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I didn't see this asked elsewhere here, but how does one go about this? I did sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade on a laptop last night but it did not upgrade up to the latest release as I expected. What do I need to do?

In other words: why did it do a partial-upgrade instead of a release-upgrade?

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I don't know why it behaved that way, but have you tried upgrading by using the upgrade button in "Update Manager"? –  Aki Oct 14 '12 at 12:51

5 Answers 5

up vote 16 down vote accepted

apt-get update updates the package manager cache of what packages are available. apt-get upgrade upgrades packages that are already installed to newer versions. Neither upgrades to a new release. For that you need to either use the gui update manager, or do-release-upgrade.

You also can not skip releases except from LTS to LTS, so you must first upgrade to 11.10, then to 12.04.

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You can use the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS installation CD to upgrade from 11.04. Boot from the CD, choose "install Ubuntu" and it should recognize your 11.04 install and ask if you want to upgrade to 12.04. I just did this and it worked flawlessly.

My previous attempt had been to try using the command line (do-release-upgrade) going to 11.10 (successful) and then again to 12,04 (unsuccessful).

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Note that 'upgrade' in this case means that many packages will be removed. It's better to follow instructions in how to upgrade from unsupported release. –  Danatela Oct 14 '13 at 5:10

I have upgraded from 10.04 to 12.04.1 LTS with no problems, simple preferences, and some of the settings may need to be reintegrated; however, for the most part, the OS upgrades without any problems, so as long as you have connection to the internet for when the installer needs something from the net.

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I've been using do-release-upgrade on multiple machines through several Ubuntu versions and I've been really happy with the results. A few additional steps have made it even more useful for me.

I often am upgrading remotely and would like to hop into the box being upgraded and check on the progress. You can use "screen" or, my preference, "tmux" to disconnect a remote session then "tmux a" to re-attach and see what's going on.

Just one more point worth mentioning; I frequently am an early adopter using the new version before it's released. Use "do-release-upgrade -d" to upgrade to a development version of Ubuntu.

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You can force to upgrade the release with:

sudo do-release-upgrade

From 11.04, it will upgrade to 11.10 I think and you do it again to upgrade to 12.04.

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