Inatall/upgrade keeping home directory?

I’m trying to upgrade my main machine from OpenSuSE 13.1 to 15.0. I would like to keep my home directory contents (and preferrably other places I have installed things, like /opt). However, the installer wants to delete that partition, and replace it with a btrfs on, which I assume would delete all the data on it.Currently the machine is set up with a swap partition in /dev/sda1, root in /dev/sda2, and /home in /dev/sda3, both of the latter using ext4. Can I simply keep that partition setup for the new install, or is there an alternative?

If you select upgrade in the installer the root partition should not be reformatted. But with such a large jump it is questionable what problems you would encounter.

You don’t have to use BTRFS you can specify any you like also If you specify a reformat

Since I assume opt is set as in a default install as residing on the root partition and not mounted on its own you would need to back that up But it is best to just reinstall anything you might have installed in opt since there could be compatibility problems with the newer kernel and system. But that depends on what you put there

I assume home is on its’ own partition so just mount it as /home and don’t format it. You can control all from the installer in expert mode

Of course you can keep your /home if it is on a separate partition. For many it is the main reason that they have /home on a separate partition.

For /opt, if that is not a separate partition, you have to take a copy of it first and then copy back after installation (but I assume you have a backup anyhow). OTOH, in /opt are mostly products installed, thus it may be imminent to install the newest versions of those products instead of simply copying the old versions. After all, going from 13.1 to 15.0 is a big step and those products maybe as old as 13.1.

And you can go for a Btrfs for /, but you “must” not, It is all up to you.

I would not upgrade 13.1 to 15.0, but perform a clean 15.0 install, the version bump is too high, IMO.
And, in the installers Expert Partitioner, you’ll find a option to import existing partitioning. Then set the mountpoints, and set the root partition to be formatted. That should be all. The installer also has an option to import the users from the installed system.
Re. the stuff in /opt: nope. It would most likely cause depency errors.

Thanks, I’ll give it a try with the existing partitions.

Well, I can’t seem to get it to use the existing partitions. I get to the partitioning step, use the “Expert Partitioner” starting with existing partitions, import the mount points, and accept - and it goes right back to saying it’s going to delete the existing partitions and reformat them. (And as a bonus, it says it’s going to delete & reformat the flash drive I’m using for the installation!)

How can I get it to use the current partitions as they are?

There are two choices for “Expert Partitioner”. You need the bottom one, “Start with Existing Partitions”.

Yes, I do that. I choose “Start with existing partitions”, it gives me a screen with “Available storage on Linux” and a list of my existing partitions. I select the “Import mount points” option. But when I click on Accept, it goes back to the “Suggested partitioning” screen, which says it’s going to delete the swap and both / and /home ext4 partitions (as well as the VFAT partition on the /dev/sdb1 USB stick I’m installing from), and reformat them.

Just select the partitions and mark them not to format.If you ar not doing an upgrade it assumes it is all brand new and will want to format it all. You must at least tell the installer NOT to format home on a new install. Remember the installer can not read you mind you have to tell it what you want beyond the defaults.


I never do that. I separately select each partition I want used and then specify exactly what I want done with each.

Of course. The problem is that when I told it in the obvious ways, it didn’t listen :frowning: And I would think that preserving the /home directory would BE the default.

Apparently the trick is to use the Edit option. At least I hope so: it’s installing now, so I’ll see…

What else could it be? Add creates new. Delete removes. Edit means change: e.g. mount point from nowhere to /oldhome, or label from including a substring from the old HD part number to one from the new HD part number, or various of the mounting options, or unformatted to formatted, or EXT3 format to EXT4 format. Lots of ways to edit.

Yes, Edit means change. That’s the problem: I didn’t want to CHANGE anything, I wanted to keep what I had.

Anyway, that problem is solved. I now have a Leap 15.0 system installed. Unfortunately, it seems to be seriously broken. I can’t even get it to start my window manager. But that’s another question.

Thanks for the help.

Change based on what you saw suggested. Was what was suggested what you wanted?

When you do not select import, it does not know what was mounted where. You as expert are directing it how to build fstab from scratch. It only knows what partitions exist, not what they were previously used for.

Since add and delete could not have been correct, what besides edit or change would you expect to see?

Selecting NEW install means new install and even if you Start with existing partitions option it simply will use those partitions and formats them since you wanted a NEW install. You have to tell it even though you want a new install you want to preserve home (ie not format).

No, you do not want to keep what you had, you want a new installed system. But you did want to change the proposal the installer made with respect to disk usage. That is what we are talking about.

In the very beginning you can ask the installer to start from the existing openSUSE installation (if there is one) for disk usage. It will then look at the /etc/fstab of the still existing old openSUSE system to see what is used for what.
Failing that choice, the installer can not make any intelligent or clairvoyant guess about which partitions are/were used by which of the many operating systems that still are or earlier were installed on the system (or to word it simpler: there is no flag waving on top of a file system saying “I am the /home file sytem of openSUSE 13.1”). Only you, the system administrator, has that knowledge (and I hope you have notes about that somewhere, either in your head, or on paper, or in a computer document that you can consult when this computer is not available).

I know that you know that that’s what it means. What I’m saying is that it’s confusing to someone who does not already know what it means. It would seem quite easy to provide a clearer set of options.