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[Discuss] Backing up the entire software installation

I cover some of this in the "Cloning" article at:

(Feel free to copy, re-use, expand, edit the content using the new blu wiki
<> if anyone is so inclined)

On Thu, Oct 25, 2018 at 1:12 PM Derek Martin <invalid at> wrote:

> 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
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