I installed 12.04 over a prior (experimental) install of 10.10. Somehow in the setup, I did not specify that /home be set to a separate (extended) partition (/dev/sda7). So the install set up /home on the /root partition, and I am now in a right serious muddle.

I would like to

1) tell it to set /home to sda7 (permanently so that it boots each time that way), and

2) move my existing /home from my old workhorse 10.04 to /home on this 12.04 computer. (I remember that one creates a tarball on the source computer, copies it over to the target computer, then extracts the tarball on the new computer. But I don't know, and don't seem to find, the correct steps to do this.

How to resolve this?

Any guidance will be much appreciated. I use my computer heavily, but don't seem to have many problems and consequently never get much past the noobie stage of Linux in terms of using the terminal, so your kindness in laying out the steps will be most helpful.

1 Answer 1


Don't feel bad, we've all been or are all still somewhat noobish at using the terminal. Also, love your use of the term right serious muddle.

All right, down to business :D

Question: Does your PC already have the /dev/sda7 partition created?


1) As for how to move the /home partition permanently, read this guide https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Partitioning/Home/Moving and this question: How can I move my /home directory to another partition if it's already part of the / partition?

from the guide:

This guide offers detailed instructions for migrating your home directory into its own dedicated partition.

2) Simple: (do all of this after the previous steps)

  • Just create the tarball on the original PC (seperate PCs, correct?) and move it over to your current PC with something like a USB stick or data CD.

  • Extract the tarball on the current PC in the /home folder while deleting the old files (keeping the ones you want, if any)

  • RPi A., Thanks for yours. Yes, the partition already exits. I Will read the referenced guides carefully and implement. I have a couple of questions about step #2: The two computers are linked by my lan, so can I just copy the tarball over the lan using cp ? and, #2,there are no files in the sda7 that I want to keep so should I delete all files in sda7 before copying the tarball into it? Thanks. P.S. When I am typing a comment and hit the Enter key, it adds the comment instead of inserting a hard carriage return. How are you formatting your comments with blank lines between parts?
    – Odysseus
    Dec 17, 2013 at 2:38
  • @Odysseus Your welcome. As for transferring files via the LAN, if you can connect and browse the files on one computer from the other, than you can copy and paste via cp or through the file manager. Personally I would go with a USB stick, just because networks sometimes hiccup and that could cause file authenticity issues. As for deleting the files, yes, go ahead and wipe the partition, then follow the guide for transferring the home directory over and then extract the tarball in. As for the return, nobody can use carriage return in a comment, sorry. Just answers. Dec 17, 2013 at 3:13
  • Thanks for the great help. Will be away until after Christmas, but will get on it after my return and will let you know how I got on. P.S. Tried to "rate" your answered, but I am not yet enabled. P.P.S.Is it best to create the tarball from a live CD or otherwise in order to avoid a file being changed during the creation process?
    – Odysseus
    Dec 17, 2013 at 14:26

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