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I have three systems on my computer, 16.04, broken 17.10, new gnome 17.10. I want to move all my files to one system namely the gnome 17.10 then get rid of the other two systems.

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    Why not use an external drive to copy the needed folders then drop them in 17.10! – George Udosen Nov 8 '17 at 6:07
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    What files? Just the Home directories? Are the three installs within their own disk partitions? – HellionWisp Nov 8 '17 at 6:31
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    @George Exactly, the life can be much easier if we don't think so complicated. The best solutions is are almost always the simplest and most straightforward ones. The OP should provide more details, otherwise a proper answer isn't possible, since there is a lot of room for (mis)interpretation. – cezar Nov 8 '17 at 6:57
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    one benefit from @George's suggestion is that it provides a backup if things go wrong. If it was me; I'd go to the one you want to keep; mount another in a directory (/mnt if not used; but can be anywhere) and just cp -p the files to their new home. repeat for second partition. my approach assumes term (where i'd do it) but it can be done with gui if necessary too. ( i use cp allowing me to diff before I rm, but you could mv them too) – guiverc Nov 8 '17 at 7:06
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    @chrisguiver, I think your comment can be developed into a good answer. – sudodus Nov 8 '17 at 7:23
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Boot the system you plan to keep.

For each of your partitions (16.04 & other-17.10) do the following

  • Mount your partition to a directory. A common mount point in /mnt but you can mount to any directory you want, but check you have nothing already mounted to /mnt, or subdirectories inside there. If you need help here look at Detect and mount devices
  • Copy the files to wherever you want them (I'd suggest cp -p or -p to preserve file attributes, but it's up to you). You could also just use mv to move which means the subsequent [diff] step needs to be skipped eg. cp -prnv /mnt/username/* /home/username/ which will copy everything from your old username-dir to your new username-dir preserving file info, recursively doing subdirectories but only copying 'new' files only (I included this to avoid clobbering any config files in your 'new' directory; but its up to you!). if you don't want all your old-home directory; adjust as appropriate.
  • Diff the original with your new home-directory. this is optional, and if you did the whole /home/username directory new 'config' files will of course show as errors. this step is easiest if you do subdirectories within /home/username, and not the whole user directory
  • unmount when you're happy, sudo umount /mnt (adjusting /mnt to whatever directory you used)

you can of course use your GUI if you prefer. mounting can be done with disks or other tools, and copying with a file manager (files etc).

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