How to Install Specific Kernel Version Ubuntu?

How to Install a Specific Kernel Version in Ubuntu

Are you looking to enhance your Ubuntu system’s performance or compatibility with specific software? One way to achieve this is by installing a specific kernel version. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of installing a specific kernel version in Ubuntu. This tutorial is suitable for users with varying levels of experience, from beginners to advanced users. So, let’s dive into the world of kernel versions and learn how to customize your Ubuntu system.

Understanding Kernel Versions

Before we delve into the installation process, it’s essential to understand what kernel versions are and why they matter. The kernel is the core of your operating system, responsible for managing hardware resources and enabling communication between software and hardware components. Kernel versions represent different releases of the Linux kernel, with each version offering various improvements, bug fixes, and features.

Choosing the Right Kernel Version

Selecting the right kernel version is crucial as it can significantly impact your system’s stability, performance, and compatibility. Consider your specific needs when choosing a kernel version. If you require the latest features and hardware support, a newer kernel may be suitable. However, if stability is your top priority, an older, well-tested kernel may be a better choice.

Checking Current Kernel Version

Before proceeding, you should check your current kernel version to ensure you’re aware of the changes you’re making. Open a terminal and enter the following command:

uname -r

This will display your current kernel version.

Backup Your Data

Before making any changes to your system, it’s wise to back up your data. While kernel installations typically go smoothly, there’s always a slim chance of something going wrong, and having a backup ensures you won’t lose any critical data.

Update Package Lists

To ensure you have access to the latest software packages, update your package lists by running:

sudo apt update

This step is essential to prevent potential conflicts during the installation process.

Install Dependencies

Certain packages and tools are required for kernel compilation and installation. Install them by running:

sudo apt install build-essential libncurses-dev bison flex libssl-dev libelf-dev

These dependencies are necessary for compiling the kernel from source code.

Downloading the Desired Kernel Version

Now, it’s time to obtain the specific kernel version you want to install. Visit the official Linux kernel website ( to download the source code for your desired version.

Compiling the Kernel

Compiling the kernel from source code is a crucial step in the installation process. This step allows you to customize the kernel to meet your system’s requirements. To compile the kernel, follow these steps:

  1. Extract the downloaded source code archive.
  2. Navigate to the extracted directory.
  3. Configure the kernel using the following command:
make menuconfig

This command opens a text-based configuration menu, allowing you to customize kernel options.

  1. Save your configuration and exit the menu.

Installing the New Kernel

Once you’ve configured the kernel, it’s time to compile and install it. Run the following commands:

sudo make modules_install
sudo make install

These commands compile the kernel, install kernel modules, and install the kernel itself.

Configuring Boot Loader

To ensure that your system boots with the new kernel, update your bootloader configuration. Run:

sudo update-initramfs -c -k <your-new-kernel-version>
sudo update-grub

Replace <your-new-kernel-version> with the version you installed.

Testing the New Kernel

After installation, it’s essential to test the new kernel to verify that everything is functioning correctly. Reboot your system and select the newly installed kernel from the bootloader menu.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If you encounter issues during or after kernel installation, refer to the following troubleshooting tips:

  • If your system doesn’t boot after kernel installation, try booting into a previous kernel version and recheck your installation steps.
  • It’s generally safe to remove old kernel versions to free up disk space, but keep at least one previous version for backup.
  • Kernel updates can improve system stability and security, so consider updating when new versions are available.

Optimizing Kernel Settings

To further optimize your kernel settings for your specific needs, you can explore various configuration options in the kernel configuration menu (make menuconfig) discussed earlier.

Security Considerations

Keeping your kernel up-to-date is essential for system security. Kernel updates often include patches for vulnerabilities, so be sure to regularly check for and install new kernel versions.


In this guide, we’ve explored the process of installing a specific kernel version in Ubuntu. By understanding kernel versions, choosing the right one, and following the installation steps, you can customize your system to better suit your needs. Remember to back up your data, follow best practices, and stay up-to-date with kernel updates for a secure and optimized Ubuntu experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I install multiple kernel versions in Ubuntu?

Yes, you can have multiple kernel versions installed on your system. This allows you to switch between them if needed.

What should I do if my system doesn’t boot after kernel installation?

If your system fails to boot after installing a new kernel, try booting into a previous kernel version and recheck your installation steps.

Is it safe to remove old kernel versions?

It’s generally safe to remove old kernel versions to free up disk space, but keep at least one previous version for backup.

How often should I update my kernel?

It’s a good practice to update your kernel when new versions are available to ensure system stability and security.

Can I switch back to the previous kernel version if needed?

Yes, you can switch to a previous kernel version from the bootloader menu if you encounter issues with the new kernel.

Do kernel updates improve system stability?

Yes, kernel updates often include bug fixes and security patches, contributing to improved system stability.

How to install specific kernel version Ubuntu?

You can install a specific kernel version on Ubuntu using the “apt-get” command with the “install” option followed by the desired kernel version package name.

How to install Linux kernel on Ubuntu?

To install the latest Linux kernel on Ubuntu, you can use the “apt-get” command with the “install” option followed by the “linux-image-generic” package.

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