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How to reinstall Ubuntu without losing the old data with separate home partition

I came from Windows world and always think that if we want to reinstall the windows then we only need to format the C drive while data in other drives survive(e.g. Documents, Software etc.) but if we reinstall the Linux, then all of our data erased(If we used default partition scheme). In this tutorial, I will create separate home partition for my personal data and also want to make sure that it will survive during the clean installation of Linux.

I will use the recommended partition scheme for this tutorial, in which, I’ve created four primary partitions:

1) /boot – for bootloader, if you’re running multiple OS
2) swap – which should be a little larger than the amount of ram you have(double than your ram is recommended)
3) – the main file system directory for operating system
4)/home – for your data files

Suppose,I purchased a new Laptop and want to install Ubuntu 10.04 LTS on it and for this, I did the partition like this:

Note: I skipped the couple of steps until reach to the partition page.

When you come to the partition manager part of the install, then select the partition manually:

The new hard drive does not have a partition table, click on the “New Partition Table” to create one:

Click “Continue“:

As per recommendation, the first partition should be mounted at /boot, because Ubuntu is the solo OS on this disk then installer will create the first partition as a primary partition (300 MB space is sufficient for this partition).

Select the free space and click on Add to create /boot partition:

The second partition will be for Swap, which should be a little larger than the amount of ram you have (double than your ram is recommended).

Select the free space and click on Add to create Swap partition:

The third partition will be for /. The installer recommends ~4.0 GB of disk space for installing Ubuntu 10.04, but assign more, if you are installing a lot of applications(~ 20 to 50GB).

Select the free space and click on Add to create / partition:

The last partition will be for /home and you may use all the available disk space.

Select the free space and click on Add to create /home partition:

The main manual partitioning window shows us all the partitions that we just created, Click “Forward” to continue the installation:

Suppose,I used this laptop about 1 year and create some folders which contain my data at /home.

Meanwhile, Ubuntu 12.04 LTS released and I want to updated my laptop from Ubuntu 10.04 to 12.04 but want to make sure that all the data in my home partition will be survived.

Again,I skipped the couple of steps until reach to the partition page, Click “Something else“:

It will present us with the partitions that already created:

As we already follow the recommended partition scheme 1 year ago when we created the partitions on our new hard disk.

Choose the /boot partition(How I know that, it’s boot partition? Well we know that we created it ~300MB) then click on Change, specify the file system, select format and set the mount point as /boot.

Choose the Swap partition then click on Change and specify the file system as Swap.

Next choose the / partition then click on Change, specify the file system, select format and set the mount point as /.

Now choose the /home partition then click on Change, specify the file system, DO NOT SELECT format and set the mount point as /home.

In the main manual partitioning window, we can see all the partitions that just created. Click “Install Now”:

After the fresh installation of Ubuntu 12.04, I still have all of my old data (if you don’t have your old data then please don’t blame me).

Hope this will help you!

Please Remember me in your prayers!

Enjoy 🙂

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