1. Keeping the same /home partition after a clean install

  2. What should I think about before using one partition as /home for two different systems?

  3. Can I use the same home folder on different Linux systems (multiboot)?

My question is a bit different. I've got Ubuntu 14.04 installed on my laptop; however, due to the excess bloat I've filled my machine with and the resulting slow speed, I am thinking of doing a clean install of Bodhi Linux.

# parted /dev/sda print

Model: ATA ST500LT012-1DG14 (scsi)
Disk /dev/sda: 500GB
Sector size (logical/physical): 512B/4096B
Partition Table: msdos

Number  Start   End     Size    Type      File system     Flags
 1      1049kB  10.2GB  10.2GB  primary   ext4            boot
 2      10.2GB  500GB   490GB   extended
 5      10.2GB  20.5GB  10.2GB  logical   linux-swap(v1)
 6      20.5GB  400GB   380GB   logical   ext4
 7      400GB   500GB   100GB   logical   ext4

sda1 is mounted on /boot;
sda5 is swap;
sda6 is /home;
sda7 is /

To achieve that, I'm going to reformat and then mount sda1 (/boot) and sda7 (/) while mounting sda6 (/home) and sda5 (swap) directly. What I am concerned with is that configuration files (like of xsession and such) present in my /home/USERNAME might interfere with the fresh install.

To prevent this, should I delete all the hidden files and folders (none of them are personal) and then go with fresh install? Can this approach lead to problems? Is there any alternate way to achieve the same purpose?

Note: Backing up personal files and then pasting them is not an option, I don't have that big external storage available.

  • 4
    Most config files are at most a few kbs. You can move all the dot files and folders to a backup folder in the same partition, and then move them over one by one. That's better than deleting, at any rate.
    – muru
    Sep 4, 2014 at 13:40
  • Sorry about misreading your partition table. My point about having backup still stands. Don't mess with partitions without having good backups of your data.
    – user68186
    Sep 4, 2014 at 14:08
  • @user68186 I know that backing data up is very important. And the whole problem is that I can't do it right now, due to unexplainable circumstances. Otherwise, I would have simply done a copy-paste of the entire data.
    – strNOcat
    Sep 4, 2014 at 14:16
  • 1
    1 thing you should do: use the SAME username. If you create a new name all the files will belong to another userID making things far too complicated.
    – Rinzwind
    Sep 4, 2014 at 14:27
  • How about this- I mount the sda6 (/home) partition as /data, mount everything else (/ including /home) in sda7 (/) and then create symlinks from /data to new /home. This should work, no?
    – strNOcat
    Sep 4, 2014 at 16:00

2 Answers 2


What I ended up doing is mounting the partition (previously mounted as /home) as /data in the new install without reformatting, this meant I got to retain the config files (some of which were customised, like .emacs) just in case. Once the new OS had installed, I made symlinks of the main files and directories from new /data to new /home. This configuration should serve me well in case of another bout of distro-hopping; having the entire data on a separate partition (without any dot-files or anything) also makes backing-up and moving data from one machine to another easy.


I agree with @muru's comment above.

Move all the hidden files and folders in /home/USERNAME into a new folder called /home/USERNAME/My Old Congiuration Files and Folders.

The fresh install should create new hidden files and folders first time you login and as and when needed.

Once you determine that the fresh install is running fine and you don't need any of the old configurations, you can delete the folder.

Hope this helps

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