Reinstall of Tumbleweed

Hi… So I’m kinda new to this world, so please bare with me.

I recently installed Tumbleweed and I know I screwed up once it was installed. I started deleting things here and there, so my fault. My question is if I want to reinstall Tumbleweed or any other distro for the matter then do I have to clear out all my partitions (i.e. home, swap, root, vms and etc). I was reading somewhere that the home directory can stay intact as-is and even if I installed… say LEAP it should still use the same home directory.

Can someone please shed some light on this process for me as I just want a clear path before I screw up something even more.

Thanks in advance all.

  • AJ

Better backup your home partition. This is the way I proceed.

Basically you can keep /home (the main reason you have it on a separate partition) when you install another version or reinstall (that is in fact the same exercise isn’t it?)

But @another_roadrunner is right, you should have a backup of it. But that is something you should have always. And you do have one already don’t you?

I’m agreeing with the others who have replied. Just some additional comments.

If you are going from Tumbleweed to Leap, then you are going from bleeding edge release to an older release of some software. Most of the time that works. But, if you run into problem, you can consider removing “.config” and “.local” in your home directory – and perhaps some other files/directories with names that start with “.”. That will give you something like a clean start with the applications.

My suggestion would be to just try without that deleting. But keep it in mind as a fallback option if you have problems.

So just to be clear here, I will wipe out all partitions except for /home and redo everything else? I have a partition called /vms in which it keeps all my virtual machines. Do I have delete all these other partitions and recreate them and then reinstall?


In your original post you did NOT report anything about Virtualization. So all answers above do not take that into account. The answers are based on repairing (why don’t you repair?), re-installing, or installing of an openSUSE system on those partitions you now have a openSUSE system on. Nothing more.

And I assume most here will guess that you have an openSUSE system with three partitions: for swap, for the root file system / and for the file system mounted on /home.

People here are not clairvoyant, thus it is up to you to provide all information that could be of interest.

@hcvv, you are correct… I agree, I should have listed all the partitions I created. Here they are:

root(/) : 50GB : BtrFS
/home : 300GB : ext4
/swap : 16GB : swap
/vms : 100GB // Will be having 3 or virtual servers for testing purposes and one for windows.

That’s pretty much it.

I prefer to do a reinstall. Taking that into consideration and my partitions above, are we saying when I do a reinstall, just to overwrite root? I am assuming that /home is nothing more than like ‘My Document’ in Windows where it doesn’t hold any system or configuration files. Again, if I’m thinking incorrectly here then please let me know.

Thanks Again.

When reinstalling, you should be able to keep “/home”. Just set that partition to be mounted at “/home” and do not format.

Pretty much the same for your swap partition. Set it to mount as swap. You can format if you want, but that’s usually not needed if it is already formatted for swap.

Set your root partition to be used for root, and you probably need to reformat that.

I really don’t know about your “/vms”. You might be able to keep it as is, and still use the virtual machines. If all of the control information is in that partition, it probably works. Otherwise you might need to also backup that control info, then restore after the reinstall. In any case, it doesn’t hurt to keep “/vms” as is (mount but don’t reformat). If you find that doesn’t work you can reformat later.

There is no need to add anything to what been said. I fully agree with @hcvv and @nrickert. Only a little clarification: when you get to “partitioning” choose “expert” and “current partition”, format /, do not format /home and /vms, keep you actual username. If you want to keep your actual /home partition, there is a possibility to have to delete same configuration files (hidden, start with “.”).
PS. I do not guarantee that will work 100 % (with home and vms).

Actually one more thing to add this is something I do and it has saved my a** more than once! On a separate external HDD get into a habit of backing up your /home and in your case that /vms on a weekly basis. While re installs are rare on TW if one needs to it’d really be a good thing to have a separate external HDD with your latest vital stuff on it. Also one more thing don’t forget to have a TW image about a version or so back either on USB or DVD. As I said re-installs are rare but sometimes btrfs and Snapper do fail & when they do well you get the idea.
I been using TW for about 2 years that external HDD and extra image has saved much hair and gnashing of teeth!

Hm, pedantic as I am. One does not “mount” as swap. One uses it as swap. And there is no “formatting” involved. It is just used by the system when you tell it to do so (mostly at boot initiated from /etc/fstab).

You are perfectly right. There is no “format” is it “make file sistem” - ext4, ext3 etc.
But sometimes some words are used that even if they are not technically correct they are easier for everyone to understand. This is what I thought.
PS. Sorry for my English. :shame:

Please re-read my post and what I quote there.
It is NOT about “making”/“creating” (often called “formatting” by former MS-DOS users) of file systems. It is about using SWAP. A container (being it a partition or logical volume or file or whatever) is NOT prepared for swap usage at all. It is just used by the kernel for swapping.

You are right again.
But I felt guilty because in my post I use word “format” (post #9).

During install, the partitioner calls it “format” and “mount”. And since we are talking of re-install, that’s what the user will see.

I’d say there is formatting, though relatively trivial, using “mkswap” which puts some sort of header information there.

Thank you everyone very much for your feedback and contribution here. I do have one outstanding question and I ask this because I screwed it up the first time around.

So in my PC, I have 2 HDD and 1 Samsung NvME SSD. When installing Tumbleweed for the first time, the installation process I thought went quite smooth, but when I boot my machine it directly takes me into the Windows and does not give me the grub2 menu from which I can select to either boot TW or Windows. I have a feeling this is happening because Grub got installed on the HDD which contains TW. Here is a breakdown of my drives:

SSD: Windows
HDD[1] : Storage i use for all my data files, so in case Windows craps out, I have all my data.
HDD[2] : Dedicated to TW.

I know GRUB got installed on the HDD[2] because when I select my computer to boot from HDD[2] then it will ask me to boot into Windows or TW. If I do nothing at boot time then it automatically boots right into Windows.

is my assumption correct that grub got installed on HDD2 and if so, how do I move that to the correct place and what is the correct place? Should grub get installed on the SSD?

Thanks again guys.

  • AJ

Is it using UEFI booting or legacy BIOS booting? That makes a difference.

I would like to say UEFI and I say this because I just built the computer this year.

If you boot the installer in legacy mode it defaults to installing in legacy (ie MBR boot) All OS must use the same boot method or you will have problems since you can not chain between OS with different boot methods. If booting EFI you should have in addition to the normal 3 (/,/home swap) partitions a small MBR boot partition which is formatted FAT32 and mounted at /boot/efi. Generally if there exist an EFI boot partition that will be used but multiple disks may confuse things. Also you can use efibootmgr to see and manage the UEFI flash boot entries. (man efibootmgr for details)

Can you boot TW using the UEFI (BIOS) boot menu??

Note also some computers have been known to force a Windows only boot, changing the boot order so Windows is always first or even remove any other OS from its flash boot list.