A modest proposal

I’ve noticed that a great many questions might easily be solved with a simple flush and reinstallation. I’ve finally come to saving anything that really needs to be saved on an external hard drive or on a cloud drive (Google or Mega or DropBox) and not anywhere in the Home folder.

Just like cleaning the paper off your desk–cut/paste or move it all to a remote drive. Then do a complete, fresh installation. If you really like your installation, there are utilities to preserve it as a custom installation.

I have found this to be a great way to solve otherwise perplexing issues; a clean, formatted hard drive simplifies a lot of problems. So does the mentality of purging junk!


Sometimes - yes. Many times - no.

This way, you’re missing all the fun (OK, and frustration) of messing with your system, trying things, fiddlin’ with the settings, breaking stuff and getting it to work again.
Finding out and learning about all the fascinating software that lies unerneath…

Besides, not being a terminal guru, I relate on an image too… :wink:


Sorry, guys, but I’ve been using Linux for nearly 20 years. And Windows, too. I’ve learned that storing important data outside the computer is just good sense and that a clean flush/reinstall is a more efficient use of my time. External backup will avoid 90% of the wails and whines I see in this forum. It’s also a good way to save me from my own mistakes as well.

I’m an experimenter, too–my first program, 50 years ago, was in FORTRAN, on cards.


For you that might be.
For many many others - oh for example any business or government contract that does not allow second hard drives, any external hard drives, physically disabled external ports, etc. that is not an option.

For you, if you can do that - aswsome. However, you speak only for yourself.

That’s the easy way out and works almost all the time. But I still feel that one should not opt out for a reinstall for problems that could be fixed with a little patience and tinkering.

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It would be pompous for me to presume to speak for anyone but myself. Businesses and government agencies hire IT people to solve these problems of course, and pomposity is their stock in trade.


Agreed, of course. I was just thinking of those who grow weary of tinkering and are approaching buying a Windows box just to simplify their lives. Fatigue is understandable, and remote storage is still a valid idea.

I totally understand that and I have done that a couple of times in the past. It’s an easy way out and saves time and frustration.

Thank you, abhishek. I was beginning to wonder if I was actually writing in English.

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pretty much 100% in agreement with OP @wgberninghausen

When things go “badly” wrong - I almost nearly aways rebuilt from scratch… 2 hours work with a known outcome (vs X hours and unknown resolution) - two hours and all my data’s back from my cloud storage (hybrid of Dropbox and “self hosted” Resilio Sync) - and my “big data” (movies, binaries, “master” music collection) are stored on RAID5 on my NAS and my desktop is configured - Steam game library can be a PITA - but I frequently backup my games to my NASj…

these days a lot of “information” is disposible… e.g. docker containers - cloud hosted instances… serverless “services” from cloud providers… makes provisioning easier but requires a new mindset :smiley:

I’ve never been a huge fan of dual/multiple boot - so it’s also helpful if I want to do a bit of distro hopping…

Can you direct me to some please? I do tinker - enjoyable and educational up to a point, but fatigue and frustration overtake me eventually (or sometimes sooner!). I think my system needs is currently in need of a flush and reinstall, but the the thought of setting up all my software and cloud accounts etc - well that’s a bit daunting.

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There are a few utilities to help you do that. Start with this one: https://www.tecmint.com/install-linux-os-on-usb-drive/.

Google can help you find more.

I reinstall as a last resort as there are lots of tweaks and tools you add to your system over time. After a fresh install I keep hitting little got-ya’s as I find things that are no longer there and I have to remember what I did to put it there in the first place. I still need to re-install TeamViewer, iPhone support and thumbprint reader drivers into my laptop after a re-install (to fix an issue) and havent gotten round to it yet.

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