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On my hobby virtual server, I ran into unresolvable dependencies trap when updating kernel requires updating libc6 and vice versa, so I can not update or install any software.

I made a brief research on that, and it seems like it happened because I installed an application from Sid on Lenny system (which was incredibly stupid of me, I agree) and I have to install kernel from source, and the system might get screwed even worse as a result (new kernel would not start and I will not be able to choose an old one in GRUB menu).

I do have backup snapshots (full system images), but they have this issue as well.

I do not use mysql there, so restoring databases is not the case.

The server is not critical and no one but my own stupid self would suffer if it breaks.

So backing up my users and groups related files (passwd, shadow, groups), sudoers, apache, mail apps and jabber daemon configs, /var/www and the whole /home, resetting the server to default configuration and then installing necessary packages and plugging in their configs and data seems to be the answer.

Am I right?

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migrated from serverfault.com Jun 1 '11 at 18:15

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Your approach sounds fine. Make sure to have a full back up in case you forget any directories or config files, but it sounds like you have that covered.

I use a similar strategy all the time for my home PC. In fact I've taken my /home directory contents and Apache config on a journey through several different flavours of Solaris and Linux and in and out of virtual machines. If you're simply re-installing the same version of Debian, you should have no trouble.

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At home I just have /home at separate partition, but I have no such option at VPS. –  Roman Grazhdan Jun 1 '11 at 8:26
    
@Roman: Yes, to be clear, I'm talking about backing up and restoring the /home directory (as per your original question), not about having a separate /home partition. –  Tom Shaw Jun 1 '11 at 10:41
    
Sure. I have full system snapshots, each and every file, the whole /, edited the question to make it clear. –  Roman Grazhdan Jun 1 '11 at 11:01
    
@Roman: Yep your question is very clear, and your plan is good! –  Tom Shaw Jun 1 '11 at 11:10

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