Is it possible to move from a single boot ubuntu to single boot elementary and not have to reinstall all my applications? I'm running single boot because my laptop only has a 120 GB SSD.

I'm running ubuntu 16.04 LTS, and want to switch to loki - but it takes ages to reinstall android studio (and other programs), as my internet isn't the best. So was wondering if there's a faster way.


2 Answers 2


You should reinstall elementary to ensure that you get a fully functional system.

However, you can keep a list of the packages installed with

dpkg --get-selections > package-list-file

and backup this file and the packages in /var/cache/apt/archives so that the packages not specific to elementary OS 0.4 would not be downloaded again. This will only work if you have not done any apt-get clean / apt-get autoclean since you have installed the packages.

After the installation of elementary OS 0.4 you can copy every .deb file from you backup medium back to /var/cache/apt/archives. Do not forget to add each PPA that you have used on the original system to the new one before as well. After these steps you restore packages with

sudo dpkg --set-selections < package-list-file

There might be some packages that you have to install/fix a little but it should work for most of the software installed.


The answer is NO (as elementary OS is not an update of Ubuntu)

Nevertheless, It's possible to install pantheon (the elementary OS desktop) on top of Ubuntu. You will get a functioning desktop, but you have to remember that it's not the same as a full installation so you may get some small errors.

To install the elementary desktop do the following:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:elementary-os/stable
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install elementary-desktop`

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.