Install a new distro on a laptop with an existing one

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Doris Lessing, Jul 12, 2013.

  1. Doris Lessing

    Doris Lessing New Member

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    Hello guys.

    I've been an openSUSE 12.2(and Linux) user for about six months. Everything has been fine with the distro, but i would like to test another one or maybe update my current one to the newly released version 12.3. I would like to do it safely, without erasing the stuff i have on my home folder. How can i achieve this?

    As a last comment: when i installed openSUSE on my machine i made three partitions: one for root, one for home and one for the swap.

    Thanks for your help.

  2. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    First thing is to make room for the new system, which means shrinking at least one of the partitions. Then, depending on the distro, you might be able to just open the installer and it will install along side the other one. Swap can safely be shared between distros. Root cannot. Home can be in certain circumstances, or if you use different user names in each system. Then it comes to GRUB. Either allow the new distro to replace the older grub in the MBR, make the new system install grub to the root partition, or don't allow the new system to install grub at all and just update the grub in the older system. Some of this depends on what new distro you will be using.

    Or just use Virtualbox.
  3. Doris Lessing

    Doris Lessing New Member

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    Oh, i'm really sorry that i didn't mentioned it clearly, but i want to replace the existing distro with another one, not to have multiple distros on the same machine.

    Thanks and forgive my ambiguity.
  4. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Oh. That IS different.

    Okay, this really depends on a few things. First off, are your pictures, documents, music, etc on a backup device? What distro are you PLANNING on using? Will you be using the same desktop environment?

    Some distros, like Ubuntu, can take your personal files and migrate them to the new system. Others will overwrite the home folder. Basically, the root partition should be wiped clean, and then you have to worry about the home folder. The swap partition can be left alone.

    You can always upgrade openSuse...
    http://en.opensuse.org/SDB:System_upgrade
  5. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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    Basically the issue with the home folder is the config files. Sometimes the configuration for one distro can mess up the configuration for another. Especially the desktop settings, which are in hidden folder (.*) in your home folder.
  6. arochester

    arochester Well-Known Member

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    The way to be sure? Backup, Backup, Backup. Copy your Home file to an external USB stick or drive. Then try installing the new distro. If you don't delete your home drive congratulations. If you do, you have a copy to reinstall.

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