Upgrading a Dual-boot Fedora and other Operating System

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Upgrading Fedora

This article will cover the steps for upgrading a dual-boot Fedora/other operating system (in my case Ubuntu and Windows Vista), where the other operating system handles the GRUB Bootloader. As always the first thing you should do is back up everything. This protects you from losing your data, in case something goes wrong. Because I’ll be doing this on a live system, I won’t have screenshots for the process. However the steps and images should be the similar to a single boot installation. Because this is more complicated than a single-boot installation, I won’t go into any steps for upgrading a pre-Fedora 18 system (although it should work with Fedora 17 also). Personally I think if you’re using anything older than Fedora 16, you’re most likely better off doing a clean installation than an upgrade. But if you want to do an upgrade, you *should* be able to follow the steps for upgrading to Fedora 17/18 using pre-upgrade. But you’re doing this at your own risk.

In my particular case, the steps to upgrade follow these:

Boot into the Fedora 18 partition, and login as root (or use su).

Upgrade rpm as per the single-boot instructions

yum update rpm

Update the entire system, as per the single-boot instructions

yum -y update

Clean the yum cache, as per the single-boot instructions

yum clean all

Reboot, and check your GRUB to see if it includes the “System Upgrade (fedup)” option. If so, follow the single-boot instructions. If not, then follow these steps:

Boot into the operating system that handles GRUB (in my case Ubuntu).

Open a terminal.

If you’re using Ubuntu, you’ll update grub with sudo update-grub, otherwise you’ll follow the steps for whatever distribution you’re using.

Reboot and check GRUB to see if it includes the “System Upgrade (fedup)” option. If so, choose that. If not, repeat the above steps.

After the upgrade, the computer will reboot (at least it happened in my case). Check your GRUB to see if it’s updated for Fedora 19. If not, then you’ll have to boot into the operating system that handles GRUB and update it again.

Now you’ll be able to reboot into Fedora 19 or your other operating system(s).

Upgrading a Single Boot Installation of Fedora

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Upgrading Fedora

This article will cover the steps involved with upgrading a single boot installation of Fedora to Fedora 19. If you’re running an older version (pre- Fedora 17), you’ll have to upgrade to either Fedora 17 or Fedora 18 before you can upgrade to Fedora 19. The easiest way of doing that is with pre-upgrade (which will allow you to upgrade to Fedora 17 only) and then following these steps to upgrade using FedUp (the Fedora Update Manager).

If you’re running Fedora 17 or Fedora 18, these steps are for you. All of these steps are done using the root (or su) account. You can either do them from a text console (CTRL+Alt+F2 through F7) or from inside of Terminal in the desktop.

Step 1:

First you need to make sure that you have the latest version of rpm installed. You can do this by running

yum update rpm

Next you’ll want to do a complete update of your system. The easiest way to do this is with

yum -y update

(the -y bypasses it asking you if you want to update–assume “yes”). Check the list of updates after it’s completed to determine whether you have a new kernel or not.

After the update is complete, you’ll clean the yum cache using

yum clean all

If you had a new kernel in the list of updates, you’ll want to reboot and then login as root/su again.


After you’ve rebooted/cleaned the cache you need to install the FedUp package

yum install fedup

You’ll want at least 4 GB of free space available on your / drive. If you need to clear space do so before you start the upgrade.

When you start the upgrade, you can either use the network or iso method (network is preferred as it gets you all of the updates in one shot). To use the network option, you type

fedup-cli –network 19 (that should be two dashes – – not one long hyphen)

First, fedup will install it’s repositories and download it’s kernel images (vmlinuz-fedup and intramfs-fedup), and then it will check the updates needed. It will download these updates (I had 1,293 listed plus others afterwards) and prepare everything for the upgrade. One thing it does is change the GRUB listing to include the System Upgrade (fedup) option. When it’s ready to go, you’ll be prompted to reboot the system again. You’ll choose the System Upgrade (fedup) option to start the actual upgrade.



 Downloading Updates Screen


Ready for Reboot Screen


GRUB Bootloader Screen


The Upgrade Screen


The upgrade consists of both a graphical upgrade screen (the “f” with a progress bar) and a text-based upgrade screen (showing everything that’s happening). When it’s completed, you’ll be presented with the Fedora 19 login screen.

Installing vs. Upgrading

I’ve discussed this in the past, but it’s a topic that’s worth revisiting. There’s always a debate whenever a new version of an operating system comes out, about whether you should do a clean install or upgrade. If you’re running Windows, there’s a cost factor involved (as the upgrade disc is *usually cheaper* than a full retail disc). But if you’re running Linux, the cost is the same regardless of which way you go. Plus in Linux, depending on the distribution, you may not even need a disc, as there is an upgrade manager available to handle the download and upgrade process for you.

