I'm going to install Xenial Xerus, but I'm not sure which variant I should use. I get to choose between the normal kernel and HWE kernel.

Now I understand that HWE kernel means that support for new HW will be available faster. On the other hand the HWE kernel may be less well tested than the GA kernel which means that one perhaps shouldn't use the HWE kernel if one don't actually need it.

As I'm currently using old hardware, I'm currently running Vivid Vervet without problems so any kernel would support my current hardware. On the other hand I cannot rule out that I might upgrade with newer hardware in the future which means that I might need the HWE kernel then.

So the question is if I can install using the normal kernel and then in the future just switch to the HWE kernel if I should need it.


Yes, you can install using the normal kernel and then in the future switch to the hardware enablement kernel if you need it. To show available hwe packages, open the terminal and type:

apt-cache search linux.*hwe.*  

or install Ubuntu Software Center or Synaptic Package Manager and search in it for "hwe". Synaptic has the most user-friendly way of displaying the search results for "hwe" because it displays the available packages in a list with a description of each package appearing on the same row as the package.

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  • I want to do it the other way around. Can I just install linux-generic and then uninstall the linux-generic-hwe-18.04-edge and have apt upgrade the kernel whenever a new stable version is released? – FalcoGer Aug 16 '19 at 9:20
  • Yes and it would help to install Synaptic package manager first with sudo apt install synaptic so that you can keyword search for all available Linux kernels, so that you can see what you are doing. Another good command is apt install --simulate ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐—ฎ๐—ด๐—ฒ-๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฒ (without sudo) so that you can check for unmet dependencies or broken packages before you change anything. – karel Aug 16 '19 at 9:25
  • yes synaptic is nice. but I only really use it if i'm browsing or searching for things I couldn't find with apt search. If I know the package name already, I just use apt from the terminal. it's faster. – FalcoGer Aug 16 '19 at 13:28

Yes you can. For example in 16.04:


sudo apt-get install --install-recommends linux-generic-hwe-16.04 xserver-xorg-hwe-16.04 


sudo apt-get install --install-recommends linux-generic-hwe-16.04 

see https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/LTSEnablementStack for more details

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According to https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Kernel/RollingLTSEnablementStack

Best option from me:

sudo apt install linux-generic-hwe-16.04

Also for docker aufs support

sudo apt install linux-image-extra-virtual-hwe-16.04

Using meta packages above you always got kernel updates with

sudo apt upgrade
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