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I have had a research lab computer for the past 2 years and now I am graduating. I installed Ubuntu 11 on it, and then started acquiring lots of stuff that I needed, such as GPU related stuff, my favorite editors, etc. I also filled up quite a bit of the hard drive with video and image data related to the research project.

Now that I'm graduating, I want to basically revert to a "fresh" install of Ubuntu 11, but I want to leave the video/image data intact. Ideally, I'd like to put all of that data into some folder, and then somehow completely restore all defaults except for leaving that folder of data alone during the restore/re-install process.

Is there a good way to achieve this? Basically I need to set up a new user account (something generic, like "lab-user" but with all admin privileges), remove my current account, remove all non standard software, but leave the video/image data alone?

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closed as not a real question by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, slhck, Simon Sheehan, 8088, KronoS Jul 20 '12 at 0:27

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

What you suggest sounds like a good plan, why not try it? – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 May 20 '12 at 4:46
I don't know how to specify that a certain folder should be preserved during a re-install. I also don't know how to allow a new user to have access to a particular folder of some other user. – Mr. F May 20 '12 at 5:47

Why not back up the specific video/image/etc data to an external drive, and then format the entire computer. If you create another user account, remnants of your old one will still be there somewhere.

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I don't have access to an external drive. The data already lives in a separate data storage space, so if I lost it, it would be "ok". The problem is, I'm talking about ~500 GB of video data that has been extracted into PNG and JPG frames for computer vision algorithm development, so it would be slow-going to USB it all to something, re-install, and USB it back. The reason I want to preserve it is out of courtesy for the next user: to save them the trouble of SFTPing it all from the remote data storage server since I've already done that once. – Mr. F May 20 '12 at 3:28
Also, I'd like to create a new account and give it all admin privileges, then use that account to destroy my old one. So preferably, I want the persistence of this data to happen under that newly created account, and not my current account (which is the only current account on the machine). – Mr. F May 20 '12 at 3:29

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