Boston Linux & UNIX was originally founded in 1994 as part of The Boston Computer Society. We meet on the third Wednesday of each month at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Building E51.

BLU Discuss list archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Discuss] Backing up the entire software installation

On Wed, Oct 24, 2018 at 08:53:01PM -0400, Nancy Allison wrote:
> I have Fedora 28 and lots of programs installed. I use a backup for my
> files, but I dread the day I have to start with a new computer and
> reinstall all my programs.
> Is it possible to create a copy of everything, my Fedora 28 operating
> system, all the programs, all the nifty Firefox plug-ins, all my Favorites
> -- everything? So if this hard drive died and I needed to get a new laptop,
> I could copy over the entire contents of this computer without having to
> recreate it?

I don't sysadmin professionally anymore, but when I did, I also
preferred the same solutiion as Rich:  Don't back up OS and software,
do a fresh install.  And I still prefer that.  It's usually faster and
easier, and it also gives you a nice opportunity to update to more
recent versions of things, if you haven't been keeping up with
updates, or even update to a newer OS.  

Your package manager can list all of the packages you have installed.
Do that, and save the output to a file somewhere, obviously at least
making one copy that's not stored on the machine itself.

Note that when you're doing a recovery, if you install substantially
newer versions of things, be sure to restore your home directory
BEFORE logging in as your own user.  This way, most things can detect
that the configs are from a previous version and update them,
minimuzing issues related to upgrades.

> If I can't do that, how can I at least generate some kind of list of
> everything I have installed so I don't have to rack my brains trying to
> remember everything I had on this box?

If you made a lot of custom edits to configuration files (like
DNS, mailer agent config files, etc.) it's a good idea to keep those
under some kind of source revision control system, and back up the
repository.  You could of course also just copy them off periodically.
For your home directory, which should contain your configurations for
the applications you use as well as your own data, you can just use
tar, cpio, or some similar archive program to make a back-up of your
home directory.

One issue to be aware of is that some desktop environments, like
Gnome, may store paths containing your username or hostname, so when
you reinstall, if you change your hostname or username you may have
problems with the DTE finding things.  You can of course fix them
manually... but it's better to just use the same names.

Derek D. Martin   GPG Key ID: 0xDFBEAD02
This message is posted from an invalid address.  Replying to it will result in
undeliverable mail due to spam prevention.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

BLU is a member of BostonUserGroups
BLU is a member of BostonUserGroups
We also thank MIT for the use of their facilities.

Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!

Boston Linux & Unix /