Ubuntu upgrade heartache

Bob Breaux bob_breaux at bellsouth.net
Sun Jun 7 22:39:20 CDT 2009

I bought the Mini9 without an optical drive.  Can I use the Acer utility 
described below (from an email by Ramon Gandia in another thread) to 
replace the SSD and restore my OS?

denton.edwards at gmail.com wrote:
 > I'll have to go through the whole update process again, which takes a 
while, as there are several.  Currently it is loaded right off the disk 
and is working fine.

Let me give you a bit of advice.

Head over to http://macles..com , and look in there for the
aa1blinux backup utility for the Acer Aspire One.  Use that to take a
snapshot of your disk, and you can return to it at any time.

It says its for the Acer Aspire One.  Not true, it will backup ANY
operating system(s) or computer.

The backup medium should be about 50% to 100% of the capacity of the 
drive you are backing up.  For an 8gb AA1, I use 4 GB or 8GB sticks.
For the 160 gb drive version, I been using 320 GB USB hard drives.

Here is how it is built up.  You download the file into a windows
or linux computer, and then install it to a stick or portable hard 
drive.  There are downloads for either Windows or Linux.

The RESULTANT software in the stick or external drive is a miniature
slax linux system that is bootable.  So you can make up the backup
drive from either Win or Lin, but the end result is identical.

Now, you boot the intended computer from the stick or drive.  Select
F12 as you boot up, select USB and it will boot up from the stick/drive.

You will be presented with just two choices:  BACKUP or RESTORE.  Select
backup, obviously, and the thing will run to completion, giving you a
running tally.  Assuming you do not run out of space, it will finish
in 15 minutes for an 8 gb backup to a stick, or about an hour for a
160 gb backup to a 320 usb drive.

To restore, select RESTORE and it will overwrite your drive with the
image you backed up.  Simple enough.

Here are some things.  The backup image is a snapshot of the drive in
compressed form.  You cannot extract individual files.  It will backup
the drive bit-by-bit,  including partition tables, dual boot system,
Windows XP/VISTA whatever, Linux, or both.  Whatever is on the drive
is backed up.

When your system is the way you want it, you can take a snapshot and
you can in 15 minutes to an hour restore to that point.

In the external stick/drive that you used you can mount it and see a
folder called "backup"  In this folder are a number of 1 GB files and
a file of less than 1 GB.  This is your backup.  It backs up in 1 GB

The trick is this:  You can use a large hard drive (I use 320 gb 
external usb drive) to take a backup, then rename the folder to 
something like backup_05152009.  Once you do that, the name "backup"
is no longer there, so you can take more backups.  Later on, you can
rename the one you want to restore as "backup" and it will restore
from that.  Given a large enough external hard drive, you can take
multiple backups.  Be creative in naming them!

It will work on any computer.  It says it must have SATA drive, but I
do not think it has that limitation.  The Aspire one and the Mini 12
are SATA, so no problem there.  So is my dell XPS_ONE and the Dell_530N
desktops I have.  Backups and restores work with no problem.

There are some hints in the macles page for zeroing out unused space in
your target computer, so the backup occupies less space in your 
external.  I took an Acer Aspire One, 160GB that I had repartitioned to
dual boot Ubuntu 9.04 and XP.  It backed up to about 12 GB space on the
external for the whole thing.

This utility will only back up the first drive, so if you have two 
drives in your computer (not likely), it will take care of you.

In the end, you can experiment to your heart's content and be assured 
you can go back to the configuration you had when you backed up.  It 
will probably work as backing up one computer and restoring to another,
but I won't guarantee it on XP.  Might want to call home to MS.

This will save you a lot of tediousness.  I suggest the external hard
drive rather than a stick as it is about 2 - 3 times as fast, but
whatever works for you.


