Write down manual changes of your system's configuration

  6 years ago

Who should do this

Newbies as well as advanced users.


Every now and then, you may have to change your system‘s configuration manually to make a certain software or hardware work. Doing so might solve one problem, but it also could cause new problems later. You might forget what you did a few weeks before: the system simply doesn‘t work anymore as you expect it. Finding such errors can be a long process or lead to a complete reinstallation of your Mint system.


Create a text file in your /home directory that holds all changes you made. Use a plain text editor, so you can read and edit the file from console. Don‘t use a word processor like Libre Office Writer, as you might be unable to use more than a simple text editor when you have problems with your system. Be sure to have a copy of your File on a USB stick as backup.


What should be in the file?

  • all changes to the system and installations you made without using the software manager, synaptic or apt-get
  • when did you change something
  • why did you change it
  • what did you change, step by step
  • the place where you saved backups of old (configuration) files
  • how your changes might take influence on other software, hardware or system stability
  • how you can reset the system to the state before you changed it
  • where you can find further information

Example Entry:


blacklisted kernel module for DVB-T USB stick RTL28xxU
created file /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-dvbstick.conf (module won't load anymore)

Reason: SDR software GQRX would not start because of a conflict with another hardware driver

might have influence on using TV and Radio software. DAB+ and DVB-T might not work

undo change by deleting file /etc/modprobe.de/blacklist-dvbstick.conf

infos on RTL28xx configuration in Mint: www.xxx.yyy. User xyz in #linuxmint-chat is experienced expert.



backup on USB stick added (idea: Hammer459)

MagicMint 6 years ago

I too consider this a true (and useful) tutorial. I’ve been keeping history files with all my projects since the beginnings, and that saved me a lot of work in hindsight. These files of mine log changes somewhat more concisely than yours with just one line per entry.

I’m also using a specific syntax for them which is automatically highlighted by a self-written extension of the vim editor, so that the log files are structured, and the time stamp of any new entry gets generated by a simple command ;-)

ratisbona 6 years ago

Thank you, Hammer459. Added your idea. You should always keep one version of your file in /users/xyz for three reasons: 1. If using a Laptop, Murphy's law says that your Laptop will die when you don't have your USB-Stick with you 2. Your system might not be able to read your USB stick in some situations 3. If you make regular backups of your data (as you should), your changelog file will be saved, while files on a stick are lost in case of errors.

Hammer459 6 years ago

One suggestion for improvement...
Instead /home save on a USB-stick or some such, in case you mess up real bad. We all are inevitably going to mess up some day :-)

lib2know 6 years ago

Hey :-) great tutorial!
I have those files on different machines, but never maintained them as complete and useful as your tutorial is. You pulled me a step ahead, thanks!

Hammer459 6 years ago

It is not really a tutorial per se... But it is very good advice and in lieu of better place to express this kind of good advice I think it serves good purpose.

ConorCork 6 years ago

This is useful tutorial advice. One question/suggestion: can you add an example say using default LM17 text editor gedit (A) how to create the text file (B)how save/edit it in /home/username/filename eg /jsmith/mysyschangelog.txt (C) how I would access this "mysyschangelog.txt" file using the terminal/console. Thank you.

ratisbona 6 years ago

remoulder: "A tutorial is a method of transferring knowledge and may be used as a part of a learning process. [...] a tutorial seeks to teach by example and supply the information to complete a certain task." (from: www.wikipedia.org)

I don't understand what you mean with your comment, nor do I know if you understood the idea of a "tutorial".

remoulder 6 years ago

This is not a tutorial, it is simply your opinion on how you choose to remember things. A tutorial is a set of instructions on how to perform a 'technical' task in linuxmint.