My ubuntu laptop is customised with all the programs and themes of my choise,can i transfer these software to another computer running ubuntu and install them there via usb drive.

  • Note to self: this question should be answered with OneConf when that technology is ready. – Jjed Jan 16 '12 at 6:11

I know a manual way to do this, so here it goes:

  • Copy the contents of /var/cache/apt/archives to a folder on your USB drive. Alternatively you could create a disc image repository using AptOnCD.
  • In the file manager (Nautilus), in your home directory, display hidden folders (to do this temporarily the keyboard shortcut is Ctrl+H). Folders starting with a period are the hidden folders, and contain your user preferences to the applications you use. Find the folders of the applications you want to back up (for instance .thunderbird or .wine) and copy all of those to (preferably) a different folder on your USB drive.
  • Now on the computer that you wish to configure the same way as your first computer, from your USB drive copy all those Deb files into /var/cache/apt/archives (you'd have to do it as root) if you want to install them from Synaptic (it's a little nicer to do in Synaptic because if Synaptic finds a newer version of that package, it'll download it from the Internet). Alternatively you can go to that folder in the terminal (in the terminal you could do cd /media/usbdrive/debfiles/ and then running sudo dpkg -i *.deb to install all those deb files. You may want to go into Synaptic afterwards to make sure you don't have any missing packages to install.
  • Lastly, copy those folders starting with a period into your new home directory. If there was already a folder there, you could delete it first (make sure that application is closed). For instance while Thunderbird isn't running, delete .thunderbird in your home directory and copy over .thunderbird from your USB drive.

That should provide you with a quick installation (well you save on download time) of all the software you use and a quick importation of your user configuration of those applications. Enjoy.

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It's not impossible, but it is a lot of work. However, it sounds like you want to keep the applications settings so that you don't have to reconfigure things. Good news! Unlike Windows, settings are not connected to the application. All settings are stored in your home directory, so if you copy it to another computer and reinstall the software, it'll be exactly as it was on the other computer.

Transferring a specific applications settings is also very easy. New software will usually store their settings in ~/.config/application_name/, it's data in ~/.local/share/application_name/ and cache in ~/.cache/application_name. Unfortunately, not all applications follow that convention yet. The old convention was to store it directly in your home directory, such as ~/.appname.

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  • Recent versions of Windows store user-specific settings in the registry or in the user's AppData folder. Therefore it would be nearly as easy to transfer the settings from one computer to another. – Nathan Osman Feb 19 '14 at 6:43
  • Yes, the settings is no problem, but the apps themselves is more difficult. – Jo-Erlend Schinstad Feb 22 '14 at 0:18

While you are coping the files into new Computer, make sure that the new computer is running the same version as the previous (where you copy all the Files).

If there is not same version of ubuntu then the System may be crashed. So be careful before doing this.

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  • Just copying files will definitely not work to get a stable system. – guntbert May 16 '13 at 18:14

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