Help installing on btrfs

Hi, I’m planning to install EndeavourOS with KDE on a btrfs file system using this guide (without encryption, as I don’t really need it).

I’m moving from Manjaro KDE and would like to keep my /home. It’s on a separate ext4 partition, so in the past I just mounted it there without formatting and that was it. But since I’m moving to btrfs, and now /home is located in the @home subvolume, it’s not possible to simply do that.

I have an external HDD to use for the backup, but not sure how to go about it. Is a backup using rsync enough? I’m a little worried about that because it’s my /home so there will be constant changes in it during the backup. Is something snapshot based better?

So, what I’m asking is how to go about backing up my current /home partition so that I can restore it into the @home subvolume after my install?

You can if you want to. If you tell the installer about your /home volume, it won’t create @home.

Just be extra careful to not check the format checkbox.

Yes, as long as you use the right flags. I will update this post with them in a minute.

Here you go

sudo rsync -aAXHv /home/ /new/location/for/files

You would have the same problem either way. That being said, it shouldn’t be a major problem. However, if you want to be extra cautious you could boot off the live ISO and copy the data from there so it wouldn’t be in use.


Would it be a good idea to simply mount it like that, given it’s a different filesystem? Although I realize that the benefits of using btrfs (i.e. no-cost snapshots mainly) is not really important for /home, I’m not confident if using separate filesystems is a good idea. I think I’ll end up using rsync backup.

There is no problem doing so but also no good reason to do so from my perspective. I actually think snapshots of /home are quite useful. It is great when you accidentally delete or overwrite a file.

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Understood. One last thing, would it be possible to reinstall the system while keeping the @home subvolume intact like I could do with a separate /home partition? I tried searching online but couldn’t find a definitive answer.

Hmm…I never tried that. It would be interesting to test that in a VM and see what happens. It will try to create the subvolume but that should fail. As long as the installer keeps going, it won’t be a problem. If it crashes the install, that would be a problem.

However, it would almost definitely work if you renamed @home before the install and then renamed it back afterwards.

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Alright, I think I’ll try making the backup using rsync from the installation ISO. I’ll add the -l flag though, as I want my symlinks to be copied as symlinks. I’ll post an update here after I’m done.

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