How to upgrade Kernel on Linux Desktop


In this article we will cover the process how to upgrade Linux kernel on Linux Desktop. This will be a step by step tutorial. We will first do the process of upgrading the kernel on Linux Mint, Ubuntu, Debian and Debian based distros. We’ll show you multiple ways how to upgrade the Linux kernel(via system app, third party app and command line). There’s also a process where you download the Kernel package on your PC and manually install it - that process requires to compile the kernel, but we will cover that some other time since the procedure has many steps to go through.  Also, before proceeding with the process, please backup any important data.

Upgrade Kernel on Linux Mint

You can upgrade the Linux kernel on Linux mint with it’s update manager app. In the start menu, type in - update manager. The first result should be the app. Update manager app by default runs in the system tray, right beside the clock and battery indicator and it will notify you for any new updates, that also includes the Linux kernel update. When you run the update manager, in the center of the window will be a list of updates that needs to be done and one of them will be Linux kernel as well.

upgrade kernel on linux

Go to the view menu and click on the option - Linux kernels. A new window will open in which will be displayed installed versions of the Linux kernel and a new versions which came out.  Select which version you want to install and then click on the Install button.  When the installation is complete, restart your PC. This is the method of installing kernel using the system update manager.

upgrade kernel on linux

upgrade kernel on linux

upgrade kernel on linux

Upgrade Kernel in terminal using command line

Another way of upgrading the kernel is with a command line using the terminal. The process is simple and quite straightforward.  Run the terminal. You can run it with Ctrl+Alt+T keyboard combination or just search for terminal in the start menu. We need to these commands:

sudo apt update

sudo apt dist-upgrade

After the upgrade is done, restart your PC. The commands will by default, upgrade kernel to the version which has the longer date of support and which is not in beta. You can check in the system update manager which version of kernel is that.

Upgrade Linux Kernel using the update utility UKUU

Ukuu(Ubuntu Kernel update utiliy) is a pretty useful tool. It’s a simple tool in which you install, uninstall, upgrade or delete kernels from your system. The process of upgrading the kernel using ukuu is also quite simple. Of course, we first need to install the utility. So, run the terminal and use these commands in order to install the ukuu utiliy:

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:teejee2008/ppa

sudo apt update

sudo apt install ukuu

Start the ukuu. Utility will first scan for all kernel versions and display it. You’ll then get a list of all discovered kernel versions, including the new ones, of course. Then just select the kernel you want to install and click on the install button.

upgrade kernel on linux

Upgrade Kernel in Ubuntu

Linux mint and Ubuntu are practically the same OS. To be precise, Linux Mint is based of Ubuntu. That means - all the steps and procedures for upgrading the kernel, which we covered for Linux Mint, they also apply for Ubuntu as well. So, you can just do the same process for Linux Mint on Ubuntu to upgrade the kernel. Only difference is that Ubuntu doesn’t have a Kernel update utility in it’s software manager like Mint. That means we can upgrade Kernel in Ubuntu using commands in terminal or with software like UKUU.

Upgrade Kernel on Debian

Process of upgrading Kernel in Debian is mainly focused using terminal. One way to upgrade the kernel is to upgrade from Debian repositories and to install the kernel which is Debian supported. To do that, start the terminal and use these commands:

sudo apt-cache search linux-image

sudo apt-get install linux-image-flavour

You’ll get a list of kernels in the output(see picture bellow). Note, when you need to run the install command, instead of flavour command, type in the kernel version and it’s name. Another thing that must be noted is that these kernel version will not be newest ones but they’re supported by Debian on a long term.

upgrade kernel on linux

Upgrading Kernel with aptitude

If you want to install a newer version of the kernel, you can do that as well. This procedure requires few more steps. For this procedure it is also required to have aptitude installed. If you don’t have it installed, you can install it by typing in the command:

sudo apt install aptitude

The next step is to add the Debian backports.  To add the Debian backports, we need to update our sources list file. One way to do it is by using the text editor and editing the  file. Run the command:

sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

When you open the file, add these two backport source links:

deb buster-backports main
deb-src buster-backports main

These backports links are for Debian Stretch or Debian version 9.7. If you have an older version of Debian, just change the name of the distro version in the backport link. Once you added the links in the source file, save the file and exit - Ctrl+O, hit Enter and Ctrl+X.

upgrade kernel on linux

Next we need to is to run the update command in order for system to acquire the info from the new sources about kernel images. Run the command:

sudo apt update

Also, it is recommended to upgrade all installed packages before upgrading the kernel. Now we can use aptitude to view all available kernel version which we can install. Run the command:

aptitude search linux-image

upgrade kernel on linux

Once you decide on which kernel version to install - run the command:

sudo aptitude install linux-image-4.19.0-0.bpo.1-amd64

This command will install the first Linux kernel available from sources list we got. If you want to install some other version, just change the version of the kernel after linux-image line. Once the installation is complete, restart your PC.


We showcased the steps how to upgrade kernel on Linux Desktop distros. The main focus was to show the steps how to upgrade the kernel on desktop Linux distros, but the methods with the command line using the terminal can also be used for the servers as well with the same distros.

Thank you for your time…