Sorry if this question is too open-ended.

I would like to know what I would lose from my system if I decided to do a clean re-install of Ubuntu. I have a separate Home partition so after restoring that what we have been removed?

All applications I have installed? Firefox add-ons? I had to make a change to /etc/rc.local to fix Wifi, will that need doing again?

Thanks for any help, sorry if the answer is a massive list of potential things, I just don't know that's why I'm asking! Perhaps it would make more sense to ask, "What is saved in my home partition?"


You will lose everything that was not on your home partition :-)

You already mentioned or need to think of:

  • changes to /etc/rc.local and /etc/ in general
  • changes to the software sources you used (/etc/apt)
  • all software you have installed (you can save a list of the installed software via the software-center and reinstall later, but you have to think of it...)
  • software installed outside the debian system (by typing make; make install, easy_install, cpan, ctan, ...), those often live in /opt/...
  • probably a lot I can't think of at the moment...

You will not lose most of the configuration, as this is often saved under ~/.conf.

For answers on how to backup all your system components you can have a look at this question: How to backup settings and list of installed packages and Easy backup/restore of installed system?

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If you have a separate /home partition then you will lose nothing, on a fresh install of Ubuntu on the / partition (making sure you dont format /home during install) all of your current files and even preferences and bookmarks will remain in tact...

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