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This article intends to be a hands-on tutorial. You can read all the links in this article to get a general knowledge and then follow the movies in particular to see what I personally did to my computers.

There is no need to get to geeky. But a general background information does not hurt.

Every Linux system runs on a kernel. And the kernel is a a layer between the software and the hardware it is running on.


Linux distributions follow the development of these new kernels at by the team of Linus Torvalds.

I do not believe in rewriting articles from all over the net, so check out the following articles to know more :

If you are ready to try this for yourself, first backup.


Why upgrading a kernel?

  1. security fixes
  2. stability
  3. updated drivers
  4. increased speed
  5. new kernel functions

Source : Makeuseof

Personally I had problems with my Ubuntu 14.10 utopic on two computers. It could be a kernel issue but also an Nvidia driver problem or both. Updating both kernel and nvidia driver did the trick !

The movies are about my Linux Mint 17.1 cinnamon installation. Distro’s (Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint, … are actually not important since all linux computers run on some version of the kernel from

Want to take a look at all the possible kernels, we will need it lateron.

 Start :    Kernel      End : Kernel 3.17.8.

Episode 1

In Linux Mint you have an easy way to check and install your linux kernels.

This is the “MINT way”. Non geeky way.

In order to be in full control of how I boot, we will install the grub-customizer tool. It makes changing grub so easy and graphical. Alternative is going to the command-line and typing in commands. Shown in the movie.

Download and install the grub-customizer tool by typing commands in the terminal window. Line per line.

Open a terminal via menu and look for terminal or use the shortcut CTRL + ALT +T.
In this black screen you copy/paste the code via RIGHT MOUSE CLICK and paste.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:danielrichter2007/grub-customizer
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install grub-customizer

Check in the general setting  that “show menu” is activated.



Episode 2

After reboot we are already in a higher version of the kernel i.e. 3.16.0-31

We check our version of the kernel by typing in the terminal :

uname -a

or we could install a very interesting program “inxi”.

Install this very handy program via terminal.

Open a terminal via menu and look for terminal or use the shortcut CTRL + ALT +T.

In this black screen you copy/paste the code via RIGHT MOUSE CLICK and paste.

sudo apt-get install inxi

Furthermore we are showing how Linux Mint will provide us with a program to install a higher (hopefully better performing) driver for the graphic card. We are talking about Nvidia  and Ati.

Look for it in the menu.  Choose the recommended version for your configuration.

Episode 3

Checking the results of our efforts.  Nvidia drivers installed?

If you are still experiencing troubles with your graphic card. Strange windows, not synchronized typing, parts of windows appear and disappear, check out this source. The special repository helped in my case.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
sudo apt-get update

Then you type in the terminal

sudo apt-get install nvidia-

Now press TAB and you will see all possible versions. Check on Nvidia what driver is recommended for your card. Inxi will tell you which card you have.

Episode 4

Let us upgrade to an even higher kernel ie. 3.17.1. This time NOT via the easy MINT WAY but via terminal.

Download the appropriate files from this website.

See to it that your download folder is empty.

You will end up with three files.

Choose AMD64 for 64 bits and i386 for 32 bits computers.

sudo dpkg  -i linux*

You can see in the movie that you can change grub the way you want it. Grub = booting process.


Episode 5

Kernel 3.17.1 has been successfully installed.

Nvidia drivers are working.

Episode 6

Why not try out the very very very latest of all kernels? We just saw we can recover from a not working kernel.

Latest is kernel 4.0.0 at moment of writing, which is still under development hence RC = Release candidate.

We download the appropriate files for 64 bits architecture and hope for the best.



Episode 7

Kernel 4.0 did not work on this computer.

At boot choosing old kernel 3.17.1. That works just fine.

How to uninstall this wrong kernel 4.0? It is not available in mintupdate.

Via terminal you can remove it again. (1:20)

Episode 8

Retrying with an even higher kernel. Going for 3.18 but without success. The movie starts with removing the wrong kernel.

We do not see how it is installed but we get to see how we can remove it the easy way – the mint way.


Episode 9

Trying the installment of the kernel 3.17.8. One last time…


Episode 10

Latest kernel is 3.17.8 with success installed.


Edit of March, 24 2015.

On 18th of March a new kernel was published on the website

Tried to install this kernel on both computers with success.


I choose the following kernel files as I have a 64 bits cpu (3 files).



Make sure your download folder is empty.

sudo dpkg -i linux*

There was however a need to update the nvidia drivers to a higher version. Cinnamon crashed after login.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:xorg-edgers/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nvidia-340

At the time of writing the version nvidia-346 was also available but not tested.


So in the end the latest stable kernel worked 3.19.2 !!