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Thread: I upgraded, and now I have this error...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Reykjavk, sland
    Xubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine

    I upgraded, and now I have this error...

    Ubuntu offers to upgrade to the next release by the push of a button. It is a convenient way of upgrading but it is also a huge process and many steps can fail, especially if the system was not stable from the beginning.

    This guide is for you, who have tried the upgrade without luck. A lot of different problems can arise from a bad upgrade, for example trouble with the screen card, a slow system, network problems, problems with mice and keyboard or a system which simply does not boot.

    A failed upgrade sometimes leads to wrong conclusions like 'The new version of Buntu has bugs' or 'The new version of Buntu does not work with my hardware'. Don't believe that before you have done more testing, most often the upgrade process itself is to blame.

    Whether or not an upgrade is generally safe compared to a clean install is not the topic. If you are reading this you probably have trouble with an upgrade and it is not relevant to know how often it works on other machines.

    The guide applies to the entire Ubuntu family (Ubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu, Kubuntu...), in short 'Buntu'. It is intended to be a low-tech step-by-step solution suitable for everyone. It does not solve all possible problems, but hopefully it serves as a first attempt. The process is:

    1 - How does the new version of Buntu work in a live boot?

    Best is to try the new version in a live boot before installing/upgrading but if the damage is done and you are sitting in a failed upgrade it's still an important test. A live boot does not change anything on the hard drive unless one decides to do so actively so there's no reason not to do it.

    If the computer is newer than around 2004 it can boot from a USB memory stick, else you need to boot from DVD. In both cases it might be necessary to set the boot order in BIOS.

    Buntu has a built-in USB creator and if you want to create the USB stick using Windows Unetbootin is recommended. Best is to download the ISO to the hard drive before running Unetbootin.

    Burning a DVD should be done with the slowest speed available. Some reports indicate that write-once DVD's work better than rewritable ones. Should the boot fail, test the DVD itself from the boot menu or try booting another machine with the DVD.

    Remember that the ISO is one big packaged file and not the installation program itself. Hence one needs to choose 'create DVD from image' or similar before burning, not transfer the ISO file itself to the DVD.

    More on booting from USB, including how to get rid of the annoying U3 software found on some USB sticks:
    In Buntu, U3 can be removed using u3-tool found in the repositories.

    Sometimes boot options (=kernel parameters) are needed in order to get a particular version running:

    The complete list of boot options is here,
    but most often one will only need the options mentioned above.

    If that does not work:

    2 - Does the machine work with other versions of Buntu?

    There are always more than one supported release of your Buntu version. They could differ regarding hardware support so don't take for granted that the newest is always best. If your first pick does not behave try some of the other releases. Never install an unsupported release, though.
    Remember that LTS is three years for X/L/Kubuntu and not five as for Ubuntu.

    The fastest way of getting an ISO is through a torrent, but you can also download them from here: or from the drop-down lists at the orange menu bar of Ubuntuforums.

    Another - and often better - solution is trying one of the other members of the family:
    Xubuntu Lubuntu Kubuntu Ubuntu

    In most cases there are workarounds for the missing hardware support, first of all the boot options mentioned above, but that is outside the scope of this guide. As a first step, ask our friend Google.

    Ubuntu used to be a light operative system, but the latest releases are heavy and put quite a demand on the graphics card. Here's a selection of advice for old hardware.

    Some people skip this point and cling to Ubuntu in stead of the other Buntus demanding it to work, no matter what, simply because it is perceived as the 'real' Buntu. This means asking for problems. Don't make up your mind before you know the options.

    If that does not work:

    3 - Is there a hardware problem on the machine?

    Bad memory blocks can give a lot of strange symptoms. When booting a live Buntu one gets the option of testing the memory. Let the test run for an hour or more and see what comes up.

    If the test indicates errors best is to take out the RAM sticks one by one and repeat the test to isolate the error. Beware of static electricity when doing this.

    Problems with keyboard and / or mice freezing are sometimes related to the BIOS. Check that you are using the newest BIOS release.

