Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I recently upgraded from 10.10 to 11.04 then 11.10, and I'd like to revert back to 10.10. I understand that you cannot downgrade a version as easily as you can upgrade, and that I'll probably have to get the boot CD again and reinstall the whole thing.

I know that I can keep most of my files by saving the /home directory, so 2 questions: Once I've gone back to 10.10, can I juts copy my old version of home over the freshly installed one?

Is there a way to keep all of my installed programs, or some sort of way of getting the new install to automatically install them? Will I have to go through the tricky setups of things like TeX all over again?


share|improve this question
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Here’s a simple tutorial on how to backup a list of all your installed repository applications, and restore them to another machine, perhaps even the same machine after a clean installation. This can save you an incredible amount of time, especially when this task must be repeated often.

First, from a computer with all the applications preinstalled, retrieve your installed package list and redirect the output to a file called packages.txt. Save this package list somewhere so that you can use it for the restore process.

sudo dpkg --get-selections > packages.txt

To restore all the applications from your list, you must follow a three step process very carefully.

sudo dpkg --clear-selections

sudo dpkg --set-selections < packages.txt

sudo aptitude install

You will be prompted to install all the new applications in the list. Another example of what this process allows you to do is create a baseline of all the applications after a clean installation of Ubuntu. Let’s say you would like to remove any applications installed since the clean install, perform the exact same process, and any package not defined in that list will be removed.

sudo dpkg --get-selections > clean-install-package-list.txt

sudo dpkg --clear-selections

sudo dpkg --set-selections < clean-install-package-list.txt

sudo aptitude install

The very first command of “–clear-selections” marks all currently installed packages to the state “deinstall”. When you restore the list of applications using “–set-selections”, only packages ommited from the list will remain in the “deinstall” state. Aptitude will honor the deinstall state and remove the extra packages, leaving you only with packages from the list.

share|improve this answer
Hey, When I try to do this, I get to the sudo aptitude install line, and it says no packages will be installed, upgraded or removed. – Peter May 19 '12 at 13:31

I share your difficulty and i'm thinking of this too.

Downgrade is not officially supported but this guy on youtube shows a successful downgrade.

You might want to try this.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.