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Is there a way to find out which files in the installed system are changed/updated during a kernel update/upgrade?

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The kernel is made up of two main packages the linux-image-* and linux-headers-* packages. A kernel is made up of the pair at the same version. You can see all of your installed kernel with the command below, the latest kernel has the largest version number:

dpkg -l 'linux-image-*' 'linux-headers-*' | grep '^ii'

To see the pair associated with the current running kernel use the command below:

dpkg -l '*'`uname -r`

The files which make up a kernel package (or indeed any package) are listed using the dpkg -L command, something similar to the following:

dpkg -L linux-image-3.2.0-23-generic

Of course there are a few other files which get updated which are not contained within these packages, for example the initramfs for each kernel is generated after installation and the bootloader (typically grub) configuration is rebuilt to contain the new kernel.

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Thank you @Andy. –  numand Apr 22 '12 at 8:13
    
The real reason why I asked this question is I want to know why after kernel is being updated/upgraded, some pci or usb sound/wireless cards need to be reconfigured to work. So I thought that if I learn what is happening while kernel is being updated/upgrated, I can find out a solution to this issue because I help a lot of [UKXL]buntu users to solve their problems and some of them related to this kernel update/upgrade issue. –  numand Jun 9 '12 at 16:52
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