Doing a Successful Fresh Nextcloud Install without Screwing Up Something Big

The premise of this tutorial is to get a nextcloud instant back up and running while throwin away all the user data and nextcloud customizations of your last install but while keeping all the file stuff for a new upload. In my case, we have a ‘small operation’ and it’s not a big deal to just do a completely fresh install and put the files back. It annoys a few people because they have to do a brand new big sync, but it’s workable and assures that the install is truly ‘fresh’. This might work for other small business and families so I figured I would just document the workflow since it’s helpful for me to not forget something or lose something.

1. Notify others to backup

This step is important because the other people might have put some personal files in their user account that may no longer be on their local machine. If you do this wipe, they might lose the only copy of the file. Notify them to download to their local machine every file they might want letting them know if they don’t, it will be wiped

2. Backing Up

If you are using a local client, this will be easy: just copy/paste contents of the sync folder onto a big hard drive. If you are using the online version, download the files to a local machine.

3. Notify Others to Clear out their Local Sync Folder

If there are others using the NC instance, tell them to clear out the drive they are using now. They can do this after they have confirmed the files are safe in the step above ‘backing up’. If you are the main admin and are uploading a big chunk of files for others to share (ie. company directory) just leave everything where it is and it will make it faster to get everything back up

4. Clear Out the Hard Drive Upon Which Your Nextcloud Will Store Files

This is a bit more complicated than we can write here but depending on how you setup your NC your database files may be on the hard drive itself. To assure everything ‘just works’ (better) access the drive, clear out absolutely everything on it. Remember, make sure your drive is backed up (easy to forget) before doing this step! If this is your second install (or more) you may, like me, find it easier to SSH into the cloud and remove the files that way, if you have access. This allows me to just leave the drive as it is, mounted, and wiped clean. Again, depends on your setup. The key is that you will wipe all the ‘ncdata’ and ‘ncdatabase’ directories from the drive if they are stored there.

5. Do a Completely Fresh Nextcloud Install

Self explanatory, but there are many ways to do this depending on your setup. This is where you jump to your ‘nextcloud installation tutorial’…

6. Create a Nextcloud ‘Master Master Admin’ Account.

Welcome back! How was the install?? I do this step because I want an account over top of my own user account to do higher level admin stuff. I like to do this so I can share stuff with people on a more overarching manner – including my own user account. Now, with your NC ‘master master’ admin account create a ‘working admin’ user/password which will be used for high level controls and also creating new users, etc. Just type ‘admin’ in the groups box and save the user. Once created, log out.
So just to review you will have:

  • Main Nextcloud master-master admin (for doing stuff on a purely technical basis for the cloud)
  • Master-Master account (for doing permission stuff over files and users)
  • Your account (created by Master-Master)

Log Back in as New Admin User

Self explanatory

Recreate All the User Accounts with the Admin Account You Just Created

Recreate all the user name accounts as they were before. They will have new passwords when created, or, if you are family and have their passwords you can even imput their passwords for them as they were before.

Upload the Files

If you are doing a massive upload (ie. small business with lots of files) it’s better to use a desktop client app I have found. The web interface seems to crap out if the upload is insanely large and this can cost you a lot of time. I recommend getting a laptop/desktop client setup and syncing that way.

Useful Note about super huge uploads
In the past I have found out that I was accidentally uploading to the wrong hard drive due to a setup issue. I recommend using SSH and going into your NC instance and looking at the hard drive once in a while to see if there is data going on while it’s syncing. On Ubuntu I just run this command every 3 minutes for the first 10 minutes to make sure everything is alright:

sudo du -sh /media

It will output something like:

501M /media/

Then run same command again in about 2 minutes and hopefully that 501M is much bigger. That means it’s working. If not, well then. Stop your sync and fix whatever is wrong 😉

Hope this helps and have a great day out there.

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