Fresh Install or upgrade?


I have openSuSE 10.2 32 bit running on my HP nw9440 laptop, dual booted with XP Pro.

I am considering upgrading to a newer version and am uncertain whether to go down the upgrade or fresh install path.

The system is set up with the root file system as a separate partition and then a set of logical volumes containing the home, opt, var, etc. (not /etc!) file systems.

If I go for a fresh install (which would be 11.1) will the installer detect my existing LVM set up and everything be OK?

Further questions:
I have installed quite a few additional applications, mainly Java based, e.g. Tomcat, Hibernate, Ant and other development tools on the /opt partition. Presumably as these all use a JVM there will be no problem with them as they will just use whichever JVM is available following the new installation.

I also have Oracle 10g installed - does anyone have any experience of how it is affected by new install/upgrade activities? I expect a reinstall may be required…

Another question I have is that, as the machine is dual core, it seems silly that I’m not using a 64 bit version.

Is installing a 64 bit version to replace a 32 bit version likely to cause many problems?

All advice much appreciated…

Backup, Fresh Install. No doubt in my mind.

That’s my preferred option as well, but you haven’t answered any of the questions I posed.

If I do a new installation will the data on the partitions that are in the LVM be safe or not? Or, will I have to recreate the partitions and then restore from the backup?

This is what I need to know so I can plan the migration before I start it.

When playing with partitions there is never safe, so backup then try.

This. I fully agree. Start fresh.

To the OP: you can back up your /home directory (or directories) and restore all of your personal files that way. Be careful about backing up hidden directories. I DON’T recommend that you back up those, with a few critical exceptions:

  1. Mozilla Firefox – all of your bookmarks and browsing history will be stored in the “.mozilla” folder. Simply copy that into your backup and restore it before opening Firefox for the first time after the new install.

  2. Mail – I use Thunderbird, and all of my mail and account info is stored in the “.thunderbird” folder. Same procedure.

One other tip, from personal experience: watch the ownership and permissions when you restore from the backup. You may need to run “chown” and “chmod” on some of the files (especially in the aforementioned, hidden “.mozilla” and “.thunderbird”) directories. You’ll get some strange-looking errors if you don’t.

Backup and restore. HIGHLY recommended. The extra time up front is worth it.

One other clarification/recommendation:

If you’ve had this system for any time at all (a year or two, say), I strongly recommend that you check (“fsck”) the drives before doing the install, too. Yes, I’d start over. Don’t try to reuse the current LVM, recreate it.

That’s just opinion, but again, it’s based on experience. If you’re going to start fresh, start fresh. :slight_smile:

Well, I´d like to throw in a question here: I am running a very fresh install of 11.1 too, but: WHEN exactly should you start fresh?
In my case: I am ALWAYS up to date and upgrade my system up to the newest kernel everytime (at least that is what´s planned)… :wink:

So when SHOULD you really start over? For you, bergerc: No doubt: Start fresh. ^^


That’s a matter of opinion, and your opinion will be formed by your own experiences. First, I always back up regardless, period. That’s what USB flash drives are for. :slight_smile:

If it’s one minor version number, I’m likely to try the upgrade. I did so from 10.2 to 10.3, for example.

But if it has been over 6 months; if it’s a major version increment; or if I just don’t like the way the clouds sit in the sky on that particular day, I back up, check all drives, blow up, and then do a fresh, clean install.

Why? I was burned by experience once. I did an upgrade-install on a system that had a questionable hard drive. The upgrade appeared to be fine, but I kept getting weird errors totally at random. I finally did a full drive check and discovered the problem. Ever since then, I’ve decided to do as described above.


or if you don’t care of all your data
stored in that comp.

the partitioner on suse 11.1 do not recognise
partition from suse 10.3.
o.k. - I’m not speaking about LVM setup (I did’n use it)

my suggestion is:
1-do not uptate
2-test upgrade
3-store (backup) all your data
(on dvd / or other comp) and try all you want

( from my bad experience)

( from my bad experience)

Or is it limited experience?

If it’s a fresh install - Then you are starting fresh!

the partitioner on suse 11.1 do not recognise
partition from suse 10.3.

umm. - Where did that come from?

caf4926Or - is it limited experience?
ha ha ha - limited linux, reading all !!!

the partitioner on suse 11.1 do not recognise
partition from suse 10.3.
umm. - Where did that come from?

try to install suse 10.3, and after that suse 11.1
and disks to be ext3 ("“native linux”")
and call me - and have a mind
I just protect him to loose the data !!!

