I can't upgrade to 12.04 LTS because whenever I click upgrade on the update manager, the update manager turns gray and fails. why is this. Whenever I click the upgrade button, the whole update manager turns gray and stops operating. What could be going wrong?
That is presumably a bug in the Update Manager.
You can run the update from the Terminal: launch it, then type
If you like, you can also download Ubuntu 12.04 from the Ubuntu website, start the installation normally, then select "Upgrade Ubuntu 11.10 (or whatever) to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS" when the installer gives you the choice. Other options will be to install to a new partition, install over top of what you have now, or to do something else.