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Moving Applications When You Upgrade Your Computer

Updated: 18-Nov-2007

When you make the decision to convert from Windows to Linux, (or even when you simply purchase a new computer) wouldn't it be nice to be able to simply move all the applications you use, including such things as saved preferences, bookmarks, saved and sent e-mails, themes, extensions, custom spellings, etc.? When you move from one Linux computer to another, it is extremely easy. Just copy everything that is in your user's home directory to the corresponding home directory on the new computer. Unlike Windows, Linux stores most settings and preferences for your installed applications in your home directory. Make sure to copy ALL of the files and folders, even the hidden ones. Many of the application preferences are stored in those hidden folders. Once you install the applications that didn't come pre-installed with your Linux distribution, everything will just work the way that it did before.

When moving from Windows, you might not be able to do this with every application, but if you are using open source applications such as Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, on your Windows PC, you can even move those saved application settings and preferences to your Linux PC with ease!

Thunderbird Mail

Use these instructions to move all of your saved mail settings, saved and sent mail, local folders, themes, extensions, etc. for Mozilla Thunderbird, between your old computer and the new one--even if the old computer runs Windows and the new one runs Linux. The directory you want to move is the directory that contains your Thunderbird profile. To locate your Thunderbird directory (folder) look in these paths.

On a Linux computer, the path to your hidden Thunderbird directory is usually one of these, depending on your distribution:
    "~/.thunderbird/"
    "~/.mozilla-thunderbird/"
Note that Linux recognizes the character "~" as shorthand for your home directory. Also, directories that begin with a dot (period) are normally hidden directories.

Thunderbird directory - Linux

If you are moving from Windows XP or 2000, the path is usually:
    "C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles"

Thunderbird Directory - Windows XP

If you are moving from Windows 95, 98 or Me, the path is usually:
    "C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles"

Copy the entire contents of Thunderbird directory/folder from the old computer into the appropriate location on the new one. When you open Thunderbird on the new computer, you will see everything as it was on the old computer.

Firefox Web Browser

You can use these instructions to move all of your saved browser settings, plugins, themes, extensions, etc. for Mozilla Firefox, between your old computer and the new one, again regardless of operating system. The directory you want to move is your Mozilla directory. To locate your Mozilla directory (folder) look in these paths.

On a Linux computer, the path to your hidden Mozilla folder is usually:
    "~/.mozilla",
As above, Linux recognizes the character "~" as shorthand for your home directory and directories that begin with a dot (period) are normally hidden directories.

If you are moving from Windows XP or 2000, the path is usually:
    "C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application\Data\Mozilla\"

If you are moving from Windows 95, 98 or Me, the path is usually:
    "C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\Mozilla\"

Copy the entire contents of the Mozilla directory/folder from the old computer into the appropriate location on the new one. When you open Firefox on the new computer, you will see everything as it was on the old computer.

OpenOffice Office Suite

Use these instructions to move all of your saved preferences, document templates, etc. for OpenOffice 2.0, between one computer and another, whether they are running Windows or Linux. The directory you want to move is a hidden OpenOffice.org2 directory. To locate the directory (folder) look in these paths.

On a Linux computer, the path to your hidden OpenOffice directory is usually something like one of these, depending on your distribution:
    "~/.openoffice.org2/"
    "~/.ooo-2.0/"
Remember that Linux recognizes the character "~" as shorthand for your home directory. As before, Linux directories that begin with a dot (period) are normally hidden.

OpenOffice Directory - Linux

If you are moving from Windows XP or 2000, the path is usually:
    "C:\Documents and Settings\[User Name]\Application Data\OpenOffice.org2\"

OpenOffice Directory - Windows XP

If you are moving from Windows 95, 98 or Me, the path is usually:     "C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\OpenOffice.org2\"

Copy the entire contents of the OpenOffice directory/folder from the old computer into the appropriate location on the new one. When you open an OpenOffice application on the new computer, you will see everything as it was on the old computer.

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