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I use Debian Lenny and would like to change over to Squeeze. My system consists of two partitions: lenny installation & home directory partition. I have all my personal files in the home directory.

When I install the new Squeeze, which is by formatting the existing Lenny installation partition, can I reuse the existing home folder along the existing user name? Or whether I need to create a new user and still use the same home partition to work correctly?

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The short answer is yes. You may have to chown your home directory if your UID ends up being different, but it should work. There may be some config settings that will be weird with the upgrade from Lenny to Squeeze. You will need to be sure to make sure that the partition doesn't get formatted during the install.

However, I'm wondering why you would format to move from Lenny to Squeeze. Apt can handle this for you, and then you are guaranteed that your home directory works.

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My Lenny is bit old and messed up with lots of applications. Installed applications from even Ubuntu and Mint Repos. So looking for a fresh Squeeze install,leaving the home directory and username intact – user61954 Jun 14 '11 at 3:55
OK, that makes some sense. There is some risk that your apps will break, since the configs may be outdated. I've done this before, even across distros. It can be a headache, especially if you have apps that are really picky about their configuration (mplayer back in the day always drove me crazy). Odds are it will be pretty smooth, but there are never any guarantees. – Kirk Jun 14 '11 at 3:59
So for a clarification. If i give the same username, it will take the existing one? I have lots of files in my home partition user. As you said I fear about the config problem. Think I could remove all the config files from the existing one and do the installation – user61954 Jun 15 '11 at 3:10
It is very likely that your files system tracks permissions based on UID and not on username (your shell just displays username to be friendly). so the key will be to make sure that you end up with the same UID. – Kirk Jun 15 '11 at 11:35

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