I have Ubuntu 12.04 installed and I am using a mobile broadband connection, so bandwidth is precious. What I would like to do is to enable only security updates.

Then when version 12.04.1 is released (which it already is), download it over a different connection (probably not on an Ubuntu machine) and burn it to disk, and then use it to update the system.

Is this possible?


1 Answer 1


The alternate CD is actually a mini-apt repository. You can download the point release alternate CD and then insert it into the machine while it is booted up, after burning it.

Then go to Software Center-> Software Sources and use the Add Volume button to add the CD.

The Software Sources <code>Add Volume</code> button Image credit Jorge Castro

This will work, but the CD does not contain every package which might be installed on your system, as it only contains what is needed to get a working system(except for some drivers). You still need to update any other packages you want to update using your internet connection(s).

The default packages (and a few more) will be updated to the point release version. These non-default packages were on the CD as they are commonly installed, but not installed by default. These may include common drivers.

For Quantal and later:

Quantal no longer has an alternate CD. You can, however, use AptOnCD as follows:

Download aptoncd on a Ubuntu machine (of the same version and architecture(32/64-bit)) with a fast internet connection and install it:

sudo apt-get install aptoncd

And use the update manager to update packages. You can also select packages with:

sudo apt-get install --download-only [packages]

which should get packages and dependencies into the apt cache. You can then create an aptoncd CD and burn it with the packages it gives you from the selection. You can select any package that has been downloaded since the last sudo apt-get autoclean operation.

  • That's great ObsessiveFOSS, thank you. Is there any reason why this won't work with the regular desktop iso? I've read that the alternate CD image is being retired for future releases - how would I proceed in this case? Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 7:41
  • 1
    @TenLeftFingers The live CD does not contain .deb packages, but a full system, and only a few deb packages for small changes. You can't just copy the entire system over; it won't work. There is a method for Quantal and later; I'll post it when I have time.
    – nanofarad
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 10:27
  • @TenLeftFingers There are Quantal instructions now.
    – nanofarad
    Commented Oct 17, 2012 at 22:13
  • Thank you ObsessiveSSOℲ. The AptOnCD requires an Ubuntu installation at the point of download - whereas my desktop will be staying put. Perhaps I can make a USB install and bring that with me. When the alternate CD is "merged" with the desktop CD as with Quantal, will the packages be present then? Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 10:37
  • @TenLeftFingers Unfortunately, it won't be merged. There sill be no CD with packages at all, and no point releases. You can try to install Ubuntu Quantal to a large USB stick or external hard disk(full installation) and try make the CD on that. With that said, Quantal is non-LTS and does not have point releases IIRC.
    – nanofarad
    Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 11:13

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