I need my Ubuntu to be stable as I rely on it heavily for my business and uni. I needed to update my google cloud sdk so I run sudo apt upgrade as I have done for the last year with no issues. After reboot, my dual screen monitor stopped working and the main display freezing and I lost access to my virtualbox.

I am losing about $50 an hour while this is broken so I am happy to pay some one $100US an hour so I can have a stable system again. Is it possible to stop Ubuntu from upgrading the kernel itself?

Really angry actually that Ubuntu would release such a broken and untested kernel on an LTS system.

  • On the grub screen if you click on advanced you should be able to boot to previous kernel. See if that works. (if you didn't /don't want the HWE packages you should of installed from the 20.04.1 image & you'd never see them releases.ubuntu.com/20.04
    – doug
    Jan 9, 2021 at 7:01
  • 1
    This is not true, I did install from the 20.04.1 image. HWE track is now the default. Are you saying I should have installed the server version? Ubuntu Desktop flavour now always tracks HWE kernel (hardware enablement). It means that from 20.04.2 release Ubuntu Desktop will gain new major kernel versions every 6 months through to summer of 2022. Now what has happened the automatic update to the hwe 5.8 broke my system even thought the 20.04.2 hasn't been released yet. Ubuntu shouldn't have released a broken untested 5.8 on the automatic update track.
    – user1169153
    Jan 9, 2021 at 7:57
  • You can rescue your file system via chroot using external live usb or live dvd. I rescued my system many times in the past. help.ubuntu.com/community/LiveCdRecovery
    – kenn
    Jan 9, 2021 at 12:02
  • Does this answer your question? How to restore a system after accidentally removing all kernels?
    – kenn
    Jan 9, 2021 at 12:07
  • 1
    @AsteroidsWithWings ok noted, I was under the impression Ubuntu LTS was Enterprise grade.
    – user1169153
    Jan 9, 2021 at 18:47

2 Answers 2


It is easy to stop Ubuntu 20.04 from installing the 5.8 kernel.

Remove HWE meta packages by running:

sudo apt remove linux-{image,headers}-generic-hwe-20.04
sudo apt install linux-generic

If you also remove the already installed 5.8 kernel packages, it'll stick with the 5.4 kernels. They will get updates (bug fixes and security) till the end of life of the 20.04 release.

  • 2
    I've done this and it works. Thank you very much. Just one further question: now that I'm back to kernel 5.4 (apparently linux-generic brought back version 5.4.0-60) will I still be getting updates for the branch 5.4.0-x ... ? On the other hand: is this a common practice for an LTS version of ubuntu? I've been reading several posts and it seems that the change from 5.4 -> 5.8 has brought a lot of trouble to many people ... Jan 10, 2021 at 22:50

This latest 5.8 update has caused a lot of issues for a lot of people. The most critical being breaking:

  • Graphics Drivers
  • Virtualbox no longer working. You can fix this by downloading straight from virtualbox.org but then that breaks Python.
  • WIFI Stops working

I solved this issue and future instability by disabling the HWE track and sticking to the GA Kernel 5.4.

As per here. Disable HWE and continue with GA kernal of 16.04?



Why am I getting an error every time I install something using apt-get install?

how to fix a non-existent executable path causing "ubuntu internal error"?

Dell XPS 9575 + Ubuntu 20.04.1: Keyboard/trackpad unresponsive on boot

20.04 can't connect to 5Ghz wifi after update

Cant install bcwml-kernel-source in kernel 5.8.0

  • 5
    Please write the method you have used in more detail. Currently answer contains only links, so it is not reproducible.
    – N0rbert
    Jan 9, 2021 at 10:16
  • I have already spent hours sorting this problem out with no help from here or anyone else. This update has cost me money. Read the links like I had to its not that hard
    – user1169153
    Jan 9, 2021 at 10:53
  • 5
    @RickElsum It's not about what's "hard", it's about having a self-contained answer that will survive into the future. That's how Stack Exchange works! Wouldn't it be nice if you were able to avoid others having to spend hours sorting the problem out with no help from here or anyone else? Jan 9, 2021 at 15:28
  • I did by linking exactly this. If you actually read my post, I stated I fixed it by switching to GA kernel and removing the HWE, with a link of how it is done. What is the point of retyping out a fix when someone else already done it?
    – user1169153
    Jan 9, 2021 at 18:45
  • Are there bug reports for the linux 5.8 kernel / nvidia issue? And are there any workarounds on Ubuntu like installing a mainline kernel?
    – Alex
    Jan 10, 2021 at 3:29

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