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Is it possible to "upgrade" from a 32bit to a 64bit installation?

I would like to know if it is possible to upgrade from 32 bit to 64 bit. Say currently I am using 11.04 32 bit, then come October could I upgrade to 11.10 64 bit? Not a fresh install, or separate install. It is possible? If not what would be the recommended way to go about this?

Thank you for your time and answers

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marked as duplicate by Jorge Castro, hhlp, Rinzwind, Marco Ceppi Aug 22 '11 at 19:13

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I think this is not possible. You would have to reinstall the whole system, because you need to "change" all packages in your system from 32-bit binaries to 64-bit binaries.

Why do you need a 64-bit system? If you have 4 GB RAM (or more), you can just install PAE kernel (package linux-generic-pae). PAE supports up to 64 GB of RAM.

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You can't directly upgrade the two. My understanding of that is that the upgrade reuses as many things as possible, and reusing 32 bit components would defeat the purpose.

The way I'd do it is to create a backup of your home directory, install Ubuntu 64-bit, then restore the home directory from the backup. Because most, if not all, of your settings are in the home directory, everything should be preserved. You'll then need to reinstall all of your applications, but that should be fairly straightforward.

For the backup, turn on hidden files (Ctrl-H), select all of your files (Ctrl-A), and copy them to an external drive. You should unplug the drive before the installation for safety reasons. Once you're done with the install, copy the files back. You'll need to turn on hidden files again if you want your settings to be preserved, since most of them are in hidden directories.

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