Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I recently upgraded my ubuntu 11.04 to 11.10, but while playing around trying to restore the GNOME classic (I really don't like the unity), I screwed something up. Ubuntu did not came back after restarting... I was stuck.

So I burned an installation CD and reinstalled Ubuntu (upgrade from 11.10 to 11.10) so the data was saved. However, I used a different username on installation by mistake, and now I've got two home folders: /home/new_user/ and /home/old_user/.

The old_user is not registered as a user (it's not listed in the LightDM login screen), and I really just need one user, with my old data and configuration.

So: is there a quick way to fix it? As in, get my old_user to be the only user with all my settings back?

Thank you.

share|improve this question
Just copy the contents of the home folder to the new one, including the hidden folders, and there is no "classic" session anymore Unity uses Gnome 3 not Gnome 2 as before so, either you completly uninstall gnome 3 and install gnome 2 or use another enviroment. – Uri Herrera Oct 26 '11 at 21:17
just copying won't be sufficient... i had some modifications to /opt & /etc folders as well... (I installed some stuff there...) also, what about all the environment variables? or anything else i might have changed and forgot about...? – gilad hoch Oct 26 '11 at 21:23
Copying will probably be your best bet. As far as /opt, and /etc, unless you know what you're doing, you'll be better off just reinstalling whatever you had. – Matt Oct 26 '11 at 21:38
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The best option would be indeed to turn the new user into the old user.

Have a look at the /etc/passwd file:

new_user:x:1000:1000:New User,,,:/home/new_user:/bin/bash

Edit this line only as root to:

old_user:x:1000:1000:Old User,,,:/home/old_user:/bin/bash

Then reset the old users password: passwd old_user as root.

share|improve this answer
eventually i reinstalled again using the correct name, and deleted the unneeded folder. thanks. – gilad hoch Nov 1 '11 at 4:18

You can change the location of the home directory of a user - perhaps that's what you want. Read about the usermod command.

share|improve this answer

If you are using your /home/new_user and only want data like your favorites of your firefox and the configuration (for example) move it..

sudo mv /home/old_user/.mozilla /home/new_user

move every configuration file from the old to the new one.

other solucion if you have the /home in other partition change your fstab settings..

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.