What do I back-up if I want to change DE?

My Manjaro XFCE (on Thinkpad T495) has been facing serious boot issues (not being able to launch the lightdm greeter, having to reboot several times before it kicks in) and I’ve been thinking about doing a reinstall and using this opportunity to switch to GNOME. Since I’m changing DEs, what tools should I use for backups and how would I go about it? Would Timeshift restore XFCE, for instance? I want to be able to save some app config and not just the files, if possible.

All your user configuration is in your home folder.
Timeshift is recommended for system backup – as the default settings use – so it does not include your home folder. You can check other backup tools, or simply copy your home folder on another drive.
Another usual practice is to have a dedicated partition for /home, so that you can freely reinstall/change your system partition without affecting your configuration.

Hi @krzys,

Do you have a separate /home partition ? If so, you can simply reinstall Manjaro and choose to preserve your /home in the partitioner during install.

However, you may have conflicts with configuration files… You can check Profiles & Settings / manjaro-gnome-settings · GitLab. You will have to override some files under /home/$USER/ with the one provided under /etc/skel/.

Thanks to both of you! I do not have a separate /home partition, so if I either copy /home or use one of the programs linked above and then install Manjaro GNOME, would that be it? How will I know which files to overwrite–will the Profiles&Settings utility tell me? Is there anything in particular I should delete from /home that pertains just to the xfce config?

Configuration specific to Xfce won’t be a problem. Rather, what would mingle is the GTK configuration:


And also, likely the MIME associations that would keep on pointing Xfce applications:


NB: I base this on the configuration i have locally. But having switched DEs several times over the years, all might not be relevant.

Thanks! I’ll just delete those from the copy before I reinstall–it’s ok if I have to reset MIME associations again