Copying system settings and apps using command line

I have several computers all running Mint. However, I have only one that is set up with all of the applications and settings the way I want them. Can the command line in Terminal be used to copy all of those apps and settings to a USB and then applied to the other computers via Terminal? Or does the first computer need to be cloned?

Hey @MattS!

Someone else probably has a better answer for this, but one thing you could do is copy the “Home” folder to a USB and replace the “Home” folder on the other machine. Though, my Learning-Linux mind is telling me that there might be something extra to do in the CLI in order to tell Linux that the “cloned” folder is the one you want to use. I personally do not know what that might be.

Hey @MattS!
It would all depend on how much customization you’ve done. Especially since you have multiple applications installed, I would recommend hard drive cloning. Of course you can copy the general settings, but it will not transfer the apps themselves, nor will it update the package databases without hitting at least a few snags.

The best way is to prep one system as you want it (which you have done). Then have an external drive available with the same or bigger capacity than your Linux Mint system. Boot that system from USB (so that you don’t encounter the ‘mount lock’) and run Disks on the live version of your Linux. Then select the drive and on the top three dots/lines of the Disks app window, select to “Create Image” of the drive and select your external drive.

Then you can boot the other systems via your USB again and then run Disks again. This time you will select Restore Image, select the image from your external drive and select it to be written to your new Linux Mint’s drive. That way, everything will be transferred, sector by sector. This works great when your systems are hardware-identical.

Hey Matt! I’m fairly new to Linux too so I have many of the same questions as most newbies here. I wanted to backup my system files and found the following two options:

  1. Timeshift - lets you backup your system, including your grub config and installed packages. Use an external drive to back it up into. I believe Timeshift also allows you to restore the backup to a different drive but I’m not certain of that.

  2. Restorezilla - makes an image copy of your system or drive which you can transfer to another drive in a different computer.

The one thing to keep in mind however, is that if you’re transferring your system to a different computer then you want to make sure that both computers have similar hardware configurations since you will be transferring device drivers and such, which are part of your system files.

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