It would help a lot if people not just went ahead, but read the instructions on screen. I’ve done fresh installs of 11.1 over 10.3 on quite a lot of multiple-disk machines. Yes, the partitioner has changed, but Help is available. It’s not that it doesn’t recognize partitions, it’s making a suggestion of could be done. I simply read in the original partition tables, recreate the mount-points and that’s about it.

Usually reinstalling the extras on a fresh install is what i prefer. In my experience upgrading leaves remains of the previous install.

ok -
I simply read in the original partition tables,
i do the same - read a previous partition

recreate the mount-points and that’s about it.
i do the same

the result was terrible
sda1 - ok
sda2 - with 1 cilinder less
sda3 - 1 cilinder !!!
sda4 - the previous sda3
and previous sda4 - unvisible/unreadable

but where is the problem - ““sata disk””
i found in forums some problems with sata disks
i dont know !!! for suse 11.1 i don’t fount
any warning - all is ok in explanation,
but reading debian install documentation
there was warning about possible problem as:
this can destroy your data / or make a backup /
or a lot like this because of unknown problem
or hardware !!!

so warning is not so bad. its warning not a death sentence

Thanks, that clarifies my question. Added a point to your score.

I know what i am doing. Thanks. :wink:
(you mis-interpreted my post; please read it again carefully)



There are no hard and fast rules on the question you ask. It just comes down to a reasonable understanding of the OS. You understand of course, Linux is progressive and so are it’s users. Or at least they should be.

In fact, I never ‘Upgrade’. There just isn’t the need for a basic workstation. (A server, maybe). Having /home we can always keep that as is. (Or at the very least - Back it UP and drag in settings and files as required.) Admittedly we need to re-install all the software - But seriously, it takes 20 mins at most post install. And the benefits of the fresh install, to me, far outweigh the small inconvenience of re-installing the software. (Not to mention 3rd Party complications)

There are too many significantly important changes in the OS to even consider an upgrade. ‘Package Management’ to mention just one.

Fully agreed. :wink:
The only thing that TAKES tremendous time is to swipe the hard disk completely clean for a fresh install. One thing I´ve been doing on almost all of my computers is to overwrite the disks with DBAN (either in autonuke mode or with the most secure erasing method). The process itself takes several hours…


Well it’s taken me a few weeks to get around to it, but I thought I’d share the details of my reinstall experience with you and seek answers to a couple of issues I have.

First of all I took a full back up of my system using Acronis TrueImage. I also backed up each filesystem separately onto a USB hard drive as well as taking separate backups of stuff like Oracle databases and Subversion repositories. I also made a list of all the partitions, installed packages and various other system files that I thought might be useful.

Having completed all the above I did a fresh install of 11.1. I have to say it was very straightforward, but then I am reasonably experienced at doing such things.

In the partitioner I was able to read in the existing partitions, including the LVM setup and I even managed to resize some of the LVM filesystems with some free space. Result!

I reformatted the / (including /usr) and /var filesystems but left the others (/home, /opt and various other data filesystems) as they were.

After selecting all the packages I wanted I hit the Install button and left the system to get on with it.

The only hitch I experienced occurred after the installation of the programs during automatic configuration. It wasn’t able to complete the network config and eventually the machine locked up. After rebooting the automatic config worked fine, although it generated a random hostname which I have since changed. Wireless LAN, graphics (NVidia Quadro FX1500), sound, even the fingerprint reader, all seem to be working fine.

Firefox even started up exactly as I had left it prior to the upgrade.

I am now using KDE4.1.3 and the one thing I would really like is to know if I can import all the desktop settings (number and name of desktops, background images etc) from the KDE3 setup I had previously. As I didn’t format /home I would expect that all the information is there but needs to be ported to KDE4. Is this possible/desirable?

Thanks to all for their help and advice so far…


There is no way to import settings from KDE3 to KDE4 its possible it may come or has come. But up to recently it certainly wasn’t possible.

If you’re feeling really really brave and know what you’re doing I guess you could try renaming, but I did read it wasn’t possible. I would thought after backing up the new folder and overwriting with a copy of your old settings would be the best. Certainly if it needed undoing and you have a grasp of the cli or another environment to work from.

Would I do it yes, but then I have little to lose, so that isn’t would you do it or a recommendation.

Perhaps run a diff on an acc that has a default KDE3 settings and KDE4 and see just how major the changes are.

It is a big change;)