Upgrading my PC with new hardware, advice on "fresh" install vs. transfer old drive or files

Hello all,

As I get ready to update my system with a new MB, CPU and such, I’m looking for some advice on how best to proceed. Currently, my OS drive is an M.2 drive (1TB, PCIe 3.0 x4 NVME), but I have a PCIe 4.0 2TB M.2 drive I’m putting in my new MB.

Obviously, this drive is faster than my current drive, and I’m trying to decide if it makes more sense to use it as my OS drive and do a fresh Garuda install on it, or if it makes more sense to use it as my “data” drive and put my /home folder on it (keeping my current 1TB drive as my OS drive). Or, is there some other strategy I should be using?

Now, I’m not a Linux expert, but correct me if I’m wrong: all my installed software is NOT in my /home folder, so it makes sense to me to have my OS drive be the largest and fastest drive in my system, right? If so, then I should use the PCIe 4.0 drive.

If I do use that drive, is it better to just do a fresh install, or should I clone my old drive (I’m thinking the former is better). Cloning is probably easier, as a fresh install will mean I have to also reinstall all my other software too. Are my settings for all my software in my /home directory? What about Steam files - will I retain all my game settings and such in my Steam library?

I want to avoid having to “re-do” all my system settings and software settings, something I expect to have to do if I do a fresh install - advice? Obviously, I should backup my system before doing anything, but if I decide to do a fresh install on the new drive, my old drive is still intact to use if needed.

Any advice on these questions/concerns is greatly appreciated. I just want to say also, I recently (~1 yr ago) came back to Linux after about 7 years on Windows, and so far my experience with Garuda has been very very positive, despite my lack of Linux skills. Thanks to the Garuda team for putting this distro together - I’m very happy with my switch back.

With either drive I would not put my home on another drive, not with the space on either of those drives. Personally if you just use the system internet and email and aren’t a gamer, video editor, graphics designer I’d stick to the 1tb M.2 and use the 2tb for storage. Your 3rd paragraph makes no sense at all cause irregardless of drive used not all your data is going to be stored in your home folder. Personally I’d just do a fresh install since it really doesn’t take all that long to get back to where one was at before reinstalling.

Thanks for your reply.

I am inclined to have my /home folder on another drive for 2 reasons:

  1. it is isolated from the OS and other data (I have seen this recommended in other Linux forums before, but have never done it myself). Maybe this doesn’t matter or inconsequential, I don’t really know (you seem to indicate that in your reply), hence why I’m asking these questions.

  2. If I need to reinstall my system from scratch, or decide to use another distro (not that I plan to), having my /home folder on another drive (not the OS drive) makes that process easier. It also protects my /home folder from a drive crash, malware-infected OS, etc. - basically, it’s safer/more security from a variety of angles.

As I stated, I have a Steam library (so I do game), and I also have an extensive collection of videos and other data (all currently stored on multiple “regular” hard drives, soon to be in a separate NAS). I also use other applications beyond just web browsers.

Ideally, what I think the best general setup would look like is this:

  1. OS on a separate, fast drive
  2. all other applications on another drive
  3. personal data/files on another drive

In this way, everything is segregated/isolated. I feel this provides maximum flexibility and security. Now, do most OS’s work this way? I don’t think so, and I’m not sure that any OS can actually be set up that way 100%. And yes, I realize that setup requires 3 drives - that’s not a big deal to me - I already have like 6 drives in my system right now, with the smallest non-SSD drive being 3TB.

Actually sounds goo to me and should work great for you. The only thing I would change is move the drives you can outside your machine to a docking station that has it’s own power to save strain on the PC’s power supply.

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