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I would like to install a fresh ubuntu 11.04 on my home computer that has a few user accounts I will need to restore. I currently use 'Back in Time' to back up my data. I want to make sure everyone's account is preserved with their data and settings and was wondering if these backups will suffice? If I restore their folders into the new 'home' folder on the fresh install, will this recreate their accounts and settings? Or is there a better way to accomplish this?

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Ideally, /home should be on a separate partition. Then, when you install, specify your partitions manually. Set up your home partition to live at /home and make sure you don't format it. Then, you should have everything set up fine.

If you don't have a separate partition, you can use GParted to resize your partition and create a /home partition (which should usually be the largest partition) as ext4 or ext3. Then, copy everything in /home to the new partition and set up fstab.

# Assuming that the new partition has been created
# and formatted as ext4 and is known as /dev/sda2.
sudo mount /dev/sda2 /mnt
sudo cp -av /home/* /mnt  # The -a option is really important here; if you forget it, things will break.

# Verify that everything was copied correctly; then...
cd /home  # Make sure that nothing is using your home directory--not even the current working directory.
sudo rm -r /home/*
sudo umount /mnt && sudo mount /dev/sda2 /home

Then, add the following line to /etc/fstab:

/dev/sda2    /home    ext4    relatime    0 2
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