Using Ubuntu? Here’s how to get the latest version.
A few weeks ago Canonical released the next version of Ubuntu, 14.04 “Trusty Tahr.” We took an in-depth look at it, and showed why current users should upgrade and why Windows XP users should switch to it. But we never discussed how to do an upgrade if you’re a current user – we just mentioned how you can create bootable media for it. And upgrading is important – we have plenty of articles on different various aspects of Ubuntu that can be updated and why you should do it if you’re not convinced.
Have no fear – upgrading your current Ubuntu installation is easy.
Before you start, make sure that you’ve installed all updates that are available for your current version. You can do this by opening the Software Updates application, or by running the command
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade. This is important: some updates solve bugs that might otherwise cause problems while upgrading.
Back Up Your Data
Additionally, before you begin, make sure that all of your data is backed up. Ubuntu upgrades tend to work very well most of the time, but there’s always a chance that something might happen since each user’s setup is different.
My personal two favorites are Deja Dup, a simple backup utility, and CrashPlan, a more sophisticated option. Or you can just manually transfer your files to an external drive. It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as everything is safe and stored somewhere off your computer.
Now, if you’re running Ubuntu 13.10, you should have already received a notification prompting you to upgrade to Ubuntu 14.04. It’ll be a little dialog box that appears when you start up your computer, as seen above. If you’re not getting a notification for some reason, you can force the upgrade with the command
sudo update-manager -d.
Electing to choose to upgrade will launch the upgrade utility. It will not only update just the system packages, but all of your apps. Because of this, the upgrade will most likely take a few hours – that’s a lot of packages to download.
From Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
If you’re running Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, you may be wondering why you’re not getting an upgrade notification, even though you should be notified about new LTS releases. This is because Canonical isn’t pushing this update on 12.04 users until the first point release of 14.04: 14.04.1, which will presumably be more stable than the current release.
Don’t want to wait? You don’t have to. To force the upgrade to begin, all you need to do is run the command
sudo update-manager -d. You’ll see a prompt for an update, above the usual update tool:
When 14.04.1 does get released in July, however, then you should see a notification in the top portion of the Software Updater screen. It should look similar to the screenshot above, but with the correct versions mentioned.
If you’re using any other release of Ubuntu (such as 13.04, 12.10, or even 10.04 LTS), you seriously need to consider upgrading to 14.04 to continue receiving support and benefit from new features.
You can theoretically still use this upgrade route to get to 14.04, but it won’t be an enjoyable experience. The main issue is that you can’t upgrade directly from any release to 14.04 – you can only take the upgrade routes that are allowed. For example, this means that a 12.10 user would have to upgrade to 13.04, then 13.10, and then 14.04 to reach the intended version. A 10.04 user would have to upgrade to 12.04 before upgrading to 14.04 (since LTS-to-LTS upgrades are allowed).
So not only are there a lot of upgrade steps to reach 14.04 (which all take up quite a bit of time to download all the needed packages), but there are a lot of changes in each release that can cause issues down the stretch. Essentially, this means that it’s just not worth the time and the rather high risk that something is going to break.
You can try the upgrade route if you’d like, but I’d instead recommend that you just perform a fresh installation instead. You can upgrade without losing your files by using a separate home partition, but a backup is still recommended.
Knowing how to upgrade your Ubuntu installation is very important, because it’s easy to do and you can benefit from all the improvements. Even if you don’t like upgrading often, it’s still a good idea to upgrade to 14.04 LTS so that you won’t have to upgrade for another 5 years if you don’t feel like it.
What issues do you see during upgrades? Do you have any other backup recommendations? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credits: Happy Goat Via Shutterstock