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I'd like to change the OS on my laptop. I currently use Windows 7, but would like to install Ubuntu, but I'm not sure exactly what I need on the new OS. I've deployed an app to Heroku, which required my ssh key, is that all I need to copy over? Or are there other files I need as well?

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Only you can know what you need to pack before moving, in real life and in the digital one. What I'd recommend is installing Wubi (http://wubi-installer.org/). It's the official virtualization of Ubuntu for Windows. Once installed you can use Ubuntu just as if you'd installed the "real thing", only without any risk of destroying your Windows data. Use it continuously over the next few weeks. If you find yourself needing to dip into Windows for anything, make note of it. After a few weeks you should have an idea of precisely what you need to take with you on your journey to Ubuntu.

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It's hard to say because I don't know what else is on your computer. If you're afraid you might miss something, try using a tool called Disk2Vhd to make a snapshot of your Windows 7 machine. After you have Ubuntu installed and you realize you're missing something, install VirtualBox and you can run a virtual instance of your machine and go back to get the files you need. (you'll want to check to make sure your CPU supports virtualization first for any of this to work)

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Thanks ajma. I was hoping that I'd just need the key and maybe a couple of files, but having a back up is never a bad idea. –  GoodGets Jun 9 '10 at 21:03

Is there enough space for you to shrink your Windows partition (gparted can do this), then install Ubuntu on the freed up space? Then you could dual-boot and have both, and not be losing all of your existing documents and everything.

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