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I have an Ubuntu system, which has been upgraded to the actual release since 9.04. Now I am wondering if upgrading during such a long time has any disadvantages. Can I relay on the upgrading process to remove really all those old components, which are not used anymore, as HAL for example? Or do I have to do some manual work on that? For example I found out that a package named has is still installed, although in a brand new Ubuntu 11.04 installation it isn’t? So is it recommended to make a complete new installation from time to time, rather than to upgrade continuously?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I have upgraded continually since about 8.10 or 8.04, and I'm currently running 11.10. So, it's proof you can upgrade, upgrade, upgrade, and still have a working system.

However, it requires a bit more work to keep doing this. Usually I upgrade manually (using Synaptic), but if you keep your system relatively free of useless applications, you can upgrade using the upgrade-manager and it will remove most of the old stuff (that is, things that are no longer able to work with the system, or that need to be replaced with something new).

However, there is a catch, in that a lot of things can end up remaining installed, but marked as auto-removeable, or as local/obsolete, but they will only go away after you specifically remove them yourself.

Doing a fresh install is advisable if you want a completely clean system each time, and many people do it that way. However, if you want to keep your old applications, then I would not suggest doing that.

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As a good recommendation I would say save your needed files and you ~/user folder in another pc or media and re-install.

A lot has changed since 9.04!

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I concur with this advice. My practice is to keep all of my data files on a separate disk partition. This (a) makes the data very easy to back up regularly, and (b) makes it simple to do a new install of any new version of Ubuntu.

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You don't need to keep a separate partition to do a new installation of ubuntu, the installer keeps your data by default during a reinstall. – Jorge Castro Sep 30 '11 at 15:40

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