Does Lubuntu installation process erase data in old Linux partitions?

Dear Lubuntu team,
I am planning to to install Lubuntu on Acer Aspire 5750. Previously I have used Ubuntu 20.04 LTS on this laptop. I would like to save the previous disc partitions when installing Lubuntu. Will the data in /home directory be saved during Lubuntu installation?Thanks in advance for your reply!

is /home a separate partition or just a sub directory of / ?

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Yes, /home is a separate partition. It is not a sub directory of root.

You have full control over what is erased/unerased.

I write about the Lubuntu QA testcases on this thread, or what we perform in Quality Assurance of the Lubuntu system, and that includes an “Install using existing partition” which re-installs a system non-destructively.

I perform that upgrade roughly weekly on a system of my own (one running jammy or 22.04(.4); using the unreleased daily ISO I get the latest packages), installed on a single partition, and it achieves an update of the packages on it, plus I ensure no loss of my data (ie. my music still exists, as does my chosen music player - a non-standard player Lubuntu doesn’t install which will auto-reinstall with the non-destructive install method used).

You can control what is erased, and what is not erased, by the options you use - if you select the correct options. It’s easy to make a mistake, so backup your data in case you make a mistake.

Many options cause erasure; eg. Replace Partition will replace what is there with your new system & nothing survives.


If you don’t erase /home while you install / in a separate partition then you can keep all the files in /home directory.

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I’m on my primary box right now, listening to music on my chosen music player after a re-install, and I didn’t need to type in my credentials into my firefox to access this site, in fact firefox resumed as it did on my prior install (my tabs are all there as they were before re-install), just as my playlist & music was there.

My system has two partitions used by this install, being / which contains almost everything, and the ESP or /boot/efi/ mount point required to boot this uEFI system.

I ran the re-install as a QA-test, and actually recorded the re-install as a failure as I had problems. I’m using my chosen music player clementine because I re-installed it (the install method I used should have auto-reinstalled that), plus other issues… yet even despite the install failure my data is still present…

Some GNU/Linux systems do require /home to be on a separate partition to ensure no data loss, Ubuntu Desktop (inc. flavors) has no such need.

@Oleksii I’ll also provide a askubuntu question that maybe helpful.

When re-installing a system, the apps that were installed with the initial media will not auto-reinstall, ie. if you were using Ubuntu Desktop, your system included ubuntu-desktop which included many GNOME apps… If you were like me and added different apps (say audacious to play music) it would have been marked as a ‘manually installed’ application, and its these that can auto-reinstall when you switch to a another system. By installing Lubuntu Desktop (thus lubuntu-desktop) your prior GNOME system of 20.04 will be replaced by the Lubuntu equivalent of whatever release you install, all default apps included with your prior desktop gone, having been replaced by those with the new installed system… but if internet was available at re-install time & you used the correct option(s), I’d expect the additional packages added (if available in Ubuntu repositories for your new release; audacious in this example) to auto-reinstall. As well, your data won’t be touched - UNLESS you format!

Even on my failure of re-install today… I lost no data… I just ^^ had to fix a few things, then manually re-install my chosen music player clementine, audacious, element-desktop, telegram-desktop etc myself. That lost me a few minutes! but what really mattered to me, being my data, was still on my partially-reinstalled ‘new’ system…

(apps like element-desktop which are 3rd party I expect to need to re-install anyway… the auto-reinstall is for Ubuntu repository software only (no 3rd party such as PPAs). Some 3rd party packaged apps may re-install; just don’t expect them to).

^^ Later edit: I added “fix a few things, then” as what I wrote read like only the manually installed packages failed to re-install… it was a tad more than that… Anyway I did 2x such QA-test installs of that type today, the second one completed perfectly; system re-installed as expected, data untouched & manually installed packages auto-reinstalled as expected… alas that install had issues too, but those aren’t related to the install itself I believe, but mantic is still in alpha so we’ve still got some time.


@guiverc Thanks a lot for valuable suggestions!

For the sake of others who may read this thread:

Even if you don’t preserve /home, you can make a backup of /home to an external disk. Then, you do your installation processes. When that’s done, you restore your /home from backup and you retain all your application settings as you’d have otherwise done.

That doesn’t save as much time as having a /home partition that you don’t touch during the installation, but it does save a ton of time.


This also simplifies ‘fighting’ with the installer. Very few of us use installers regularly, thus they’re generally not a well known tool making it easy to make a mistake. Installers are an amazing tool, but when they have a problem their messages are somewhat cryptic - thus this approach makes sense to me !

I’d recommend setting yourself up for this, even if you use the re-use of partitions as I mentioned, as this can be used as an easy fallback if you make a mistake, or have problems (even if its only being confused by the installer).


I’ll add that this is true because modern live Linux instances are quite good and quite reliable. Unless there’s some major corruption, you should be able to pretty much always recover /home.

Because of this (and I tend to take fairly regular /home backups, not much caring about the rest of the system), I haven’t bothered with a dedicated /home partition in quite a while. I just don’t feel the need to.

As for the rest of the system, that only gets backed up if I’m using Mint and forgot to disable Timeshift. It’s easy and quick to do a re-install and, frankly, that never breaks these days. Well, I don’t break it anymore. I’ve learned to stop licking electrical cords and no longer go messing about with system files unless I need to.


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