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How to Upgrade your Ubuntu Operating System to the Latest Version

Summary: The following article is a guide to upgrading your Ubuntu operating system. Step-by-step instructions to upgrade to the latest version available for your Dell laptop or desktop.

This article may have been automatically translated. If you have any feedback regarding its quality, please let us know using the form at the bottom of this page.

Article Content


Table of Contents:

  1. Why would I want to upgrade my version of Ubuntu and what is different from a clean install?
  2. How to run an Upgrade install
  3. How to run a custom repair install
  4. How to run a clean install
  5. For more Ubuntu Support


Why would I want to upgrade my version of Ubuntu and what is different from a clean install?


Ubuntu as with any other operating system is constantly looking to improve and better it is usage and performance. What is different with Ubuntu is that you have the option of two updates at any time:

The first is the most recent Long-Term Support (LTS) release.

This update is available every two years and Canonical supports it fully with updates for five years. It is a tested and stable build.

The second is the most recent Normal release.

This update is available every 6 months and Canonical only supports with updates for nine Months. These normal releases are cutting edge but can have issues because of this. Testers and developers use these builds.

Each upgrade looks to add new features and make old features work better. It also looks to make itself more compatible with new hardware and software. To get the best use out of your laptop or desktop, it is best to have your device up to date.

This guide explains three different methods of installation. I go over the differences, and then we have the various how to's in the sections below:

Upgrade Install

This type of install is where you move to a more recent revision of the operating system. It keeps all your programs, settings, and data intact. It saves everything and uses it during the install. This is so that you are not required to redo or reinstall anything.

Custom or Repair Install

This type of install is where you create a partition. Or install over only one of the old partitions so that you are programs and data and protected. This is done by copying the new libraries over the old ones in the / partition. It is the same idea as the old Windows XP repair install. This is where it copied the windows directory over the top of itself. It tries to resolve any operating system issues without doing a clean install.

Clean Install

This type of install is a last resort. It is where you format the hard drive and start again from scratch. It only does this after everything else has failed or you are configuring a new laptop or desktop.


This section is not applicable to this article.


How to run an Upgrade install


Run these commands in Terminal. (The keyboard shortcut CTRL+ALT+T opens Terminal in most Ubuntu builds.)

Ensure that your current version is fully up to date.

sudo apt-get update

Install the Update Manager Core Package.

sudo apt-get install update-manager-core

Run the following commands to check the current version and the kernel information.

lsb_release -a

uname -a

This command updates or upgrades to the next available version.

sudo do-release-upgrade -d

A series of on-screen prompts takes you through the upgrade. I cannot tell you how to answer the prompts, as it depends on what type of installation you intend.


How to run a custom repair install


If you perform a repair install or customize your upgrade install, you can approach the issue in a different manner.

Go to the Canonical site and download and burn an ISO of the operating system version you are upgrading to.

There are Dell Ubuntu images available from Dell sources. I advise that you use a base build if you are not sure a custom image suits your particular device.

To upgrade using the media that you burned, you must run the installer.

Choose the Something Else option, select your Ubuntu partition, and click Edit Partition.

Set the mount point to /. If you have any other partitions, for instance /home or /boot, then set those up too.

Click Next. It asks a question that means Linux is already installed on /, this erases your existing system files only, answer Yes.

It saves your /home folder, even if it is in the same partition as /. It saves newer versions of your package list for Ubuntu and installs them onto the new laptop or desktop for you.

Note: We recommend you remove or uninstall all the programs and packages that you do not want anymore. (For Example: Programs you tried out but do not want to keep using.)

The following knowledge base article covers this topic further:


How to run a clean install


Perform a clean install if you have other install types and you are experiencing issues. There is data loss with this, so it is a last resort.

In order to perform a clean install, follow the link below to a step-by-step guide:

Note: A clean install means wiping your hard drive and reinstalling all your apps, programs, and information. You lose anything that you do not backup before the install.

Additional Information

Further Support is available for software and hardware issues:

Article Properties

Affected Product

Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations

Last Published Date

09 Feb 2024



Article Type