How do I Upgrade my Ubuntu operating system to the latest version?

Summary: This article is a guide to upgrading your Ubuntu operating system to the latest version on your Dell PC.

Article Content


The following article provides information about how to upgrade or repair the Ubuntu Operating system on a Dell PC.

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 LTS (Long-Term Support) release.

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

The second is the most recent Normal release.

This update is available every 6 months and is only supported by Canonical with updates for 9 Months. These normal releases are considered to be cutting edge but can have issues because of this. These builds are used by testers and developers.

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 system, it is best to have your system up to date.

This guide deals with three types of install. I will quickly 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. While keeping all your programs, settings, and data intact. Everything is saved and used during the install so you do not need to redo or reinstall anything.

Custom or Repair Install

This type of install is where you create a new 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 XP Repair install. This is where it copied the windows directory over the top of itself to try and resolve system issues without a clean install.

Clean Install

This type of install is a last resort. It is where you format the Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and start again from scratch. This is done only after everything else has failed or you are configuring a new system.

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How to run an Upgrade install


These commands will mostly be run in Terminal. (CTRL+ALT+T will open Terminal in most Ubuntu builds.)

Make sure 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

Use this command to update or upgrade to the next available version.

sudo do-release-upgrade -d

You will see a series of onscreen prompts that take you through the upgrade. I cannot tell you how to answer the prompts, as it depends on what type of installation you want to end up with.

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How to run a custom repair install


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

First you must 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 you stick with a base build and work from there, if you are not sure a custom image suits your particular system.

To upgrade using the media that you burned, you need to 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 and it asks a question that essentially means Linux is already installed on /, this will erase your existing system files only, answer Yes.

Your /home folder will be saved, even if it is in the same partition as /. Your package list is saved and newer versions for 16.04 will be installed into the new system for you.

SLN136017_en_US__2icon Note: We recommend you remove or uninstall all the programs and packages that you do not want anymore. (i.e. Programs you tried out but do not want to keep using.)

Most of this is covered in the article that is linked below:

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How to run a clean install


If you have the other install types and you are experiencing issues, you should look at performing a clean install instead. This is done as a last resort, as there will be data loss.

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

SLN136017_en_US__2icon Note: Be aware a clean install means wiping your Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and reinstalling all your apps, programs, and information. Anything that you do not backup before the install will be lost.

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For more Ubuntu Support


Further Support is available for software and hardware issues:

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Article Properties

Affected Product

Inspiron, Latitude, Vostro, XPS, Fixed Workstations

Last Published Date

21 Feb 2021



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