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JP Vossen wrote:
> Part 1 of 2.
> Sorry about the off-list reply, the Dell list is more-or-less 
> unadministered, and for some reason it blocks me and I can't get it 
> fixed.
> Anyway, I recently went through some of this.
> First of all:
> * $26 (was $21) 2G RAM  =
> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820134513
> * $53 (was $47) 16G SSD
> http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820609413&Tpk=FEM16GHDL 
> NOTE: Mini-9 has a half height mini-PCI-e slot, some cheaper full-size
> SSD's wont fit.  Watch out!
> Second, people tend to give command line answers because it's a heck 
> of a lot easier to say, "go type 'foo'" than to describe what to do in 
> the GUI (Graphical User Interface).  Also, the CLI (Command Line 
> Interface), is more powerful and flexible.  You can also easily write 
> scripts to automate command line things, which turns out to be 
> insanely handy when you get the hang of it.  (See 
> http://bashcookbook.com/)
> Third, if you are going to get new hardware, you need to decide if you 
> will try to move your existing install over, or just do a fresh one.  
> I got the new hardware above and did a fresh install, described here:
> http://lists.netisland.net/archives/plug/plug-2009-04/msg00068.html
> So forth, in the mean time, or if you don't want to get new hardware, 
> you can try removing packages (programs) you don't want.  I list a 
> bunch in the URL right above.  Specifically (from the command line):
> $ sudo aptitude purge evolution evolution-common evolution-exchange
> evolution-indicator evolution-plugins evolution-webcal hpijs hplip
> hplip-data foomatic-db-hpijs brasero cdparanoia ekiga kalgebra kanagram
> khangman kmplot kolf ktouch kworldclock lmarbles wvdial tracker
> tracker-search-tool tracker-utils
> 'aptitude' is the newer and recommended tool, but lots of people 
> forget that or are still stuck on 'apt-get'.  Using only aptitude (not 
> apt-get) is recommended.  But, confusingly, there are lots of other 
> apt commands.  Keep reading... :-)
> Now, the first catch with the above command is, *you* may want some of 
> the stuff that I don't.  Like 'tracker' (think Google Desktop Search), 
> or the HP Inkjet drivers.
> The second catch is, "apt" (Debian's "Advanced Package Tool, which is 
> what we're talking about and using here) is very clever, and it allows 
> you to define what depends on what.  It also allows for "meta 
> packages" which have nothing in them but dependencies on other 
> things.  The "Ubuntu-desktop" is one such.  It lets you install a ton 
> of packages with a simple command.  The flip side is, if you try to 
> remove something that "Ubuntu-desktop" depends on, it will offer to 
> remove "Ubuntu-desktop" too.  DON'T DO THAT, you won't like it.
> So it can be tricky to a) figure out what you don't want and then b) 
> remove it without messing anything else up.  The good news is that it 
> will tell you about it, and even if you screw up it's usually possible 
> to recover from a mistake (unlike with Windows, where you usually have 
> to reinstall).  Note I said possible, not trivial or easy.  :-)
> To see what is installed:
>     $ dpkg-query --show | less
> 'less' is a pager, like 'more'.  Hit q to exit.
> Pick out things that look like you don't need them, and one at a time, 
> get info about the package:
>     $ apt-cache show somepackage
> Then if you think you don't need it:
>     $ aptitude remove somepackage
> --or--
>     $ aptitude purge somepackage
> If it tells you it is also going to remove something that looks 
> important (like Ubuntu-desktop), cancel and move on.
> The difference between 'remove' and 'purge' is that purge will also 
> remove config files, while remove won't.  Thus remove is a bit safer, 
> but won't clean up as much disk space and leaves left-over "cruft" 
> laying around.
> http://www.jpsdomain.org/linux/apt.html is my cheat sheet for "apt" 
> commands
> If you have kids, read: http://www.jpsdomain.org/linux/edutainment.html
> _Ubuntu Hacks_ is a great user book, though it's getting a little old 
> by now.  There are lots of other great Linux server books, but that is 
> probably out of scope.
> Finally, my next message has some additional info you might find 
> useful.  And if you want to edit these (if necessary) and forward to 
> the Dell list I wouldn't mind.
> Good luck,
> JP
> ----------------------------|:::======|-------------------------------
> JP Vossen, CISSP            |:::======|      http://bashcookbook.com/
> My Account, My Opinions     |=========|      http://www.jpsdomain.org/
> ----------------------------|=========|-------------------------------
> "Microsoft Tax" = the additional hardware & yearly fees for the add-on
> software required to protect Windows from its own poorly designed and
> implemented self, while the overhead incidentally flattens Moore's Law.

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