Reinstalling Applications after a Fresh Install


Once a while I am tempted to upgrade my OS or try another flavor. Now I started trying them on cheap 8-16GB USB-disks so I do not need to mess up my working system anymore…

The problem always is, that after using an OS for some month a lot of applications were installed and configuered. This took a lot of time. It is always a lot of work to get them all in place again and often I forgot about them, until I needed them. Preferably in a situtation without internet connection, so no way “sudo aptitude install” …

I was already up and going to create a script, manually punching everything which I found necessary , but then I found a preconfigured solution.

According to the great Ubuntu Guide:

If you upgrade your Ubuntu system with a fresh install, it is possible to mark the packages and services installed on your old system (prior to the upgrade) and save the settings (“markings”) into a file. Then install the new version of Ubuntu and allow the system to reinstall packages and services using the settings saved in the “markings” file. For instructions, see this Ubuntu forum thread. In brief:

  • On the old system: Synaptic Package Manager -> File -> Save Markings
  • Save the markings file to an external medium, such as USB drive.
  • Complete the backup of your system’s other important files (e.g. the /home directory) before the fresh install of the new system.
  • In the freshly installed new system, again open Synaptic Package Manager -> File -> Read markings and load the file on your USB drive (or other external storage) previously saved.

Note: Many packages, dependencies, and compatibilities change between version of Ubuntu, so this method does not always work. Automated updates remains the recommended method.

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