Keep qubes in case of reinstall Qubes

As I’m a mess, i keep reinstalling OS for xyz reason, either I mess up with the settings, or I installed the wrong patch, etc …
I’m wondering how it would go with Qubes ?
If I F-U the main Qubes OS, will my 9 qubes remains ?

Take as an exemple the /home in any “normal” distro, when you reinstall said distro, you mount /home (on a different partition of course) as-is et voila ! Fresh install yet keep /home as it was.
Would that work with Qubes ?
How does this work ?
What do I have to do to make sure all my data remains after reinstalling Qubes ?

Any hint anyone ?
All I’m asking is:
Like one can keep /home after reinstalling the OS, I’m windering if one can keep the differents qubes after reinstalling Qubes ?
If not standard, then what do I have to do to achieve that ? Creating partitions for each so I just have to attache them to the newly installed Qubes so it access it again ?

It’s not supported out of the box.
It could be possible to do, but it won’t be easy and you need skills to do it.
If you don’t have the required skills then use the provided Qubes Backup tool to create the backup of your qubes that could be restored in the freshly installed system when the need arises.

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Right, but not impossible … good !
My “problem” with B/U is that I have 4,5To and I don’t wNt all that data to be multiplied on different mediums …

I typically only backup the AppVMs and templates I want to persist between installs. If you have 4.5 TB that is 100% retention worthy then you are very much painted into a corner. That’s a lot of data and I’ve seen the Qubes Backup freeze backing up even 500+ GB. So if you do decide to backup using the backup manager, my recommendation is to batch it in chunks.

For my part, I just have a secure portable drive that I back up to on the occasion and use a Veracrypt container for sensitive documents and files. Everyone is different but perhaps you can find some common ground there.

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I do have 4,5To, but I don’t need to save all those 4,5To
What I want, or rather what I dont want is to have to reinstall everything everytime I messup, like … once or twice a week ?
Having to reinstall Qubes (and all the setup) is painful enough, but having to reinstall each of the 18-20 qubes (5-6 OS) is even more of a pain.
So I would like to minimize it to just reinstalling the main Qubes, and re-attache each untouched qubes and start again from here as if I nothing.
NB: Since I’ve not been able to use (properly) Qubes until now, maybe I’m overkilling it, maybe Qubes is not breakable and I will not have to reinstall it, but knowing my shitty level (I know how to open Komander, and type cd, cd … ls, exit, or dir in dos) so you see, when it comes to repair an OS, I know I don’t stand a chance, hence me reinstalling every OS I play with every now and then.
Actually, Win (since Win3.1) is so far the only one I’ve been messing up so often that now I kinda know how to fix without reinstalling it too often.
So … no backup, just finding a way to separate the permanent from the reinstallable
or am I too dillusionale ?

You will very likely need to reinstall Qubes from time to time. Mais c’est pas grave. If you decide to use the Qubes Backup Manager (from the menu go to Qubes Tools → Backup Qubes). In XFCE, one will find it under the gear icon.

A new window will pop up with two columns. One says Available and the other Selected. By default, everything is selected. I usually just hit << to put everything back and then select the appropriate AppVMs and their associated templates. I move them over with the > button. Once satisfied, I hit Next to get to the next screen.

Here, we are concerned with the storage the backups go to. By default, it defaults to dom0. I prefer to attach my storage to an AppVM so I will speak to that. I attach my portable storage to the AppVM using the usual means. I navigate to the folder in the USB storage that I am backing up to. I set my encryption password.

I hit next and get the summary. And from there it’s off the races. For me, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. On average, I back up 650+ GB and it takes me 8+ hours. Your mileage may vary.

There is more information here: How to back up, restore, and migrate | Qubes OS

Breaking Qubes as part of your learning process is normal and healthy. And it’s very encouraging that you embrace that. I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes. I imagine you will too.

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hum …
Excuse me for insistig …

I don’t want to BU my data, and then having to reinstall everything, Qubes-OS, then every single qubes (5-6 OS, 3-5 qubes each) and only then retrieve my data from BU

I just don’t want to do the reinstallation of each.
I’m good with reinstalling the Qubes-OS itself, as you say, it’s part of the learning process

If you confirm that the BU does not only the inside data, but the qubes themeselves too, then yes, I’M good with it !

Otherwise, I’ll keep looking for a practical solution

my install (still a wish) so far is:

  • NVMe0 = Grube2 /boot + /boot/efi for Suse and Win10

  • Suse 40Go; 8Go /var 16Go /swap 16Go /tmp 20Go /home

  • Win10 300Go; 16Go /swap, 16Go /tmp 20Go MyDoc

  • Qubes-OS 80Go LVM3 (16Go /var 32Go Swap 32 Go /tmp)

  • USBstick 2Go Grube2 /boot /boot/efi (for Win10; Suse; Qubes-OS) if the laptop starts without the key, it goes straight to the vanilla Grub, Qubes is not visible.

  • NVMe1 LVM1 128GO / (Qubes-OS; Debian + Fedora)

  • NVMe1+NVMe2 LVM2 1,9To qubes (qubes Suse; qubes WinXP; qubes Kali; qubes Tails; qubes XYZ)

  • I want/need that when I reinstall Qubes-OS, all the other qubes are still there.

Perhaps I was not clear. And I’m sorry if I was not. When you back up your AppVMs - all apps and data included in them are included.

Last weekend, to fix a problem, I needed to reinstall 4.2. I backed up using the process I described, I reinstalled, and then I restored from backup. It was like I was on the same computer after it was all said and done. It was not a lot of work but it was a lot of waiting.

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Don’t be, it’s more likely my brain that didn’t compute.
So if I make a BU as you suggest, either on my NAS or on my spare 6To expension disk, then i will “just” (not that simple to start with as I have a perso 8nstall) and then … there is an internal program that will reinstall (fron said BU) every single qubes (every 6 OS)
Then that is perfect-ish !

Exactement. Literally there’s a tool called, “Restore Backup” at the bottom of the Qubes Tools menu. That is what you will be looking for.

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Just one detail, to make sure … I don’t even have to mk 2 partitions, like one for Qubes-os and one for qubes (to be backed-up) right ? Just the normal “everything in one” install and then the backup application will “know” what to actually backup and restore … dui bu dui ?

Exacte. Just the one.