All things being equal, it’s better to do a complete clean installation, and then reinstall all of your applications and settings. Of course you should back up everything that you want to keep before doing this (as it will wipe everything out). In Linux, you also have the option of separating your /home directories from everything else (putting it in a separate partition). This helps to keep everything safe, and also allows you to switch between distributions without losing your data.

The reason that I, and a lot of others, advocate doing a clean installation vs. an upgrade is simple. If you’re building a new house, you start with a solid new foundation–not the old foundation that might have cracks and weak spots in it. The same thing goes for your computer. Start with a fresh installation of the operating system plus updates, and then reinstall your applications. That way everything is solid, and any misconfigurations or other bugs are not there. You can always tweak things to suit your needs later.

One other reason that a clean installation is better than an upgrade is if some of your installed programs aren’t compatible with the version you’re switching to, it could cause problems (or worse a non-booting system) during the upgrade process. By doing the clean install, you know that everything is compatible, and you’re able to choose what applications you want to install (or find alternatives for incompatible ones).

Also in some cases, you won’t have a choice. Windows Home Server (while it was available) went through a change in architecture (from 32-bit to 64-bit), so there was no upgrade path. Amahi Home Server goes through this with every release. There are no supported upgrade paths, although it *might* be possible to do it. As technologies change, architectures will be dropped. Eventually you won’t be able to install a 32-bit version at all–because the number of older computers will be small enough that it won’t be worth the trouble of spinning a version for them. In the future, the same will happen with 64-bit versions, or even versions for desktop computers.

In the past, upgrading because you had a lot of files, because you didn’t have the installers for your programs, or other reasons were valid arguments. Now with the advent of online storage, and hard drives in the Terabyte ranges, these arguments don’t really hold water. Plus you can find most installers online (especially if you downloaded them originally).

If you have opinions on why upgrading is better than a clean installation, please leave a comment about them. I’ll edit this post with the best ones (especially the ones that are hardest to debunk).

Fedora 19 Installation Guide with Screenshots

The Fedora Project recently released version 19 “Schrödinger’s Cat”, and because I may be using it to teach a course in the future (or a future release), I created an installation guide along with some screenshots. Full Disclosure, the basic outline of the guide came from an article on tecmint.com and the screenshots came from the Fedora Project’s documentation. There screenshots are a million times better than what I came up with.

Some caveats of course. You will be wiping data and applications from your computer and installing new applications. The operating system will change. If you want to dual-boot between Fedora and another operating system (most likely Windows), then you need to take some precautions before you start this guide. This guide is meant for someone who wants to wipe their computer and start over fresh.

If you’re planning on a dual- or more boot system, then my recommendation is to use one of your current operating systems to resize your hard drive. At a minimum you’ll want 25 GB of space available for Fedora (and you should know that you won’t be able to do much with that little space). Personally, I have Fedora installed on three computers as part of either dual- or triple- boot scenarios (and one as an Amahi Home Server). The minimum space that I gave Fedora was about 40 GB, knowing that I don’t plan on installing anything extra. The reason that I say to use one of your currently installed operating systems to resize the partitions is because it will definitely try to preserver your data (NOT that I don’t think Fedora would).

Also note that I’m providing download links to most (if not all) of the available versions of Fedora 19. The differences vary from the type of desktop environment that you’ll see, to whether or not you’ll even see a desktop environment.  My guide won’t go through to the actual desktop (if you want to see that, I recommend the tecmint article), so the steps will be the same regardless of which version you download (as long as you download a desktop version–not the Installation DVD or NetInstall CD).

So, without further ado, here we go:

Fedora 19 ‘Schrödinger’s Cat’ Installation Guide with Screenshots

Download Fedora 19 DVD ISO Images

Depending on which version of Fedora 19 you wish to install, you can find the downloads at the following links.

Download Fedora 19 DVD This is the complete installation DVD typically used for servers.

  1. Download Fedora 19 32-bit DVD ISO – (4.2 GB)
  2. Download Fedora 19 64-bit DVD ISO – (4.1 GB)

Fedora 19 GNOME Desktop This is the Gnome 3.x version of Fedora 19. It’s what the screenshots are based on.

  1. Download Fedora 19 GNOME Desktop 32-bit – (919 MB)
  2. Download Fedora 19 GNOME Desktop 64-bit – (951 MB)

Fedora 19 KDE Desktop This is the KDE version of Fedora 19.

  1. Download Fedora 19 KDE Live 32-Bit DVD – (843 MB)
  2. Download Fedora 19 KDE Live 64-Bit DVD – (878 MB)

Fedora 19 Xfce Desktop This is a minimalistic desktop environment. But still as effective as Gnome or KDE—just without the eye candy that they provide.

