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I recently got my Ubuntu broken after upgrading to Natty beta. Even if I restore it, I want a full reinstall once it gets released... I feel it's needed clean up my previous issues (including missing decorations and the broken Natty)... Windows habits, maybe :-P

The question is, I got no free space for backups. I got 50gb for Ubuntu, plus 200gb for windows splitted in three partitions, all packed full.

Is there a way to do a clean reinstall without recreating the partition or backing up all the data elsewhere? I don't care about config files, just users home folder contents.


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

One way you could do it is to turn your existing 50gb Ubuntu partition into your new /home partition, and then resize it smaller and use the newly freed space to create a new root (/) partition to install Natty into.

Basically you would boot a livecd, then from the livecd mount your existing Ubuntu partition and delete all the contents except for /home - then you would move your own /home/username directory to the now empty root of your Ubuntu partition. This partition is your new /home partition - then you need to resize this partition to be smaller to create space for a root partition to install Natty into (and there will be room since you already deleted all the other contents from this partition except for your home directory which you want to keep).

When you then install Natty you need to select manual partitioning and specify the newly created partition as the root partition (and to let the installer format it) AND you choose the old Ubuntu partition as your /home partition (but make sure the installed DOES NOT format this otherwise you'll lose all your data).

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That's pretty neat, very feasible. One more thing: after doing all you suggested, I'd be forced to stick with two Ubuntu partitions (root and /home), or can I merge them in a single one again? – mdrg Apr 12 '11 at 12:15
I would keep the two partitions - that way if you want to say clean install 11.10 when it comes out, you simply again keep your home partition but overwrite the root partition with the new clean install. – alexmurray Apr 13 '11 at 3:30
Indeed. I read a bit about that on some forums and guides, looks really useful. In fact, I do that on Windows (main partition plus two backups), why not Ubuntu as well? Now that "partition mount point" during install partitioning makes sense :-) Many thanks! – mdrg Apr 13 '11 at 12:16

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