Downgrading Ubuntu 10.10 to 10.04

There’s just been more and more stuff that simply didn’t work on 10.10 with the last straw being VirtualBox which I’m going to need in a couple of weeks.

So time to work out how to downgrade. The easy way is to backup everything, install 10.04 and restore everything which is what I did on the baby computer a month or two back. Well, I say easy but it takes me a couple of hours to do the backup on the main computer, another couple of hours to restore and then there’s all the software to install and configure.

The backup is a “good thing” so if nothing else it forced me to prepare a full backup which I’m not as diligent with as I should be. The reinstallation and configuration I can’t avoid. Which leaves the hassle of restoring the thing so I had a look around to see how to avoid that.

It turns out that there’s a feature that’s been in Ubuntu for a while now that allows you to install over the top of another version (newer or older) though you need to have a think about what you’re doing as you go rather than just clicking on everything. Well, in theory the feature is there but in practice it doesn’t work for everyone (more testing required I think) and didn’t for me. Worth trying though as it only takes about 10 minutes: just install as normal to the point where it asks about partitioning then select manual partitioning, select what was your old root file system and set the properties (don’t click the “format” box!) and that’s it. Takes a little longer than a normal install as it needs to delete conflicting system files (but apparently doesn’t do this entirely correctly).

Anyway, ’tis off to reinstall and reconfigure everything. First up being the annoying window control boxes on the left which is fixed as follows:

  1. alt+F2
  2. gconf-editor
  3. Go to apps->metacity->general and change the button layout to: “menu:minimize,maximize,close”
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