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I want to download 10.04. I have 11.10, but it's really much slower than 10.04. So, my question is, if I download it from scratch, will my files from 11.10 still be there?

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You can not downgrade Ubuntu.

If you wish to install a previous version of Ubuntu then you should do a new fresh install which will reformat your file system and hence lose all data.

So you must first backup your files. The most important to backup is probably your home directory, but you might want to backup some configuration files from the /etc/ directory.

You can backup your files to Ubuntu One cloud, a CD or a USB drive.

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I recommend against backing up files from /etc. The vast majority of users would not want to do this, and doing so is likely to break things because there are major changes to many configuration files between different Ubuntu releases. Most configuration files you'd want to consider backing up are in your home directory (they mostly start with or are in folders starting with a . and are thus not shown in Nautilus--the file browser--unless you press Ctrl+H or go to View > Show Hidden Files). But even these could cause problems if used an an earlier Ubuntu release. –  Eliah Kagan Nov 23 '11 at 2:01
    
I do take backup of the files, but I don't blindly overwrite them on downgrades/upgrades. I first do a diff on the files to see what has changed. I am particularly interested in /etc/fstab and /etc/X11/xorg.conf –  Anonymous Nov 25 '11 at 18:47
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Yes, they will, provided you go with manual partitioning and opt against formatting the / partition. Since 8.04, the Ubiquity (the Ubuntu installer) Preserve Home feature has been implemented and working.

In this way, the /home, /root and /srv will be preserved with the rest deleted. See also this thread on the Ubuntu forums.

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