I am running 18.04.3 LTS on my main computer:

# lsb_release -a
LSB Version:    core-9.20170808ubuntu1-noarch:security-9.20170808ubuntu1-noarch
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS
Release:        18.04
Codename:       bionic

On a new computer I am installing 18.04.3 LTS and was suprised that it had a different kernel. The new install is using vmlinuz-5.3.0-26-generic, but my (updated/upgraded/etc..) current computer is only on vmlinuz-4.15.0-74-generic.

How can I figure out what is holding my computer back from upgrading?

I don't seem to have anything pinned for the kernel:

# dpkg --get-selections linux
dpkg: no packages found matching linux

1 Answer 1


Ubuntu 18.04 LTS users have two software stacks to choose from, maximum stability with the original software stack (4.15 kernel), or the moving HWE (hardware enablement stack) which uses the 18.10, then 19.04, 19.10, and eventually settles on 20.04 software stack.


Upgrades from prior releases using the stable option (4.15), as do installs using 18.04, or 18.04.1 media. They can opt to enable HWE though.

Installs using 18.04.2 or later media start with HWE enabled.

18.04.2 uses the 18.10 software stack. 18.04.3 uses the 19.04 software stack. 18.04.4 uses the 19.10 software stack (currently in testing). until the stack becomes static using the 20.04 base kernel.

From the provided link, to enable HWE use

 sudo apt-get install --install-recommends linux-generic-hwe-18.04 xserver-xorg-hwe-18.04 

 sudo apt-get install --install-recommends linux-generic-hwe-18.04
  • 3
    See this answer askubuntu.com/a/885582/243321 to remove the default kernel option; otherwise you'll get updates to both. Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 1:41
  • 1
    For completeness, is there a way to switch back after enabling HWE? Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 23:28
  • I can't really understand why you'd want to switch back, however if it doesn't work for you, you could remove the installed packages (it would require reversing or re-installing the non-hwe kernels if you did what Organic Marble suggested to save /boot space & upgrade bandwidth if done). As suggested in my answer you can still boot non-HWE kernels; Organic Marble's link removes them meaning an extra step is required to have only non-HWE again.
    – guiverc
    Commented Jan 23, 2020 at 23:42
  • Because I'm having some pretty serious problems and I want to see if it's kernel related - though this may turn into another askubuntu question. :) Commented Jan 24, 2020 at 21:56
  • And that didn't rerun grub, much to my surprise, or remove the kernels. Commented Jan 26, 2020 at 21:27

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