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Is it possible to keep my personal files and reinstall the system around them?

I understand that I can just install all of the gnome shell packages and whatnot without having to reinstall, but I am feeling lazy.

Last time I tried to install gnome shell over 15.10, ubuntu wouldn't boot (but I am sure that was my fault). Any thoughts on this? Thanks for your time.

  • It'll be way way easier and will take much less effort to just install ubuntu-gnome-desktop and login to it instead. – TheWanderer Nov 14 '15 at 22:39
  • I did that with my last install and ran into a WORLD of hurt as ubuntu wouldn't boot because of some rogue dependency that clashed with previously installed thing. Is there something I'm missing? – itascaphasar Nov 14 '15 at 22:56
  • The installation worked fine for me the five times I did it on 15,10 and the three times I did it on 14.04, so it seems you ran into your unlucky install right away instead of a few installs in. – TheWanderer Nov 14 '15 at 23:01
  • Just my luck, I suppose. Thanks again dude, im gonna try again right now :) – itascaphasar Nov 14 '15 at 23:04
  • Good luck, don't kill it. – TheWanderer Nov 14 '15 at 23:21
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In general, yes. As long as you don't reformat the partition containing /home, a reinstall should leave your files alone.

However, as noted in Zacharee1's comment, it's almost certainly better to just

apt-get install ubuntu-gnome-desktop
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