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I have Ubuntu 10.10 install on my laptop. And I have a lot of data (nealy 40 GB) in the partition where Linux is installed. I cannot move this data to some where else.

If I now try to install Ubuntu 11.04 via USB (I am avoiding Upgrading via package manager because I have had some bad experiences with it), and not 'Format' my linux partition, are there any chances that my data in /home or /home/user1 or /home/user2 will vanish away?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You should never do this kind of thing without having a backup. Ever. But what you should be able to do, is to boot a usb session, delete everything on your root file system except /home and resize it. Then you can create a separate partition for /home and move the files onto it and then install. (Please investigate this before you start doing anything)

But in any case, you should not install a different version of Ubuntu without cleaning the root file system first. It's asking for major problems.

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My understanding is that Ubuntu installer is smart enough to remove system files while keeping the /home folder when installing over an existing Ubuntu - to do this you need to make sure Format Partition is NOT checked - see this for more details.

Then again, I am a firm believer in upgrading, as opposed to re-installing. I have a few machines which were continuously upgraded from 7.10 to the current Ubuntu, including a few Betas. There were some hiccups, but mostly caused by trying to do a dist-upgrade from a not completely upgraded system.

Of course, having a backup is always a great idea - even if you're not re-installing your OS.

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