How to update debian 10.4 to newest version + packages

Im running Debian buster 10.4 how do i up grade to the newest version ** I forgot the version number ** and the security packages with it ? Im still a newbie so bare with me.

What exactly do you want to achieve? What are you running the distribution on?


From what I saw on the internet, 10.4 is the current (newest) release of Debian.
At web site
if says that “Upgrading an existing installation to this revision can be achieved by pointing the package management system at one of Debian’s many HTTP mirrors.”


10.5 was just released on 1 august (release notes). the upgrade instructions are the same as you usually use with apt update and apt upgrade or if your desktop environment has a graphical update manager that can also be used.

i make backups of my system for all updates, but would especially suggest one in your case since red hat’s (i know it’s not related to debian, but the fix was for similar issues and vulnerabilities) most recent update left some systems unbootable: always better safe than sorry.


I`m running it a standard PC Hdd. I want to upgrade to the debian 10.5 & any security updates + package updates to curent versions.

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There is a rather easy and simple solution for your situation:
Create a big backup of your whole PC setup. Once you verifiy the backup is created successfully and can be restored from, knock yourself out with upgrading, i.e. just go for it.

Wont work i got a error message permission denied.

what won’t work?

my main question though is how do you normally update your system?


apparently the issue was more widespread than i first read:

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Thats what im asking how to normally update the OS + Installed packages…Im a newbie so im not adept with the cli or linux in general.

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to update on a regular debian installation from a terminal, the first command is just:
you will then be asked for the root password. this is possibly not the password you use with your user name and password to start the system. when setting up debian you are asked to set up a separate root password for situations like this. it may be the exact same as your user password depending on what you typed in during installation.

after you have entered the correct password, your terminal will change from saying something like user@mycomputer:~$ to root@mycomputer~#. this is one visual way you have to know and check that you can run the following commands. if it does not change and the line before your command prompt still ends in an $, you will not be able to run these commands. you will get the same “permission denied” error that you saw previously.

the next command is:
apt update
it compares what is on your system to what is stored in the debian repositories and lets you know how many packages you have to upgrade.

apt upgrade
shows you a list of all of the packages that have available upgrades. at the end of that list it asks you to confirm that you want to continue the process of upgrading your system to the packages listed. at that point you would type the letter “y” or “n” then press enter to continue or not.

most members here (myself included) suggest creating some kind of backup of your system at regular intervals. if you can do so to an external disk that is all the better.

i try to make some kind of backup (timeshift is quick and easy) before any update and upgrade just in case something goes wrong. in the case of this specific update (even if you don’t understand what was covered in the BootHole warning above) you should know there is a greater chance (maybe not a huge %, but it is a possibility) that you may break your system by applying these upgrades.

it is in your best interest to backup your system.

that being said:
tl;dr (at the bottom because reading is good :nerd_face:)

enter root password
apt update
apt uprade
enter y to continue or n to stop

to return to your own user in the terminal you would type exit and then hit enter. exit or ctrl + d will close a terminal or you can close it like most windows by clicking the x in the top right- or left-hand corner.


@C.J, if your system is running well, do you really want to update your PC knowing that there is a ‘boot hole’ bug out there? It might be better to stay with 10.4 for another couple months.


I update my system whenever I feel like it, usually 3 to 4 times a week.

It doesn’t take long: sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

Each of my computers have 2 different operating systems, and all my important folders are synced between all four of my operating systems with megasync. Other than this, I never back anything up. I routinely install a new OS without backing up the contents of /home. I have never lost anything this way.

What I did once lose was most of a semester’s worth of grades during my teaching English in China period. Those grades only existed on my Toshiba laptop before I spilled a half glass of wine on the keyboard. After that they did not exist anywhere, and I became obsessive about redundancy.

But times change and now Debian 10 is nagging me about there being software available. I turned off what I usually turn off when I did the install, but it’s still nagging me.

Thank`s ill try it but do i have to use Synaptic Package Manager for anything ? Where do i get this megasync from and does it cost anything ?

I just tried before leaving the forum but it did not work - got some problem or errror but i cant post a image here so if does not violate the rules i`ll use a file upload service and post the download link here if you want me to or tell me some other way to get the image to you.

Just updated my RaspbiOS 10.4 buster (arm64) on RPi4B 8GB, to 10.5 - no dramas :

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade

My /etc/apt/sources.list :

╰─➤  sudo cat /etc/apt/sources.list                                                                            
deb buster main contrib non-free
deb buster/updates main contrib non-free
deb buster-updates main contrib non-free

and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list :

╰─➤  cat /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list 
deb buster main
# Uncomment line below then 'apt-get update' to enable 'apt-get source'
#deb-src buster main

Just to add my 2 cents here…
I also have the backports repo enabled.

deb buster-backports main contrib non-free
That line is in my sources.list too.
So for example, Calibre has some defects in the default repo, but is fully functional from the backports.
Libre Office also has newer packages there, and Muse Score 3 isn’t available at all in the default repo.
So I install the better Calibre and newer LO, and Musescore3:
apt install -y -t buster-backports musescore3 calibre libreoffice --install-recommends
That worked for me.
The backport provides newer kernel, I think it is 5.6 at the moment.
So if someone wants to use the abolutely newest available versions of packages, still stick with Buster, then I recommend updating:
sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade
sudo apt upgrade -t buster-backports
Of course, after having a complete system backup, just in case…


I don’t run Calibre on my Pi’s - but I do run it on three Ubuntu machines - and I always install the “official” latest version from their website via the recommended method :

wget -nv -O- | sudo sh /dev/stdin

First few times I took a looksee to see what’s inside shell script, but always looks okay so I now trust them… :smiley:


My main point was not Calibre, but to mention the backports repo, which contains newer, or somewhat more recent packages built for Debian. I use this repo on my x86_64 machines :slight_smile:
Calibre and Muse score were just examples - taken from real life situation in my home :smiley:
Having read this:
I’m extremely careful to install anything alien into my Debian systems.