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I will be switching hard drives and upgrading to an ssd drive. The questions I have are:

1) How can I get a list of programs currently installed on my Ubuntu 13.04 machine. 2) how can install those programs again on the new 13.10 drive without reinstalling each program one by one.

Thanks

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The following will get a list of all installed packages and store that list into a file in your user directory:

dpkg --get-selections | grep -v deinstall > ~/packages.list

Then to use that to install the packages on another PC:

sudo dpkg --set-selections < ~/packages.list; sudo apt-get -u dselect-upgrade
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Alternatively you can use Aptik to do this task using a GUI instead a CLI (personally I prefer the CLI method described above, but here you have another possible solution). Aptik allows you to Backup & Restore your favourite App's, PPA's and many more!

You can get Aptik from official PPA using this simple line:

sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa && sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install aptik

Or:

sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install aptik

Here you have more info about Aptik:

I used several times in university computers (I'm the SysAdmin) after a fresh Ubuntu installation and this tool help me to save a lot of time.

Also I recommend you Timeshift to make an OS image backup from same author (Clonezilla randomly failed when restoring an HDD image disk into a SSD and really), but also I recommend you Ubuntu AfterInstall wich you can to install a lot of useful software (restricted extras, VLC, etc...) using only a few mouse clicks.

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