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I have recently purchased a Dell Inspiron 14 3000 laptop with Ubuntu 18.04 preinstalled.

I haven't used Linux for about 10 years and my previous experienced was limited to installing Ubuntu on former Windows laptops and always finding that I couldn't get the wireless card working etc so would abandon it.

This time I've bought preinstalled from Dell and so far I am loving Ubuntu. However I would like to upgrade to 20.04 but I am concerned as to whether this might 'break' some drivers or something and the resulting hardware not working. Like does Dell have specific drivers for it's hardware that would be lost upon upgrade?

Does anyone have any experience with this? I tried calling Dell Support but they couldn't get their head around what I was asking, in fact they couldn't get past me not having Windows on my computer.

If I ran 20.04 from USB and it all worked then it should work on a proper install right?

Thanks

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    Compatibility with hardwares has improved a lot in the last ten years. It should work. – Archisman Panigrahi Jul 4 at 14:18
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    If you have an external disk: do a diskdump of your current install and you can always restore your system :) Another option I used back in the day: resize the disk and install 20.04 as a dual boot. Mount the user space partition in 20.4. – Rinzwind Jul 4 at 14:19
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    @Rinzwind Could you please elaborate or provide some links about how to do that? – Archisman Panigrahi Jul 4 at 14:20
  • @ArchismanPanigrahi links ok too? howtoforge.com/tutorial/… Just make sure to select the correct devices :) unix.stackexchange.com/questions/144172/… might be better – Rinzwind Jul 4 at 14:20
  • Related: Will my device work with Ubuntu? - in short, if the live session worked, then yes. – wjandrea Jul 5 at 1:21
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I'm writing this from a Dell Inspiron 15, 5000 series which also came preinstalled with Ubuntu. I have wiped out the previous installation some 2 months ago and reinstalled with Ubuntu 20.04. I have seen exactly zero issues while doing this. Everything worked flawlessly, directly from the initial installation. Including Video, including Sound, including WLAN, including LAN, including Bluetooth. It all immediatelly worked just fine.

And yes, while not 100% certain, I would totally expect when a USB installed live system runs fine, that it would also run fine on a 'proper' install.

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  • Thanks for responding. I tried 20.04 on USB and found no problems, so I went ahead and did the full install and too have, so far, found no issues. – norfolk_uk Jul 6 at 22:04
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If you want to be really sure, you could try an installed Ubuntu 20.04 LTS system on a USB pendrive (size at least 16 GB).

You can clone it easily from a compressed image file according to this link:

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    Thanks for responding. I did as you suggested and it all worked fine, so I did a full install and have not yet encountered any problems. – norfolk_uk Jul 6 at 22:06
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No problems with Dell wireless adapter working on any Ubuntu distribution in my experience. I had problems with Debian install unable to find the adapter, but never with Ubuntu flavors.

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  • Thanks for responding. I've fully installed 20.04 and as you say, it appears to all be working great. – norfolk_uk Jul 6 at 22:09
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I have an XPS 13 from 2017 and have Ubuntu 20.04 in a dual-boot with Windows and it's working perfectly fine with all drivers. I also installed Ubuntu on a 10-year-old laptop, which didn't have any issues as well. Ubuntu is doing great work with their drivers.

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    Thanks for responding. I agree the drivers seem great. – norfolk_uk Jul 6 at 22:07
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You don't say exactly what model of Inspiron 3000 you have, but I checked Dell's support site for the Inspiron 3480 (which is a current model) and the only software listed when I choose Ubuntu as the OS is a BIOS upgrade.

This strongly suggests that Dell do not use their own custom drivers for this laptop because Dell are normally very good about providing access to any extra drivers required for their hardware. So if the laptop uses only drivers built into Ubuntu 18.04 the same drivers will be present in 20.04.

I don't have the laptop to test, but I'm pretty sure that the install will go perfectly and just work. I've installed Linux on lots of Dell hardware over the years and I too have been bitten by WiFi cards that won't work. However this is only on older models and I've had no problems on any hardware less than say five years old.

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  • Thanks for responding. It is indeed a Inspiron 3480. I've gone full install with 20.04 and, fingers crossed it is all working fine. – norfolk_uk Jul 6 at 22:08

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