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I was under the impression that upgrading from 32-bit to 64-bit required a new kernel. This would mean replacing the kernel is all that would be needed. Perhaps drivers and libraries need to be updated as well, right?

That could also be done in a non-destructive fashion. But all the other software does not need to be 64-bit specifically compiled does it?

So what then precisely, is the technical reason, why upgrading to 64-bit cannot be done without reformatting with a one-click approach?

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  1. A migration can be done: Migrate a 32-bit debian installation to 64-bit one (i386 to x86_64) but it will not be a one click operation.

  2. If you re-install using the 64-bit installer and do NOT format the discs you will end up with a 64-bit machine where all (but maybe not all: it will sort of upgrade to newer versions so if there is no newer version ... so it probably is best to do this with a newer release) packages are replaces but the setting files are kept intact.

Both methods work but are not newbie friendly. Heck they are not even average user friendly. Re-installing is easier, more secure since it is a proven method and makes sure you do not end up with an unstable system (for what ever reason).


Changing the architecture of your Ubuntu installation from 32 to 64-bit is not recommended or supported in any way. Perform this at your own risk after creating a suitable backup.

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