{I believe this was asked 11 years ago, and every answer missed the point by fixating on the idea of CLONING an entire image from a smaller capacity SD card to a larger/faster one... NOT what I'm after, to wit: }

What besides /home/(username) has to be copied/merged from one bootable (micro) SD card to another, in order to preserve/have-at-hand all of your templates, downloads, passwords, browser preferences, bookmarks, scripts, etc.???

IOW, I emphatically do NOT want to clone the entire contents (or OS binary) from one card to another, in fact I may want an entirely different linux distro on the next SD card, but I DO (of course) want all of my SETTINGS and personal goodies to "make the jump"...

IOW, I do NOT want to have the new-out-of-the-box initial-setup-and-reboot experience (as admirably streamlined as that has become), just because I decided to change the OS version from 32- to 64-bit... i.e. I still want my browser to resume with all the tabs I had opened, all the bookmarks, all my saved images, permissions, etc... but a lot of those things do NOT live under /home...

Hopefully that clarifies, and not muddies things... thanks in advance.

  • a lot of those things do NOT live under /home ... such as? Commented May 19, 2023 at 4:01
  • Such as BROWSER settings/preferences/etc... let's start there, and that'll probably make my light bulb come on for all the related "goodies"... apologies, been away from Unix/linux for 10+ years... rusty...
    – Bear Metal
    Commented May 19, 2023 at 4:07
  • browser settings/preferences are in /home/(username) e.g. chromium in .config/chromium and firefox in .mozilla/firefox/(profile) - I can't think of any user settings that would be held outside of their home folder to be honest Commented May 19, 2023 at 4:12
  • Would that be under my old friend, /etc...? It's coming back to me... how about the PiOS Desktop File Manager preferences, where they be hiding?
    – Bear Metal
    Commented May 19, 2023 at 4:17
  • OK, I got it... ditching the GUI, back to cmd-line geeking... ls -a is a LOT more useful than cartoons of manilla folders, lol... THANKS MUCH!
    – Bear Metal
    Commented May 19, 2023 at 4:36

1 Answer 1


You really need to specify EXACTLY what you want to transfer as there is no general procedure.

MOST user configurations are in hidden directories under ~/.config

When installing a new OS I copy the entire $HOME directory, but even then there are differences which need to be handled on a case by case basis.

Network settings, host keys etc. are not generally stored under $HOME.

Transferring between OS is not generally possible, even between releases of the same OS e.g. Buster to Bullseye. This is even more difficult between different OS or 32 to 64 bit.

I have a set of rules which enables me to transfer everything (which is compatible) from one release to a new in a few hours, but there are always new settings which need custom setup.

Most decent browsers (not Chromium) have a sync option, which enables transfer even between different machines.

  • Thanks for the insights... eventually I'll find that 3.5" floppy with all my useful bash scripts on it... durn, did I just date myself? ;') Just picked up a Verbatim Vx500 240GB SSD for only $25, very sleek and tiny form factor... eventually I'll be booting Ye Olde Pi from that, even multiple boot partitions...
    – Bear Metal
    Commented May 19, 2023 at 5:04
  • PS: is Firefox too heavy/slow for Pi-400 overclocked to 2.2GHz?
    – Bear Metal
    Commented May 19, 2023 at 5:07
  • DO NOT ask new questions in Comments. I haven't used Firefox in years since they broke extensions.
    – Milliways
    Commented May 19, 2023 at 5:43
  • ... aaaaand the answer IS: rsync -ra ... does a nice "merge"... ;')
    – Bear Metal
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 4:49

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