    If you have the slightest doubt of the conditions of the hard drive(s) it's a good idea to erase everything with Killdisk before installing.

    Just burn the Killdisk ISO to a CD (like with Buntu) and boot from it.

    When you are adding a used disk to the system, you should always clean it first, especially if it has been used in RAID.

    If Killdisk does not run it is likely that the hard drive has physical errors and should not be used.

    If that does not work:

    4 - Ask the forum

    If the machine still does not boot a live Buntu it is time for posting a question in the relevant forum. Remember to write everything you know of the hardware and describe thoroughly the attempts you have done. You could also try a live boot of Knoppix, Puppy or other Linux distros for comparison.

    If you are posting for the first time, take a look at this:

    Assuming that a live boot works now:
    After these steps we know that the desired version of Buntu works on the hardware in question when booted in a live environment but the attempted upgrade did not. This gives us two options: Trying to fix the problem(s) or installing a new Buntu from scratch.

    It is not possible to give advice on solving specific problems in this general guide. However, if one decides to do a clean install these are the steps:

    5 - Back up important files

    The /home directory contains user files. They must be copied to a safe location, for example a USB drive.

    /home also contains hidden configuration files and directories, indicated by a name beginning with a . (dot). Also these should be copied to the backup drive. With control + h, most file managers will show hidden files.

    In addition to this it is wise to back up /etc/X11/xorg.conf, if the file is present. If you are doing web development you probably also have important files in /var/www.

    Note: If /home sits on its own partition it is strictly speaking not necessary to back up any of its files since it is possible to delete only the other partitions and keep /home. Nevertheless, a backup is always a good precaution against Murphys Law.

    If you can, best is to physically remove the backup drive from the system before proceeding.

    If the installed system is unstable or simply FUBAR the back up can be done in a live boot.

    6 - Create space for the new installation

    If you don't want to keep anything from the hard drive just skip to the next step and let Buntu wipe the entire drive during installation.

    If the machine has one or more operative systems next to Buntu (for example Windows or Mac OS) and you want to keep it/them, boot the live CD again. Open the program Gparted and delete only the Buntu partitions.

    If you have a separate /home partition and want to keep it as described above, take care when deleting!

    7 - Installation

    Remove all unnecessary USB devices before installing but keep the internet cable attached.

    Boot with the Buntu version of your choice and follow the instructions on screen. If a question does not make sense to you just follow the defaults.

    If you have a separate /home partition check that you have not selected it to be formatted during install.

    If the normal ISO gives trouble during installation the first step is trying the alternate (text-based) ISO in stead. The finished system will be the same, the only difference is that the installation process itself has another look and feel. It used to be available for all Buntus but unfortunately it is now only available for Lubuntu.

    During install Buntu offers to add closed-source drivers automatically. Normally this is convenient but if you encounter unexplainable problems try an install without this option.

    8 - User files

    Now the new system is ready for use, and it is time to copy the user files (documents, music, film,...) back to the /home/<username> location. Keep the config files on the backup drive but don't use them unless you are absolutely sure what you are doing.

    Beware that some program pollute /home with a lot of (often hidden) garbage files which do not serve any purpose and only take up space. Because of this I recommend to copy only select files into the new /home and not the entire folder.

    Now you should have a working installation. I hope you also had fun in the process and learned something.

    Happy hacking

    Well, I get your point, but I have installed so many applications on my system that a clean install is basically out of the question.

    This goes around a lot in the fora. I believe that the wording ought to be "I have installed so many applications on my system that an online upgrade is basically out of the question". Here is why:

    A) The more modified a system is, the more you can assume that an upgrade of this particular system has not been tested by the developers.

    One of the blessings of free and open source software is the abundance of available applications. By all means give them a test, but remember that this moves your system further towards one-of-a-kind.

    If one of these applications does not run in the new Buntu release or if the upgrade of this particular application has not been thoroughly tested the whole process could fail leaving the system in a neither-nor state.

    A customisation does not need to be very exotic to disturb the upgrade. Changing drivers for the graphics card or adding a personal package archive to the Software Sources might be enough.

