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One time my sound card was no longer detected and the only way to get it working again was to reinstall Linux. I want to avoid having to do this by backing up important files for sound so that if the sound card disappears again I can fix it.

Which directories should be backed up?

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I think you should be asking "Why is my sound card no longer being detected?" so the problem gets fixed, not just the effect. – TheLQ Aug 7 '10 at 22:35
Next time, edit your earlier question instead of posting a dupe. – random Aug 8 '10 at 0:43
The question of backing up sound configuration files and finding out why sound is not working are two different questions. Fixing the problem is hard. So I'm trying something else. As Ben Franklin once said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." – tony_sid Aug 8 '10 at 1:08
up vote 0 down vote accepted

The easiest way is probably to install the Simple Backup Suite. It will backup all important configuration files from system directories and your home directory.

Get from the Synaptic Package Manger - sbackup

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When I run sbackup nothing happens. – tony_sid Aug 7 '10 at 22:30
did you read the instructions? – bryan Aug 7 '10 at 22:51
Ok, so do you think that backing up with the default configuration will back up the necessary files for my sound system to work if it stops working? – tony_sid Aug 8 '10 at 1:06
I think it should. Just take a look at what's going to be in the backup, should have /etc and a bunch of other directories – bryan Aug 8 '10 at 1:59

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