I'd like to upgrade from 10.10 to 11.04 but my ISP has a data-cap, limiting the amount I can download. Thankfully, traffic between 2am and 8am doesn't count towards this cap, but I'm seldom awake at 2am to kick the upgrade process off.

Is there a way I can schedule either the upgrade or the downloads required for the upgrade to run at a certain time?

2 Answers 2


One solution is to download the installation CD and then use it as a local repository to perform the upgrade. Instructions are here:

Upgrading Using the Alternate CD/DVD

If your ISP allows you to download via BitTorrent at night, you can schedule Transmission to download the CD only at night from within the Edit ▸ Preferences ▸ Speed menu.

  • Great, already have Transmission set up so this should be easy. Thanks.
    – david w
    May 11, 2011 at 1:16

In general, you could download your updates with out installing them. Just become root, wait for 2am, and start downloading.

$ sudo bash
# sleep 5h
# apt-get dist-upgrade --download-only

You could create a cron job that executes the last command (especially for regular incremental updates). Then when you wake up, you can install the updates.

Unfortunately, the do-release-upgrade command (the recommended way to upgrade to the next Ubuntu) doesn't have a download-only option, so I'd stick with ændrük's CD download.

However, if you're feeling really adventurous, you could follow the instructions for setting up commandline upgrade and then run do-release-upgrade after a sleep. Note: I'd be pretty wary of installing updates when you're not there to see what might go wrong.

  • 1
    1) at would be more appropriate here. 2) dist-upgrade only alters dependency handling; it does not automatically upgrade to newer releases. Apt sources must be separately modified beforehand for this to result in a release upgrade.
    – ændrük
    May 10, 2011 at 23:22
  • Thanks for the answer (you'd get +1 but I'm too new for that:). I actually use con-apt for regular updates. I'm sure it just makes a cron job but its super easy from the users p.o.v.
    – david w
    May 11, 2011 at 1:18
  • I guess you mean cron-apt. I've never heard of that. Sounds easier than what I described : )
    – idbrii
    May 11, 2011 at 4:53

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