    B) There can be many good reasons for abandoning an old application and switching to something different.

    Default applications are not switched 'just because' in Buntu. Before changing apps a long debate is going on in the community and all arguments pro et contra have been considered. In stead of complaining that a particular app is no longer installed by default it might be worthwhile to give the successor a chance to prove its worth.

    C) Are all your applications actually needed or are they just there because you installed them once and forgot about them? For people like me who end up with a lot of unneeded applications on the system over time ('they might come in handy some day' - but seldom do), it is actually good to begin from scratch and actively select the applications rather than bringing them along to another version. If you need a list to remember what was installed in your old system it is a sure sign that you had too much.

    If you in spite of this want to keep exactly the same packages in the new Ubuntu installation there is an alternative to the online upgrade. Running the command

    dpkg --get-selections > installed-software
    gives a text file with all installed packages on the system. If you run the command on the old system you will have the option of running

    sudo dpkg --set-selections < installed-software
    sudo apt-get dselect-upgrade
    on the new system after a clean install and get the same selection of packages. Thanks to bcscomp for this suggestion.

    If you want to make a complete back-up of both applications and settings before experimenting (and an online upgrade is indeed experimenting) here is some advice:

    So... maybe I should have done a clean install, but before I flush the machine, is there one last thing I could try to get it running?

    Yes, there are some:

    1) Boot the machine (into recovery mode, if necessary) and run

    sudo apt clean
    sudo apt update
    sudo apt dist-upgrade
    Read carefully the error messages, if any. The solution might be explained here.

    If the problem is lack of space then
    sudo apt autoremove
    is worth trying.

    2) Rebuild your /etc/apt/sources.list

    Make a backup copy of the file mentioned above and build a new one using

    Select all branches, updates and third-party repositories that may have been on the system. After applying the new sources.list, run again the three apt-commands above.

    Thanks to artoonie for this idea.

    Enabling the "proposed" repository will give you access to more bug fixes but they are in an experimental stage. It could solve the problem but it could also create another one. Be careful here.

    3) Boot into an older kernel.
    In the boot proces you might see a list of available kernels. Try going through them step by step and test if one works.

    If the list does not appear by itself, repeatedly pressing left-shift early during boot will show it, provided you have the Grub 2 boot loader. If your initial install was Ubuntu 9.10 or later, you have Grub 2 - if it was older than 9.10, it is most definitely time for a reinstall.

    4) If you can boot into a command prompt but not the graphical environment, you could try the command startx.

    5) Adding boot options as described earlier in this post is also worth trying.
    Last edited by mrgs; April 25th, 2018 at 05:47 PM. Reason: Edited for 17.10

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Re: I upgraded, and now I have this error...

    I had just upgrade the new version of ubuntu and found that some of the usual.

    1. Auto hide launcher could auto hide the launcher, but cannot show back after we point the mouse to the position we selected( neither left nor top left).

    2. Some of my installed software gone and I need to reinstall them back....

    3. Firefox history been cleared.

    Please kindly consider at future patches or upgrades.

    Best regards

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    SF Bay Area
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: I upgraded, and now I have this error...

    One element which was not addressed in more details, is the /home directory in its own partition, which is the way I have been doing since early versions of ubuntu.

    In addition to the fact, personal data is more secured against unintended deletion (due to upgrades, etc.)

    I like to emphasis that, if you do go this path. it is paramount to make absolutely sure during the installation, to select the existing /home directory and let the system know, this is the /home directory, and not the default one. it is also important NOT click the FORMAT box.

    Hope it helps

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Belleville, Ontario
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: I upgraded, and now I have this error...

    great guide !!

    hope many will take time to check it out before they upgrade

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Exclamation Re: I upgraded, and now I have this error...

    Great Guide, I can only add my own experiences.

    1) Separate Home Partition - This should be MANDATORY .... Safe guarding data , simplicity etc.
    - Notes on this
    a) Do select you home partition at INSTILLATION as you default /home partition.
    b) DON'T select it to be formatted. (yes done that)
    c) Separate partition for operating system, select / as root for that partition.
    d) Pyscho cat has a selection of EXCELLENT tutorials on
    i) Creating a separate home partition UPON instillation.
    ii) Creating a separate home partition AFTER installation.
    iii) Various other tutorials of other topics.

