Migrating / restoring a Linux distribution.


New Member
I am curious if I am running a certain Linux distribution with everything running fine on it (account, network, config) and I want to migrate to another system. Do I have to install everything again from scratch, or can I copy all or certain files in directories that I can paste on the new system and be up and running again in no time?

My actual situation is a Raspberry Pi with some applications running on it. Most are fine, but just one is mall-functioning.
I got the Raspberry Pi with a custom image. The creator user posts complete versions with his software installed. The package is not separate downloadable, nor does he have a repository where it can be installed / updated. The content, next to the Raspbian contains a webpage under php and a database with the electricity measures in it.
If he has an update he posts a new version of a complete Raspbian image. You should dump the the database before and import after the "update".

Now the application has broken down after a power failure and I want to have all applications up and running again.
The user has posted a new image with a new working version of Raspbian and the application. The thing is, I can use this, but then I have to set everything back up as the current version (static IP, users password change, repositories added for other applications I run on it (Unifi and PiHole) and probably more than I can think of now..
It would save me a lot of time and I think, as many of the Linux config files are in txt/cnf format I can copy them over.

Which part is true and what do others use to migrate for example from SystemA to SystemB or HardwareA to HardwareB.
Also it would be more easy for a backup not to backup the whole image, but just some / all config files I guess?


Well-Known Member
G'day joostman, and Welcome to linux.org

which system do you intend to migrate to ?

Seeing this was a 'custom image' I think you will be installing from scratch.

How much will you need to install from scratch...is it really that much ?


Well-Known Member
"Reinstall everything" -- one of the basic requirements of GNU/Linux users.
Avoidance of the whole situation would entail usage of something like Clonezilla and an external storage device of adequate capacity. And, as Condobloke notes,
...is it really that much ?
Welcome, newbie!


New Member
Thanks for the welcome and thoughts.
Indeed it isn't a day of work. I'm quite new to Linux and notice that the basics work for me, but if "something" goes wrong I'm lost and most of the time a new install will "fix" the problem. But in reality I do not learn much about it and just doing only the basics (static IP, user, password etc) over and over.

In my Windows time I also started at the beginning with reinstalls, but also waisted a lot of time doing the same every time.
Later on I got more of an idea how the OS worked and could fix more items.
Now I'm on a Mac and don't have these installations anymore, but on the other hand, if something would break, I would't have any idea how to fix it, as everything is hidden, thus.. a reinstall would also be the option there.

I still have the hope ever to figure more out about Linux where everything is located. Example: now for setting a static ip always use Google as I do it to rare to make it a habit / store it and this is for many of the Linux items. I don't want to use the GUI from the Linux dist I use at that moment, as the commandline is more general and "always works".
Playing around with a Raspberry Pi, a NAS and partial on my Mac I see a lot of the same items coming back. Still.. I need to learn a lot about troubleshooting and reasons why/where files are placed.


Super Moderator
Staff member
Gold Supporter
G'day @joostman and welcome to linux.org :)

I'm moving this thread to our Single Board Computers section while the focus is on Pi, and Pi users there may have some ideas.

I'll come back a little later in my day (Australia) with some input.


Chris Turner
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