I messed up both my .config/ and .local/ directories*. I had no idea these were so important! Tried restoring from backup but just got a useless error message about it doing being able to perform the restore.

So I restored to a tmp/ directory, and then tried copying the restored version over: e.g., cp -r tmp/.local ~ ...but this didn't work. All my stored passwords were gone...tons of things don't work anymore.

I've been slowly re-adding settings and passwords, etc, but some things just don't work anymore, period, e.g. no Gnome Shell Extensions will install anymore (they just say "ERROR"), and I've never been able to re-add my Online Accounts for Google and MS Exchange to Gnome (the operations just hang or produce errors), and instead just have to use the web browser for everything.

Short of a completely new OS reinstall and overwrite, can anyone offer any suggestions?

One thought I'd had was that my cp from backup command didn't preserve the proper permissions, so maybe retrying the copy with -p or something would help, but at this point I'm worried about making things worse if I try anything new.

*did this while trying to get rid of the error messages always popping up in Evolution about not syncing with Google Calendar


All of these files are under your user's home folder. If you don't have working backups, the easiest way to resolve the problem is to create a new user and these files and folders will be regenerated for the new user.

It's possible that you could then copy these new files to your current user, but it would probably be most successful if you just migrate to the new user.

If you want to keep the same username, you'll need to migrate twice. First make a new user, then remove the old one along with the home directory. Then create another new user with your old username and delete the user and home directory for the interim user.

Don't forget to add the new user to sudoers.

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