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I am running Ubuntu 14.04 (32bit) and want to upgrade to Ubuntu 16.04 (64bit). I have a separate home partition. Is it possible to share the home partition with both versions of Ubuntu whilst the transition goes through ?

  • Applications get upgraded and older data may not be compatible. For example, my keepassX converted it file format. So my 14.04 install cannot read new 16.04 version. I prefer to use data partition over /home but some of the update issues still exist. – oldfred Oct 3 '16 at 17:32
  • I agree with @oldfred. This should work, but there may be some instances that once you boot 16.04, and some apps update their config files or databases, you won't be able to use those same apps from 14.04 again. Cheers, Al – heynnema Oct 3 '16 at 19:16
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You can not share a single /home-partition with two different versions of Ubuntu.

Many files and folders are stored in the home-directory. One part of this files and folders are your private data, such as in the folders ~/Documents or ~/Downloads. Another part of files and folders are configuration-files (most of them are hidden by default and you will not see them in the file-manager unless you enable the option show hidden files) and here the problem starts. Possibly some of the configuration-files are valid for both versions of Ubuntu, but not all of them.

You may easily share your private data by creating links to the old data-folders in the /home-directory of the new version.

If you just want to install 16.04x64 over 14.04 (overwriting) then you can surely use the old /home-partition. You only need to set the mount-point for the partition and untick the formatting-checkbox during install, so your data are not deleted.

If you want to use both versions you could use a different user-name to install the new version of Ubuntu. If you use different user-names you could share the /home-partition, as both versions would have it's own sub-directory in the /home-folder, (/home/old_name and /home/new_name).

A problem is that it will be difficult to access the data-folders (like Documents, Downloads, etc) in /home/old_name when you use the new version of Ubuntu with a different user-name, you are not the owner of these files in this case.

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  • I'd like to add many of the configuration files begin with a dot '.' which makes them hidden and when using Nautilus you have to select the option to show hidden files to see them. – WinEunuuchs2Unix Oct 3 '16 at 17:27
  • I don't agree with you guys. The whole point of having a separate /home partition is to separate the system from the user data. This way, a blown system can be reinstalled without loosing any user data... or upgraded without loosing any user data. The only gotcha, as I mention above, is that some apps config files or databases may get upgraded with 16.04 and then those apps won't run any more in 14.04. Cheers, Al – heynnema Oct 3 '16 at 19:18
  • @heynnema OP want not only to upgrade from 14.04 to 16.04, also want to switch from 32 bit to 64 bit – mook765 Oct 3 '16 at 19:22
  • So what? The documents/pictures/music/etc folders will all still work with the new system/apps. The only gotcha that I see is what I mentioned. Give me more examples of where you think it could go wrong. Cheers, Al – heynnema Oct 3 '16 at 19:26
  • @heynnema Why should pictures or videos or text-files be a problem. The problem are the configuration-files. I have the impression that the OP want to use both distros for a while, so both distros should work properly and need their own configurations. – mook765 Oct 3 '16 at 19:32

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