I'm switching to a new laptop, but don't want to have to install Archlinux again. So instead of re-installing I will try to copy all files and hope the system will work. In this blogpost I will describe the steps and issues I encountered while doing so.

Status: Succeeded!!!!

Summary of the plan: Boot from a live usb on the new system, create partitions with gparted, copy all the files over, change /etc/fstab to partition uuids, regenerate the mkinitcpio stuff (Still should read what this actually is).

On the new laptop following steps should be done:

  1. Boot from a Ubuntu live cd and start gparted
  2. Create a / partition (ext4)
  3. Create a /home parition (ext4)
  4. Create a /boot partition (ext2)
  5. Mount the newly created partitions under /mnt/
  6. Copy all files of the old laptop / /home to new laptop /mnt/ /mnt/home using rsync
  7. Chroot into the copied files on the new laptop
  8. Change the /etc/fstab to point to the new partition UUIDs
  9. Install grub on new harddrive and reconfigure Grub
  10. Recreate the ramdisk

Environment:

Old Laptop:
Archlinux 64 bits, 8GB memory, AMD CPU and ATI card
IP: 192.168.1.108
Connected to router via internet cable, WIFI was way too slow to copy files

New laptop: Intel CPU and nvidia video card
IP: 192.168.1.111

Detailed steps:

Boot from a live ubuntu USB on the new laptop and do the following:

  1. Use gparted or fdisk to create the following partitions: /dev/sda1 filesystem: ext2 size: 512mb label: boot (100mb is needed, but had enough space will become /boot) /dev/sda2 filesystem: ext4 size: 30gb label: root(will become root /) /dev/sda3 filesystem: ext4 size: 180gb label: home(will become home /home)

  2. After you have created the partitions successfully, mount all partitions to /mnt

    mount /dev/sda2 /mnt
    mkdir /mnt/boot
    mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/boot
    mkdir /mnt/home
    mount /dev/sda3 /mnt/home
    
  3. Now go back to the old Archlinux laptop and copy all files to the newly created partitions:

    rsync -azv --progress --exclude=/dev --exclude=/sys / root@192.168.1.111:/mnt/
    

    This may take a while..................

  4. After everything is copied over to the new laptop, we will have to change /etc/fstab to look as follows:

    tmpfs /tmp tmpfs nodev,nosuid 0 0
    LABEL=root / ext4 defaults,noatime 0 1
    LABEL=home /home ext4 defaults,noatime 0 2
    LABEL=boot /boot ext2 defaults,noatime 0 2
    
  5. Then reinstall Grub on the hard drive:
    grub-install --force --target=i386-pc --recheck --debug /dev/sda

    Why the --force? I encountered the following error: will not proceed with blocklists archlinux so after reading the wiki it said I could fix this by using --force.

  6. Regenerate grub config:
    grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

  7. Regenerate initial ramdisk:
    mkinitcpio -p linux

  8. Reboot the system

I also had to update my modules.d/xxx to not load some specific AMD modules for laptop-mode tools as the new laptop has an intel processor. Also has to remove the ati driver and change to intel open source driver:

yaourt -Rs xf86-video-ati
yaourt -S xf86-video-nouveau

The reason I am switching: My current HP 625 laptop has served its purpose for nearly 2 years. The CPU seems to be nearly burnt out, when I opened the laptop few days ago, the CPU was totally black, but still working.

References I used: Archlinux wiki: Migrate installation to new hardware https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Migrate_installation_to_new_hardware Forum post which basically does the same thing https://bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?id=145025


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