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How to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

The newest Long Term Support release of Ubuntu is out! It is 20.04 LTS, and it’s a wonderful update with many new and exciting features, such as a “Do Not Disturb Mode,” fractional scaling, improved ZFS support, Linux 5.4, WireGuard VPN support in the kernel, Gnome 3.36, and much more!

Upgrading to a new Ubuntu release can be scary if you’re a new Linux user. That’s why in this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to do to upgrade your system to the latest 20.04 LTS release!

Note: Before attempting to upgrade from your existing Ubuntu release to 20.04, we highly recommend creating a backup on an external USB hard drive or USB flash drive. Ubuntu upgrades usually go smoothly, but it’s never a bad idea to keep your data safe in case an accident happens.

Upgrading to 20.04 LTS – GUI

The simplest way to upgrade your Ubuntu release is by using the built-in GUI upgrader tool. It’s very straightforward to use and doesn’t require any command-line knowledge.

To start the upgrading process, press Win on the keyboard. Pressing this button will open up the Gnome search box. In this search box, look for “Software Updater” and launch it. Then, follow the step-by-step instructions below to get your system upgraded!

Note: not using Ubuntu’s Gnome desktop? Look for “Software Updater” in the app menu on your desktop and launch it. All Ubuntu flavors have the same update manager tool.

Step 1: As you launch “Software Updater,” it will begin checking for updates for the current release of Ubuntu you are on. Ubuntu needs to install available software updates before attempting to upgrade to 20.04 LTS. Sit back, be patient, and allow the upgrades to finish.

Step 2: When your software patches are up to date, you will see a notification appear on the screen that says, “The software on this computer is up to date.” On this same notification, you will also see “Ubuntu 20.04 is available,” and an “Upgrade” button.

Select the “Upgrade” button to tell Ubuntu you wish to start the upgrading process.

Step 3: Upon selecting the “Upgrade” button, you will see the release notes page for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Read through the notes to find out all about the new features included in the new release.

When you’ve finished reading the release notes, find the “Upgrade” button on the bottom of the page, and click on it to go to the next page.

Step 4: Following the 20.04 LTS release notes, you will see the “Distribution Upgrade” tool. It will prepare your current Ubuntu system for 20.04 by setting up new software channels, etc. Sit back and allow the “Distribution Upgrade” tool to work.

When the “Distribution Upgrade” tool finishes preparing your system for 20.04 LTS, you will see a notification. This notification says, “Do you want to start the upgrade?” Click “Start Upgrade” to continue.

Step 5: After clicking the “Start Upgrade” button, the “Distribution Upgrade” tool will begin to download all Ubuntu 20.04 LTS packages and install them. This process will take quite a bit of time, so be patient!

Step 6: When the “Distribution Upgrade” tool is finished upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS, it will display a notification that says, “Restart the system to complete the upgrade.” Find the “Restart Now” button and click it to reboot.

Upon logging back in, you will be using Ubuntu 20.04 LTS!

Upgrading to 20.04 LTS – command-line

Using the GUI upgrade tool is generally the best way to go about upgrading to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. However, if you’re not a fan of the GUI, and know the Linux command-line, you’ll be happy to know that it is possible to upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS via the terminal.

To start the upgrade, open up a terminal window. Then, with the terminal window open, follow the step-by-step instructions below.

Step 1: Check your current Ubuntu release for any software upgrades or patches that are available by using the update command.

sudo apt update

Step 2: Using the upgrade command and dist-upgrade commands, install the software upgrades and patches.

sudo apt upgrade -y
sudo apt dist-upgrade -y

Step 3: With your current release of Ubuntu up to date, it is time to change your software sources to the 20.04 LTS ones. To do that, make use of the following sed command.

sudo sed -i 's/eoan/focal/g' /etc/apt/sources.list

Step 4: After changing your Ubuntu system’s software sources to the new 20.04 LTS ones, you must run the update command to finalize the software source changes.

sudo apt update

Step 5: Following the update command, make use of the upgrade and dist-upgrade commands to install all the new Ubuntu 20.04 LTS packages on your system.

DO NOT CLOSE THE TERMINAL WHILE THESE COMMANDS RUN OR THE UPGRADE WILL FAIL!

sudo apt upgrade -y
sudo apt dist-upgrade -y

Step 6: Once both the upgrade and dist-upgrade commands finish, reboot your Linux PC, then open up a terminal window again.

Inside of the terminal window, use apt autoremove to uninstall any unneeded packages from the previous Ubuntu version you were using.

sudo apt autoremove

Once the autoremove command completes, you’ll be ready to use Ubuntu 20.04 LTS!

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