8, 2003
    Briz Vegas
    https://www.ansible.com/ - install all the software and configure how I like my desktop
    https://dotfiles.github.io/ - backup all my dot files so consistency between desktops is maintained
    https://www.backblaze.com/ - backup stuff I think is important to the cloud
    DATA personal - always /home/<YOU>/
    DATA other - this one is tricky but I create a separate FS mounted on a separate drive so I can just mount it, even steam, ansible redirects data storage for applications to specified directory usually /data as the mountpoint.

    2 years and growing for automated desktop install.

    OP - 14.04 -> 16.04 -> 18.04 -> 20.04 is the long safe path.

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