I have lots of important development files and set up in my Ubuntu installation. But now after trying elementary OS, I'd like to make it my primary OS. Since everything in Linux is a file, I was thinking of a way to have everything in my Ubuntu migrated here. Will copying the /home folder or /etc do it? Or will I have to manually install all the programs?

2 Answers 2


I would advise against trying to copy over configuration files from Ubuntu, like those found in /etc or ~/.config. There will most likely be incompatibilities that could cause issues over the long term.

I would also recommend re-installing your apps since elementary OS provides different versions than Ubuntu for some very important libraries and some apps.


I would use Aptik to backup applications and settings for compatible applications (Firefox, Thunderbird, etc). Saves a lot of time re-installing.

Back up your Documents, Videos, Pictures, Downloads, etc folders to an another drive so you can restore afterwards.

  • Also, using Firefox synch can save a lot of time when migrating as bookmarks, settings, add-ons all get synched on multiple computers/ distros. Whenever possible, use IMAP mail. These two things are good timesavers for distro hoppers. Commented Aug 28, 2015 at 23:21

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