Upgrading Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS to Server 20.04 LTS (In situ)

Upgrading to Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS

Hey guys, with the release of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS server edition, i decided it was time to upgrade my home server that’s been happily running 18.04 LTS for a year or so already. I decided to do an in situ upgrade as opposed to starting from fresh. Below I outline the commands and steps needed to achieve it.

If you’d prefer to see the video, then you can find it here:

Note to update the non-server version it’s a significantly shorter process. I’m dealing with the Server version here.

First I’ll verify what version of the distro and kernel am using (more so to check against the results at the end).

Check the version:

lsb_release -a

Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description: Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS
Release: 18.04
Codename: bionic

Check the Kernel:

uname -mrs

Linux 4.15.0-96-generic x86_64

Update and upgrade the current packages in your existing installation:

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

(If you want to check what packages are eligible for upgrade, before you upgrade you can run sudo apt list –upgradable)

Then I’d advise you to reboot the system once upgraded for good practice.

sudo reboot

Once back up, remove unused packages

sudo apt –purge autoremove

Then update the ‘update manager’

sudo apt install update-manager-core

Now we can go ahead and perform the Distro upgrade

sudo do-release-upgrade -d

Note, we add the d flag to force the upgrade to a ‘supported’ release as opposed to a ‘development’ release.

This will fire off the actual downloading of the new packages. You’ll be faced with a few prompts. I had one about installing LXD, i opted for 4.0 (the recommended variant), as well as SSH config (I chose to keep my existing version as was using it to already connect).

There were a couple more prompts i hit Y to, and about 15minutes later I was asked if I wanted to reboot the system. Once rebooted, i double checked the release and kernel:

lsb_release -a

Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description: Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
Release: 20.04
Codename: focal

uname -mrs

Linux 5.4.0-26-generic x86_64

For good measure I just checked to make sure i had the latest of every package:

sudo apt-get upgrade && sudo apt-get upgrade -y

This came back all clear!

Happy ‘nixing 🙂

p.s. If you had some 3rd party repositories in your system, there’s a good chance they would have been disabled for the upgrade. if this is indeed the case, you can list the repos found here: cd /etc/apt/sources.list.d/ and then it’s a case of entering each repo and uncommenting the hash “#”.

This wasn’t the case for me.


  1. Thanks. You seem to know ubuntu I am new and did a new install it went all good. Then I install adgaurd and nextcloud. but they loaded with mo start icon. To start them. Have you any advise on what went wrong please

    1. Hi there, unfortunately it sounds like you’re using Ubuntu desktop if you’re looking for icons. I am running the server version without a desktop interface. I.e. i am doing command line. How did you install the packages? Did you use the inbuilt package manager or via some other method?

        1. So the only thing I can think about with the desktop interface is that maybe you’re running a theme or specific style on your interface that the package manager doesn’t have the corresponding icons for? It’s kind of difficult to fault find given there are so many different variables even on a “standard” install of a distro. I did a quick dig around and saw this as potential fix for missing icons. It didn’t apply to 20.04 so YMMV, but here it is:
          in systemsettings -> icons
          Select Breeze
          systemssettings -> application style -> graphic components -> icons
          Select Breeze
          systemssettings -> application style -> gnome application style(GTK)
          Select Icon theme = Breeze
          Fallback theme (IMPORTANT) = Oxygen

          See if changing the theme solves the issue (assuming you’re running something different). If you’re running completely stock out the box, then i would suggest you use the ubuntu forums. It’s a little odd though as nextcloud and adguard are widely used. Again, I only ever use ubuntu headless, so apologies for not coming up with something more concrete.

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