  1. Download Fedora 19 Xfce Live 32-Bit DVD – (588 MB)
  2. Download Fedora 19 Xfce Live 64-Bit DVD – (621 MB)

Fedora 19 LXDE Desktop This is another minimalistic desktop environment. It’s look is similar to the “Classic Windows” look from XP and other Windows versions.

  1. Download Fedora 19 LXDE Live 32-Bit DVD – (656 MB)
  2. Download Fedora 19 LXDE Live 64-Bit DVD – (691 MB)

Download Fedora Net-Install CD This CD provides you with the bare essentials to get started installing Fedora 19. If you do not have access to a broadband network, I don’t recommend this one.

  1. Download Fedora 19 32-bit Net-Install CD – (353 MB)
  2. Download Fedora 19 64-bit Net-Install CD – (317 MB)

Fedora 19 ‘Schrödinger’s Cat’ Installation Guide Steps

Step 1. Boot the computer with the Fedora 19 installation media. To install Fedora 19, press the ‘ENTER‘ key to Start Fedora 19, or it will start automatically. If you need specific troubleshooting options, you can choose ‘Troubleshooting’. Once Fedora 19 boots, you’ll be presented with the login screen below. You do not need to enter a password to log in at this screen. Also, if your computer goes to screensaver mode, you will be presented with this same screen.

bootscreen-livecd  livedesktop-login

Boot Fedora 19 Media Image

Step 2. Choose “Install to Hard Drive” to start the installation. Or you can choose the “Try Fedora” option to try it out, without making any changes to your computer. You’ll have to option to install from inside of the Activities menu. Either way, once you’ve decided to install Fedora 19, you’ll proceed on from here.


Choose Install Hard Drive Screen

Step 3. Select your language and click on “Continue“. You can also choose to automatically select the keyboard layout based on the language you select by clicking the appropriate check box near the bottom. If you don’t do this, you’ll have the option of choosing your keyboard layout later on.


Select Language Screen

Step 4. The next screen is the “Installation Summary” screen, where you’ll configure the location, date and time, keyboard, software packages (not available in the Live CD), network hostname, and storage. To make the changes, you’ll click on each option. If there are conflicts, you’ll see a yellow triangle and a warning at the bottom of the screen. The “Begin Installation” button will be grayed out until you’ve fixed any conflicts.


Fedora 19 Installation Summary Screen

Step 5. Date, Time and Time Zone settings.

If you need to change the Date and Time settings, click on “Date & Time” from the main summary screen. You can select your location (or a near-by city) from the drop-down lists or by clicking on the country. Then click on “Done” to return to the main summary screen. If you want Fedora to automatically update your time from Internet Time Servers, leave Network Time set to “On”, otherwise click it to turn it off. It’s recommended that you leave this on, unless you won’t be connected to the Internet.


Date and Time Zone Screen

Step 6. You’ll need to click on the “Installation Destination” option, and choose Installation destination i.e hard drive and click on ‘DONE‘. You should be prompted to select the type of installation after this. If it returns to the summary screen, come back in, and de-select then select your hard drive (by clicking on it), then click Done.


Choose Installation Drive Screen

Step 7. Next, you’ll see the Installation options, where you can view and modify your file-system as needed. In this post we will use automatic partitions. If you are dual-booting, you’ll want to review and modify your partitions manually.


Select Partition Type Screen


Manual Partition Screen (if you choose the “I want to review/modify my disk partitions before continuing” option).

Step 8. If you didn’t choose the option to automatically select your keyboard in the language settings, you can choose keyboard layout and click on ‘DONE‘.


Select Keyboard Layout Screen

Step 9. In the network configuration screen, you’ll enter your hostname and click on ‘DONE‘.


Network Configuration Screen

Step 10. Once everything is configured you can click the “Begin Installation“ button to start.


Main Summary Screen

Step 11. While the system is installing, you have the option to choose the Root password, and create a user.

Your password should follow these recommendations at a minimum to ensure security:

  • At least 8 characters in length.
  • Contains at least one upper-case character, one symbol, one number, and one lower-case character.
  • Do not use dictionary words (easily guessed) or publicly known information about yourself or people close to you (no pet names, anniversaries, nicknames, etc).


Installing Packages Screen

12. Click on Root Password to set your root password.


Add root Password Screen

Step 13. Click on User Creation to create your normal user. The recommendation is to make this user an Administrator, and create more “Standard” users after you’ve finished the installation. Otherwise, you’ll have to become “root” or “super user” in order to do any type of administrative tasks. If you follow this recommendation, you should use a “standard” user account for your normal day-to-day activities.


User Creation Screen

Step 14. Installation completed. Reboot your system after ejecting media.


Installation Completed Screen