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I've already tried the steps outlined here upgrade from 9.04 to 12 to no avail, I get Failed to Fetch error for all packages, I'd like to avoid having to purchase a set of discs to put an ISO for the latest release on if possible, but if I have to I have to.

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Welcome to Ask Ubuntu! Did you follow this Q&A? How to install software or upgrade from old unsupported release? The question you link to seems not to be a success story. –  gertvdijk Feb 7 '13 at 10:05
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A fresh install will give you the least headaches. See askubuntu.com/questions/91815/… and help.ubuntu.com/community/EOLUpgrades –  Takkat Feb 7 '13 at 10:12
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marked as duplicate by Takkat, gertvdijk, hhlp, Luis Alvarado, raaz Feb 7 '13 at 14:05

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  1. Create a boot-able DVD or USB stick and do a fresh install from that. I would go with the USB stick as you can reuse it. see https://help.ubuntu.com/community/Installation/FromUSBStick

  2. Via update manager. Ubuntu 9.04 is not supported anymore so you will need to edit /etc/apt/sources.list to do this. Full instructions here https://help.ubuntu.com/community/EOLUpgrades

Note: if you take the upgrade path you will need to update from 9.04 to 9.10 which is also unsupported so you will need to edit /etc/apt/sources.list again.

Then to 10.04 which is both supported and is an LTS release, though support runs out this April. From 10.04 you can upgrade to 12.04 the next LTS release.

You can then upgrade to 12.10 the latest release if you want.

A lot has changed between 9.04 and 12.10 so I would recommend a clean install however. Make sure you have good backups in case things go wrong.

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