How to Upgrade From Ubuntu 12.04 LTS to Ubuntu 13.04

When you’re first starting out with Ubuntu, it makes sense to start out with the version that is most stable and that offers the greatest level of support. This is precisely why when you visit the Ubuntu website, you are encouraged to download version 12.04 LTS, with LTS standing for Long Term Support. But if you want to have access to all of the latest features, you’re going to have to look to version 13.04.

If you have Ubuntu 12.04 installed, you probably don’t relish the thought of wiping your hard drive and installing the operating system from scratch; luckily there is no need to do so. Here is the way to upgrade your Ubuntu from 12.04 LTS to 13.04 (or future releases)

Note: You won’t be able to upgrade directly from 12.04 LTS to 13.04 (unless you reinstall the OS). You will have to first upgrade to 12.10, then further upgrade to 13.04.

Ubuntu has an update checking feature that can be used to ensure that all of your installed apps are up to date as well as downloading any available patches and fixes for the operating system itself. For the LTS release, security updates are provided for five years.


There is also Ubuntu 12.10 available, and this release includes a few extra features and a number of tweaks that have not made it into the LTS version. Beyond this, there is also the latest version of the operating system – 13.04 – and this release will be supported for nine months.

Chances are that you have Ubuntu 12.04 installed, and if you use the Update Manager to check for available updates, you’ll be told that you have the latest version of the operating system installed, although there may be security and app updates available for you.


But if you check the Ubuntu website, you’ll be well aware that version 12.10 and 13.04 are also available, but how do you download and install these upgrades? There’s no need to turn anywhere other than the Update Manager – you just need to change a couple of settings.

Configuring Software Updater to upgrade Ubuntu to the latest version

Click the cog button to the upper right of the desktop and select the Software Updater option from the menu that appears. Now click the Settings button to the lower right of the window.


From the bottom drop down menu, labelled Notify me of a new Ubuntu version, select the For any new version option, and enter your password when prompted to do so. While you’re here you should also ensure that the Important security updates, Recommended updates and Unsupported updates options are checked. Click Authenticate followed by Close.


Click the Check button and you will be informed that there are updates available as well as a new release in the form of Ubuntu 12.10. Click the Upgrade button to start the process.


You will then be shown a description of what you can expect to find in the new version – Quantal Quetzal – and you can start the upgrade by clicking the Upgrade button to the bottom right of the dialog.

You will be prompted to enter your password before the process of downloading the necessary files before installing will begin.


Before things start in earnest you’ll be shown a summary of what is going to happen — some packages will be removed, some new ones installed and others upgraded. Continue by clicking Start Upgrade.


Depending on the speed of your internet connection you may find that this process is completed very quickly, or it may take a little while. Once all of the necessary packages have been downloaded, the upgrade process will automatically begin.

You’ll be prompted to clean up any leftover packages and files and to restart when everything is finished.


When you’ve restarted, call up the system menu by clicking the top right cog icon again, and then click About This Computer. You will see that you have been upgraded to Ubuntu 12.10. It’s worth clicking the Install Updates button just to check whether there are any extra downloads that you need to get ahold of.


Should any updates be found, install them and follow any instructions to restart your computer.

When you’re back at the desktop access the system Details dialog once again, and click the Install Updates button once more. You should see a message informing you that not all updates can be installed – if you would like to upgrade to the next version of Ubuntu, click Continue.


You will then be told that Ubuntu 13.04 is available. If you are happy to proceed with the update, click the Upgrade button.


Enter your password and click Authenticate, and an introduction to Ubuntu 13.03 ‘Raring Ringtail’ will be displayed. Click Upgrade to continue.


Just as before, you’ll now have to wait while the required files are downloaded and installed. Click Start Upgrade when prompted and sit back and wait while your operating system is updated to the very latest version.

Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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