​How to upgrade from Ubuntu Linux 16.04 to 18.04

You can now smoothly move up from Ubuntu Linux 16.04, or later versions, to Ubuntu 18.04. Here's how to do it.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

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    When Canonical's Ubuntu Linux 18.04 arrived, this outstanding Linux distribution had only one little problem: You couldn't directly jump from the last Long Term Support (LTS) version, Ubuntu 16.04, to the latest version. Now, with the release of the first point Ubuntu 18.04 update, Ubuntu 18.04.1, you can finally do it easily.

    Of course, you could always update from one version of Ubuntu to the other. You just had to have your home directory on another partition or drive. Since most people don't bother with that, upgrading was a chore.

    Before making the shift remember Ubuntu 18.04 doesn't look or feel like 16.04, 16.10, 17.04, or 17.10. That's because Ubuntu has moving back to GNOME for its default desktop from Unity. If you want to stick with Unity, you must jump through hoops to replace GNOME with Unity.

    Ubuntu 18.04 GNOME interface

    Ubuntu 18.04's default interface has changed from Unity to GNOME.


    Unity desktop development is continuing. But, it's no longer an official part of Canonical's Ubuntu's efforts.

    Ready to go? First, as ever, back up your existing Ubuntu desktop. To do this, I recommend Ubuntu's default Déjà Dup or CloneZilla. Once done, check the restore to make sure you have a good backup.

    You're now ready to upgrade to With Ubuntu 18.04.1. You do this with the following steps:

    • Open the "Software & Updates" Setting in System Settings.
    • Select the 3rd Tab called "Updates".
    • Set the "Notify me of a new Ubuntu version" drop down menu to "For any new version" if you are using 17.10; set it to "For long-term support versions" if you are using 16.04 LTS.
    • Press Alt+F2 and type update-manager -c into the command box.
    • Update Manager should open up and tell you that Ubuntu 18.04 LTS is now available.
    • If not you can run /usr/lib/ubuntu-release-upgrader/check-new-release-gtk
    • Click Upgrade and follow the on-screen instructions.

    The upgraded Linux is about one and a half gigabytes so be ready for a long wait.

    You can also upgrade from the shell with the following commands:

    $ sudo apt update

    $ sudo apt upgrade

    This makes sure your Ubuntu is up to date. Next, follow this up with:

    $ sudo apt dist-upgrade

    This handles changing software dependencies with new versions of packages.

    I then follow this up with:

    $ sudo apt-get autoremove

    This removes dependencies from uninstalled applications. You can do the same thing from the GUI desktop with the utility application Bleachbit. After that, it's time to get things ready for the big upgrade with:

    $ sudo apt install update-manager-core


    $ sudo do-release-upgrade

    This will start upgrading your system to 18.04. Along the way, Ubuntu will ask you several questions about how to handle the upgrade.

    It will be worth it. Besides Ubuntu 18.04's advantages, the 18.04.1 release, which is what you'll be upgrading to, also comes with the 4.15 Linux kernel. In addition, it also incorporates many other performance and security improvements.

    If you want you can stick with Ubuntu 16.04. Its next update, Ubuntu 16.04.5, will appear in early August. Canonical will continue to support Ubuntu 16.04 until April 2021.

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