The 2021 Linux laptop rebuild

CentOS Stream 8 — a controversial yet boring Linux — would be my new operating system After holding up due to indecision, I went ahead with the Linux laptop rebuild. I decided to give CentOS Stream 8 a try. It’s a “hot” Linux distro. But for all the wrong reasons. I can say now that it’s technically excellent, with the extremely notable exception of an error in the Boot ISO (yes, I filed a bug) that makes it impossible to proceed before figuring out and manually entering a URL for a working mirror and then a regression in Mutter that killed Files/Nautilus for a day or so until I figured out a workaround.
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Pausing the Linux rebuild

I was all ready to crack open the HP Envy 15 laptop this afternoon, pull the 250 GB NVMe M.2 SSD and replace it with a 1 TB model. While in there, I planned to replace the battery, which has a dead cell. But I decided to press “pause.” I started running Linux on this particular laptop in 2019 (??) with Debian Stable (then Buster), replacing it with Testing (Bullseye) maybe a couple of months ago.
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Backups in Linux: I keep it simple

The next step in putting a new hard drive into my laptop is to make a full backup of the /home files. I haven’t done a full-image Clonezilla-style backup in a long, long time, and I do recommend it it you have a spare drive and a lot of spare time. Instead I just back up my user files. I have two working Linux computers right now, and if I need to rebuild one, I can do a reinstall and get my preferred applications set up fairly quickly.
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Reinstalling a Linux computer system: Step by step

I’m about to put a new hard drive and battery in my main laptop, a 2017 HP Envy 15. Whenever I make a change like this, I like to be ready with backups, Linux install images on USB drives and whatever tools and parts I might need. I’m not as worried about running into problems because I now have a very decent second computer — the 2011 27-inch iMac running Debian Buster — if the laptop isn’t ready right away, I’ll still be able to work.
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The new Debian Bullseye desktop background just moved onto systems

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