Advice on recreating my system after reinstall

After posting about doing something dumb, it was recommended that I do a fresh install.

So I would like to ask the community for some advice on the easiest way to recreate my system to the greatest extent possible with the least amount of work. Here’s what I’m looking to maintain at a minimum:
I still gave access to the system, so I can backup anything I need to

  • My home directory
  • As many config files as possible
  • My installed applications
    • Here’s the kicker. I want to find a way to create an easy install script so that I don’t have to install all of my apps individually

Anything else you would backup if you were me?

Pacman -Qmwill list installed AUR packages.

You could essentially download a list of all installed packages using below

pacman -Qqen > pkglist.txt
pacman -Qe | awk '{print $1}' > package_list.txt Includes aur packages

To install pacman -S - < pkglist.txt --needed

pacman -Q > packages.txt List all packages with version number

Also, if you have a separate home partition and you name the user with the same name as it was on the borked install, you will keep all your configs, but themes will be broken. Just redownload them.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just do this?

pacman -Qqe > mypackages

Then after install

yay --needed -Syu - < mypackages

That way you can get them all at once.


I would take a back up /home and /etc. Don’t restore /etc, just keep it for reference if you need it.


Thanks everyone for the help, and sorry for the late reply. My kid “guilted” me into playing Minecraft with him. Lol

Do you mean if I already have a separate home partition? I saw this come up a few times while I was researching this. Is this something you would recommend for every install? I’m assuming it wouldn’t be possible to partition it now, since I can’t access sudo. I do have access to the Windows partition, though. Maybe I could accomplish it through that somehow?

There is at least one config file in /etc that I’ll need to reference, so thanks for the reminder.

Do you mean if I already have a separate home partition?


I’m assuming it wouldn’t be possible to partition it now, since I can’t access sudo.

GParted Live ISO?

System files will be replaced obviously, but if your /home is on a separate partition, and the username you put in the installer is there, all your stuff will remain, but you will have fresh system files. This means that your theming setup will obviously go back to the default, but you can just redownload and reset the theme.

If you mean the GTK themeing, I haven’t really gotten around to messing with that yet anyways, so that’s no big deal.

I did realize another big issue though. I don’t know how to mount a usb flash drive to backup all of these files without sudo or without access to a GUI file manager. Let alone copy etc as @dalto suggested. Any suggestions?

Boot off the ISO and then mount both devices from that environment.

Yeah I’m doing that now. Sorry, it dawned on me after I posted that. Should have corrected myself immediately. You’re too quick though :wink:

I did notice something quite large in the ~/.cache directory called mesa_shader_cache, which has something to do with Linux gaming. Can I just exclude the ~/.cache directory entirely since it’ll just be repopulated when I reinstall my applications? Or maybe just exclude those, since I don’t intend on reinstalling Steam right away, as gaming is less important to me than other tasks.


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Everything is back up and running for the most part. Definitely going to require some tinkering, but nothing I haven’t had to deal with before. Just wanted to thank you all again for your help.

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