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I am about to do a full re-install of Ubuntu via Wubi and want to ensure nothing is lost when I uninstall. I've read that by downloading the entire C:/ubuntu/disks folder on Windows is the proper way of "backing up" Ubuntu with Wubi. But I have a few questions about how this helps me should something go wrong:

  1. My main intent is to reinstall Ubuntu then send all the files I had on my old version to the new one. I've never done this before, but I'm fairly certain the disks folder will NOT allow me to recover individual directories I have currently. Is it better to use an external HDD for these files?

  2. For private SSH keys, similar to the question above, if I were to just copy the containing directory and replace the new OS's copy of it, this wouldn't cause any issues correct?

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I've never used Wubi, so I'm not aware of the best Wubi-specific way to go. However, the following will work anyway:

  1. You can either use an external HDD, regular file synchronization (e.g. via scp(1) or rsync(1)) or a directory shared with the host (Windows). In either case, if the external resource is not formated with some UNIX/Linux file-system, you should consider using tar(1) to pack whatever you want to backup, in order to preserve ownership and access privilege information.

  2. No, the key's won't cause any issues. The ~/.ssh/config and ~/.ssh/known_hostsfiles could, although this is most unlikely (only in case your former Ubuntu installation was using a very outdated version of OpenSSH).


Yet another point to consider: You probably don't want to restore ALL the files in the new Ubuntu installation. Usually, one would only transfer the files in /home and maybe individually selected ones from e.g. /etc and /var - as most of the files outside /home are system-specific. For example, if you want to have some GUI tool from the old system in the new one, you have to install it again instead of copying the files. But you probably knew that already?

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