Currently , I am running ubuntu 15.10 on my Dell laptop (ram-4GB) . I want to install ubuntu 16.04 LTS on my laptop as ubuntu 15.10 is no more supported. I don't want to lose my data while changing os , can I install 16.04 without losing data .

Thanx for helping in advance

  • I already read some questions regarding this problem but they were about reinstalling so I preferred to ask a new one.
    – Rahul Raj
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 16:08
  • I also want to ask if back up softwares like Deja Dup could help me in this situation.
    – Rahul Raj
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 16:10
  • 1
    Yes, Deja Dup does a very good job with backups of data. If you want to backup your specific programs, then no, there isn't a good way to do a backup, as newer Ubuntu installations will most likely break older packages and applications.
    – negusp
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 16:15
  • You can simply do an upgrade rather than formatting and doing a complete re-install. See the question which I've voted to mark this as a duplicate of.
    – dobey
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 17:16
  • 1
    Upgrading to 16.04 will download less than if you download a full Ubuntu 16.04 installation I believe. Commented Oct 25, 2016 at 1:24

3 Answers 3


First things first: backup, backup, backup!

Back up all of your important data to an external HDD. You could also dd the entire contents of your internal HDD to an external one if you want a complete 1:1 image of the HDD.

Warning! I take no responsibility if this fails and you lose your data because you failed to back it up!

Before you begin, run this command to find out your username:


Write the output down! (Also write down your password)

Now for reinstalling:

  1. Download the Ubuntu 16.04 ISO

  2. Burn the ISO to a DVD, or use the included Startup Disk Creator program to make a live USB drive.

  3. Boot the install media you created in step #2

  4. Choose to install Ubuntu

  5. On the "installation type" screen, choose Something Else

  6. Select Ubuntu system partition, and set its mount point as /. Be sure to keep the same format type, the same size, and untick the "Format" checkbox (else all data on "/" will be deleted!)

  7. When you are asked to create your username and password, USE THE ONES YOU WROTE DOWN EARLIER!!! (Else loose your data)

  8. After the installation finishes, follow the prompts to shutdown, and remove the installation media when it tells you to.

  9. Reboot and cross your fingers.


Backing up your important computer's data is always a good idea when using the computer.

Your personal space and other directories that you create will not be touched without specifying erase disk or format partition.

Installing Ubuntu fresh will not affect a user's personal data and files unless he instructs the installation process to format a drive or partition. The wording in the steps that will do this is Erase disk and install Ubuntu, and Format Partition. If you don't choose those to options, the only areas that would be replaced are the ones associated with the new install. It'll list those areas also and advise you that specific data will be erased/replaced. This includes:

/etc, /lib, /usr, /var, ...

These are systemwide areas, whereas your data should be in your personal area or some other directory that you have created.

To ensure preserve your data during the installation use the following options during installtion:

* Installation type - checkmark Something else

* Install Partition - Ensure Format box is unchecked

There is an article on Ubuntu Help specifically for your problem: UbuntuReinstallation

  • Just make sure you read the ENTIRETY of the post first, don't do things as you read it. Just read it first. Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 16:42
  • thanks for your help I had already read that article the problem is that in the article in the installation window there is an option to install latest ubuntu while keeping the older data but while I open the installation window that option is not availaible.
    – Rahul Raj
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 17:52
  • Go to Something else and there make sure to UNCHECK the 'Format?' box on the '/' partition and DO NOT edit it's size nor it's partition type. I told you to read the entirety of the post Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 17:57
  • No problem! Glad it helped. Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 18:42
  • Well I unchecked format from all the partitions but there was no '/' and when I tried to install after this it told me to chose an appropriate partition so I went in edit partition and there were options like "FAT 16 file system ; Fat 32 file system;btrfs journalin file system . I don't which to choose could you help.
    – Rahul Raj
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 18:51

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