My hard disk is separated into 3 parts. 1. system 2. home (my stuff, work and such) 3. swap

The original idea is that i can reinstall and/or configure and/or experiment with the system without affecting my own data. Or possibly overwrite ubuntu with another distro (i.e. mint) while still keeping my "home" intact. I'm also thinking of making another partition to install mint alongside ubuntu with BOTH sharing the same home directory.

Q1: Can I do a fresh reinstall of the system without wiping out the home dir?

Q2: How can I install mint (or other distro) alongside ubuntu in 2 separate systems dir. but only 1 home dir?


[ am not a newbie, but NOT a programmer, just a power user ]


Personally I would advise you share a data directory. Mount is at /media/data or what name you would like to give it. In the data partition you can save configuration files you use across distros. Personally I use .vim , .vimrc , .zshrc across distributions for example. I also share background images , icon sets, etc.

You can use links or mount --bind to link things in the data partition to home.

ln -s /media/share/.icons ~/.icons

If you share a /home, be sure to understand the implications. Your user home directory is /home/your_login_name.

As long as you have a unique log in name for each distribution I would not anticipate any problem sharing /home . If, however, you share /home/your_login_name across distributions you might have problems. Problems could arise from conflicting configurations in .gnome (or other directories) as there is a moderate amount of variation in how gnome is implemented on various distributions (Unity vs gnome-shell vs cinnamon).

Sharing /home != sharing /home/your_login_name .

Either way, sharing a /data partition or sharing a /home partition, be very careful not to format it when installing a new OS.


You always get the possibility to choose whether you partition your system or use existing partitions, as well as the locations of your root, swap and home directories when you install a new Linux distribution. The home directory you have for Ubuntu will be visible for the setup, so you can set it as your home directory for any distribution you install.

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