MX desktop & panel settings lost when reusing /home

m_pav's picture


  • MX-14


  • Bug


  • Closed

Reason For Closing: 

  • Fixed


  • Normal

Additional Information: 

Installing MX-14 onto a system with /home on a separate partition or drive and selecting the same login name as an existing account (re-using the name) causes loss of all MX theme and panel customisations. On first run, the user is asked if they want an empty or default panel.
I have gone to great lengths to test and verify this, even to the point of ensuring all config folders and files that match those in MX-14's /etc/skel are removed from the old login account before installing and still get the same result. Furthermore, I removed everything but the users Desktop, Documents, Downloads, Music and Videos folders and I still get the same result, a basic desktop with no MX theme or customisations and 2 panels. I have confirmed this by repeating this same process on 3 entirely different machines, each one with a totally different version of Linux than the first and each time, I backed up the users config and killed everything but the data folders. This happens only when re-using a login name, not when using a different login name while saving /home.
I have tried with Beta2 and the final CD, and both via Live-USB, plus my own remastered version, all exhibit the same issue and I always check the md5sums to make sure I have a good download and good media first.


MX desktop & panel settings lost when reusing /home

dolphin_oracle's picture


Do data files (like pics and music) get lost too?

If I recall some forum posts correctly, the installer actually renames the demo account to whatever user account you specify at the end of the installation. Something is obviously screwy in whatever sync process goes on between the existing /home and the new user /home.

I don't get this, at least in


I don't get this, at least in testing in VirtualBox, but I may be misunderstanding what you did.

I installed MX-14 to VB choosing root on sda1 and /home on sda3. username was qwe.
Reboot, mess around with panel by adding some new items, removing others. Added some files etc.

Installed MX-14 to VB, root on sda1 and home on sda3. Used preserve home option. When it came to setting up username, I chose qwe (and the same password). I was then prompted to keep old settings since qwe already existed. I replied yes. I reboot to a desktop with the changes I had made and the files I added in place.

Starting with a different DE, that fault persists

m_pav's picture


Example, my file server running antiX had a major lockup yesterday, my 15GB / partition ran out of space with the log files growing to 11.6GB, so I thought, what the heck, put MX on it, this was my third machine that I found the same issue on where /home is on a different partition and I elected to save it, for very good reasons, given it had all my work backups etc on it.

First install, choose to re-use home and re-use the existing login name. The installer asked if I'd like to re-use the michael folder to which I replied yes. On first login, no MX user settings, blank canvas so to speak but all other files and folders intact. Reboot with Live-CD copy over files from /etc/skel to my home folder, reboot, no change. Repeat, but this time remove all config files of every sort as none of them were really needed, re-copy /etc/skel to my home, reboot and only a few items changed, such as the right click menu in Thunar had the actions in it this time but still no MX customisations, 2 panels and no customisations. I have set up the panel manually, but there remains the other things like theme colours etc and the simple menu auto-focus when moving the mouse down the category list from the MX menu is not happening, I have to click on the categories to view the contents.

My first experience with this was from a system running KDE, my second was from a system running Mint MATE and my third was from antiX, all different DE, all the same result, no MX polish :(

So you are talking about


So you are talking about different OS and different de/wm from MX-14. No wonder it didn't work.
If you use the same username for /home from another de/wm, of course it will use the config files from that de/wm because you are prompted with that question.

What you should do is save all your /home config files to a stick/cd or whatever and overwrite the old /home. Once installed, just copy back your customised /home changes.

OK, so do other distros do this differently? For example does installing Mint MATE (since you mention it) and saving MX-14 home work?

That is why I removed ALL of the user configs....

m_pav's picture


The issue still prevails when I remove ALL the configs and re-install or re-copy the contents of /etc/skel into the user folder, so theoretically, having no configs should ensure no faults, but it hasn't on the 3 computers I have worked on, henceforth, I am reporting what I believe to be a bug. I have already stated twice in my earlier posts that removing the configs is one of the steps I tried, and that includes doing a fresh install with NO configs remaining in the users folder before running the installer and re-using the existing folder.

For my file server, I ended up taking my backup drive which I maintain with LuckyBackup from my own laptop and copying the configs from that to the installed system using a live-USB and it works, but it hasn't worked when I take it from the /etc/skel of the various Live-Media I have tried, even though the downloads and the created media all check out as perfect.

The Mepis installer should be overwriting the contents of the .config and .local folders when the user chooses to re-use their home folder, but from what I have seen, it either doesn't, or it doesn't do it very well. The files are there, but for some reason, they just didn't work for me.

4-5 years back, with KDE3 I recall doing the same thing and the Mepis installer did what I described above, it overwrote the configs particular to its setup and left all the other ones not included in the /etc/skel of the live-media untouched, so the DE worked just fine.

If I see it again, I will take a snapshot of the resultant files and run a diff against a fresh install to see what/if there is any difference. I thought about it last night, but it was already past midnight as I was on my third reinstall and I needed to get some shuteye.

Please test this out with


Please test this out with another OS to see if and how they do it. ie install MX then install Mint MATE and save user home. Just to test if it works,

Ok, try this (I do appreciate


Ok, try this (I do appreciate the feedback even though I feel it is not a bug, but an issue or request).

When installing, choose preserve home option at screen 3.
At screen 8 after using the same user name, at the first popup answer No and the next one yes.

If that works, then the issue is one of improving the prompt instructions,

Amicable work-around

m_pav's picture


I used the login as owner. your suggestion above simply renames the original owner folder and creates a new folder, which enables the installer to be set up with its own defaults, however, I would have thought the installer should be asking the user if they would like to use the new configs or leave them as they are. I can see points both for an against the options, but maybe the user should be given the option when they choose to re-use their home folder because if a user is intending to re-use their home folder then it's most likely they will be desiring to have the MX customisations.

We added the code to copy


We added the code to copy (but not overwrite) the config files from /etc/skel when preserving home.