How To Upgrade From Debian 9 Stretch To Debian 10 Buster

There are a lot of servers that run on Debian. It has only been a month since Debian 10 Buster was released in the stable branch of Debian. Before we start upgrading from Debian 9 Stretch to Debian 10 Buster, it is recommended to have a full system backup.

How To Upgrade From Debian 9 Stretch To Debian 10 Buster

If you prefer watching a step-by-step tutorial, I have explained everything below:

How To Upgrade From Debian 9 To 10
Hey buddy, this video will be about upgrading Debian workstations and servers from Debian 9 stretch to Debian 10 buster. This video will also help you if you...

Getting The Repositories

Debian stores it's repositories in the file /etc/apt/sources.list. This file should be updated to contain Debian 10 Buster's repositories. is a website where one can customise the repositories list that will be inserted into this file.

If you are on a 64-bit installation of Debian, here are the repositories that are need to be inserted to upgrade from Debian 9 Stretch to Debian 10 Buster.

deb [arch=amd64] buster main contrib non-free
deb-src [arch=amd64] buster main contrib non-free

deb [arch=amd64] buster-updates main contrib non-free
deb-src [arch=amd64] buster-updates main contrib non-free

deb [arch=amd64] buster/updates main contrib non-free
deb-src [arch=amd64] buster/updates main contrib non-free

Installing The Repositories

Login to the root account, as editing the file /etc/apt/sources.list is not allowed by any other user.

sudo -i

Instead of deleting the file and creating a new one, echoing an empty string of text is recommended, due to file permission and ownership issues.

echo "" > /etc/apt/sources.list

Now open the file with a text editor of your choice and paste the copied repositories list. For example, to use nano editor, run the below command.

nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Once the new repositories list has been installed, let's logout of the root user.


Upgrading Debian

Upgrading Debian is done in three steps, to download the new package database.

sudo apt update

To upgrade all the packages that aren't the core system run the command.

sudo apt upgrade

Now, to finally update the core system packages run the command.

sudo apt dist-upgrade


Debian 10 Buster has the new and updated GNOME 3.30, KDE Plasma 5.14, Cinnamon 3.8, MATE 1.20 and Xfce 4.12. There are many more software packages that received updates, security patches and bug fixes.

Image by Yash Arya.