I'm using Ubuntu 18.04 alongside Windows 7 dual-boot. I installed Ubuntu initially to test Linux and now I love it. I've made some coding projects on it and would like to keep it while switching.

BUT my computer is quite old and I would like to use a lightweight Linux system (preferably Lubuntu). I want to know how to install Lubuntu while keeping my original home directory.

  • You can use the 'something-else' install and select your existing partitions, ensuring the format box is unticked (particularly on whatever partition has your home directory) and it'll re-install. You can always (what I'd do) sudo apt install lubuntu-desktop, then logout & try Lubuntu's LXDE interface on your existing system. If you're happy, you can just keep that (my install is a Ubuntu one, with Lubuntu, Xubuntu... added to it There are costs (the more you add), but it'd be my option. I can expand is helpful. – guiverc Feb 22 at 7:42
  • Make a backup first in case things go poorly. – Organic Marble Feb 22 at 13:42

You have a number of options.

1. Bloated option (my favorite)

Add the Lubuntu desktop to your existing system.

sudo apt install lubuntu-desktop

It'll add LXDE & all Lubuntu software to your existing system. It increases bandwidth for each update (as you'll get all Ubuntu (GNOME) + Lubuntu (LXDE) upgrades; it also complicates menus somewhat (eg. you'll have a load more programs being for example Ubuntu GNOME's gedit text editor, plus Lubuntu's text editor leafpad... It's probably not ideal for a 'newbie', but it lets you use LXDE (Lubuntu) when you want to, or at login you can select to use GNOME (Ubuntu).

2. Re-install Lubuntu 18.04 LTS

Download Lubuntu 18.04 LTS ISO, write to install media & install. Use the 'Something-else' option, select your existing partitions ensuring you don't have format (esp. for whatever partition has your /home partition). It'll cause the following to occur

  • any added packages will be noted
  • system directories will be erased
  • new system installed
  • additional packages you had installed (noted earlier) will be added back
  • you're asked to reboot.

Just ensure you don't format your home partition (it'll be in "/" if you didn't specify another partition), otherwise what I've described here won't apply.

3. Switch to Lubuntu 19.10 during install

I'd be tempted to use this one if you're sticking to Lubuntu. Lubuntu 18.04 LTS was the last that used the LXDE desktop, as all later releases use the more modern LXQt. Yes it's possible to upgrade without re-install (I did on this box), however due to problems doing it, it's not supported & not recommended. Thus you could make the switch now, and be running a system that'll easily upgrade to Lubuntu 20.04 LTS in a few months.

Download the Lubuntu 19.10 ISO, write to media, and install using "Manual Partitioning" (what was called Something-else in 18.04). Select your existing partitions ensuring you don't have the 'format' boxes checked, it'll do the same as the prior install.

  • any added packages will be noted
  • system directories will be erased
  • new system installed
  • additional packages you had installed (noted earlier) will be added back
  • you're asked to reboot.

I'll add some links

The Lubuntu manual (Installation section) https://manual.lubuntu.me/stable/1/Installing_lubuntu.html

Chapter 1.1 Retrieving the image - https://manual.lubuntu.me/stable/1/1.1/retrieving_the_image.html

Chapter 1.2 Booting the Image - https://manual.lubuntu.me/stable/1/1.2/booting_the_image.html

Chapter 1.3 Installation - https://manual.lubuntu.me/stable/1/1.3/installation.html

The manual pages refer to 19.10; which is treated as the stable release. As the manual was started with the switch to LXQt, it doesn't really relate to LXDE or 'legacy' Lubuntu.

You didn't provide specs of your box; my own box is a decade old & I'm running LXQt correctly (20.04), however for x86 (i386 or 32-bit boxes) the LXQt is not a choice and 18.04 LTS is your best bet. If you're running a x86_64 (amd64) box, I'd really consider using this as a chance to switch to 19.10 and LXQt. It'll be the easiest longer-term. Lubuntu 18.04 LTS is supported until 2021-April (ie. 3 years from release in 2018-April).

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  • To downloading Lubuntu, please use the official site lubuntu.me, or if you forget what it is, I suggest not using a search engine (there are a number of unofficial sites which offer Lubuntu but are unrelated to the Lubuntu team, or under Ubuntu control). To stick to an official flavor's web site search ubuntu.com (ie. ubuntu.com/download/flavours will take you to official sites for each flavor) – guiverc Feb 22 at 8:40
  • I'm tempted to use the first option for this. Thanks, mate. And, I do use a decade old computer like you. – Drac Feb 22 at 9:22
  • I would definitely try the first option, after all the other options require re-install, so they are always options if you decide the first option isn't right for you in a few days, weeks or months (20.04 will be out in a few months anyway) – guiverc Feb 22 at 9:24

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