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What are some alternatives to upgrading without using the standard upgrade system? Suppose for example that I wanted to upgrade an Ubuntu installation on a machine with a poor Internet connection. What would my options be? Could I just use a standard Ubuntu disk to upgrade this machine? If I already have a standard Ubuntu disk and want to use that, could I do a clean install without wiping data?

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You can use the alternative disk to upgrade a system offline. There are good instructions on how to do this in the ubuntu community documentation –  Ressu Jul 28 '10 at 19:30
    
Keryx is also a great choice if you don't have good internet access. –  excid3 Aug 7 '10 at 18:29

2 Answers 2

You can use the alternative CD (instead of Ubuntu Desktop, Kubuntu Desktop, Server CD) which allows you to upgrade from CD.

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but popping in a live cd I already have isn't going to work huh? –  DLH Jul 28 '10 at 19:38
    
@DLH apparently not... :( –  Steven Oxley Jul 28 '10 at 19:41
    
no the live CD does not work. You need to use the alternative CD –  txwikinger Jul 28 '10 at 19:53
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There's a good reason for that. You know by now that the LiveCD can install in 20 mins or less. It essentially has an Ubuntu installation on the CD and just copies files (minus the installer) from the CD onto the hard-drive after dealing with the partitions and gives you Ubuntu. The Alternate CD actually has the packages that are required and the package manage can upgrade all the packages and give you the new version of Ubuntu. –  Umang Aug 8 '10 at 6:09
    
The livecd installed actually copies the installer itself too, only to subsequently remove it with dpkg :) –  Dennis Kaarsemaker Aug 9 '10 at 0:14

You can do an installation of a newer version of Ubuntu over top of an existing installation. You'll lose all of your (non-local [1]) system files and applications, but it will preserve everything in /home.

Select the advanced partitioning option from the menu of either the desktop CD installer or the alternate CD installer. Set the mountpoint of your existing root partition to / and make sure the format box is not checked. Repeat these steps for your home partition, if you have one.

1: Where local system directories would be /usr/src, /usr/local, and /var/local

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hmm that would be nice, because then it would keep most of my configuration as well. –  DLH Jul 28 '10 at 20:05
    
Just to be clear, it will wipe /etc. So while you get to keep all your configuration data in /home, you'll lose system-wide configuration. –  Evan Jul 28 '10 at 20:17

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