So If I copy my home folder, then rename steven on a new install and copy over my original steven home folder... all my icons, desktop and panels will be there?
My step-by-step procedure:
* I make sure I have space for my home directory on a Linux-formatted drive so that the ownership and permissions will be preserved. If you don't have a Linux-formatted drive for copying your home directory, you can tar your home directory and copy the tarred file to a FAT32 or NTFS drive. Tarring will preserve the ownership and permissions. I always have to look up the syntax, though, so I find it much easier to simply copy my /home to a Linux-formatted drive. Then I copy the home directory I've customized to the backup drive. Best do this while things are working because if you run into some big problem you may not be able to copy it after that.
* On my new installation, I create my user account and log into it at least once so my home directory will be created and get its basics automatically set up.
* I reboot into text mode (linux-tui) and log in. As root, I rename my new home directory to /home/me_original (using the real name, not "me"). This is a cardinal rule with me: always have a way to go back in case things don't work out as hoped.
* As root, I copy my home directory from the backup drive to the new installation. I use Midnight Commander and tell it to Preserve Attributes. You have to be root because a user doesn't have permission to write to the home directory itself, just to the user's own subdirectory under /home.
* My old customized /home directory is now the /home directory on the new system. On your system, log in and see if things are working to your liking. If you have missing icons, the new installation may not have them if you added them yourself. You may need to install some programs you added to the old installation. Before I install a program I've customized, I make a copy of its directory in my /home just in case the new installation overwrites the old folder with a new one. So I might rename /.qqview to /.gqview_old and once Gqview is installed, I delete /.gqview and rename ./gqview_old to ./gqview. It doesn't take long to learn how to cover your a** so you don't lose any settings you worked hard creating.
* I leave my /home/me_original directory alone until I'm absolutely sure everything is working (a couple of weeks at least). Then I delete it (or rather, root deletes it) when I'm sure I won't need it.
You always want a way to recover and you want the original settings if your new installation available in case your new installation is not happy with something from your old /home directory. If things aren't right, you can rename your new /home directory to something like /home/me_new and rename /home/me_original to /home/me. Then you can do selective copying from /home/me_new to /home/me.
Sorry to be so wordy, but once you get this figured out you'll never face a long and tedious ordeal of customizing, picking out icons, and creating directories. Since I have one computer with several versions of VectorLinux installed, I usually just do a copy from one partition to another or one computer to another over my NFS network. You just want to be sure that however you do it, your ownership and permissions are preserved.