    2) Try to figure out why, what, where who when has gone wrong, don't and issue ultimatums of leaving Ubuntu to go back to windooze !!!!!1 (I say good riddance).

    3) Search this forum and Internet search. ( I've found some solutions while searching other's), processor.nocst=1
    for P4 processor systems on linux 3.0.0-12 -> 17 solves the kernel panic issue and allows use of dual core processors.

    4) Remember the software is free, the only cost is your time and effort (oh hardware if your too foolish, not yet but trying).

    5) Try put back at least twice what you take out, if you find a solution to a hardware issue (HP laserjet 1300, use Guetenburg print setting, 4th on list) is an example of what I've found out playing with settings on my own. Cost 10 pages printed and 1 hr of time.

    Foolish thing I've done ;

    1) Creating a new user Name, and complain that Firefox loses bookmarks, installed programs are missing etc, even though using same separate home partition. IPEX-...doesn't equal ipex-... or brian for that matter.
    2) formatting separate home partition, (Brain explosion that day)
    3) Used usb 2.0 Connection for upgrade (OMF'n!!!! its sooo slow.....compared to CD)
    4) Deleted ALL kernels and wondered why it wont' boot
    5) Posted my errors here for all to SEEE!!!!!!
    Last edited by IPEX-731BA5DD06; April 29th, 2012 at 03:02 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Re: I upgraded, and now I have this error...

    Indeed I just click on the upgrade on the software updater, not redownload and format install of it. my personal data is save. Just some of the program just needed to be install again.

    Thanks for any concern.

    BTW: Before this update(1204) the auto hide launcher function good but now new version become not functioning?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Reykjavk, sland
    Xubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine

    Re: I upgraded, and now I have this error...

    Thanks for all contributions. Please keep them coming.

    I have now added more on the separate /home in the guide.
    Bringing old hardware back to life. About problems due to upgrading.
    Please visit Quick Links -> Unanswered Posts.
    Don't use this space for a list of your hardware. It only creates false hits in the search engines.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Reykjavk, sland
    Xubuntu 19.10 Eoan Ermine

    Re: I upgraded, and now I have this error...

    Quote Originally Posted by YSK View Post
    Before this update(1204) the auto hide launcher function good but now new version become not functioning?
    Bringing old hardware back to life. About problems due to upgrading.
    Please visit Quick Links -> Unanswered Posts.
    Don't use this space for a list of your hardware. It only creates false hits in the search engines.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2012

    Re: I upgraded, and now I have this error...

    I just upgraded in Virtual Box and now it goes all weird.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Ubuntu Studio 11.04 Natty Narwhal

    Re: I upgraded, and now I have this error...

    After a complete Ubuntu 12.04 upgrade, bootup message says "your screen, graphics card and input device settings could not be detected properly".
    Click on OK (the mouse cursor works) and I am asked for a login and then a password which then gives me a black screen with the command prompt.
    Only 8 hours ago I had a working 11.10 operating system which worked for the past six months without many problems apart from the flaky applications.
    Now I only have good old Windows XP.
    Ubuntu 11.04 worked sort of ok,
    Ubuntu 11.10 the printer stopped working,
    Ubuntu 12.04 the whole desktop has stopped working.
    Reverting to earlier versions via the GRUB menu shows the same problem, only the command prompt, no graphics.
    Far from upgrading, Ubuntu seems to be on a steady downward spiral over the past few releases. I have had to rely on XP more and more over the past year, it's far more robust and reliable.
    So I'm afraid it's goodbye Ubuntu and I will wipe the hard drive tomorrow. It's been interesting but I really need to do work with my computer, not tinker with it endlessly trying to get things to work.
    Ubuntu will never be universally accepted until these reliability problems are solved.
    Last edited by zaentzpantz; May 4th, 2012 at 09:04 AM.

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