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Creating an Automated Script for Apt-Get Update and Upgrade on Ubuntu

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Keeping your Ubuntu system up-to-date is crucial for its performance and security. While you can manually update and upgrade your system using the apt-get update and apt-get upgrade commands, automating this process can save you a lot of time and effort. In this article, we will walk you through the process of creating an automated script for these tasks.

Quick Answer

Creating an automated script for apt-get update and apt-get upgrade on Ubuntu is possible. By writing a simple bash script and using cron to schedule it, you can automate the process of keeping your Ubuntu system up-to-date.

Understanding the Basics

Before we start, let’s understand what these commands do:

  • apt-get update: This command fetches the package information from all configured sources – the URLs listed in your system’s /etc/apt/sources.list file. It’s essential to run this before running the apt-get upgrade command to ensure that the latest metadata is being used.
  • apt-get upgrade: This command upgrades all the installed packages on your system. It does not install or remove packages, only upgrades the ones that are already installed.

Creating the Script

Now, let’s create a simple bash script that will run these commands for us. Open your favorite text editor and type in the following:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade -y

Here, #!/bin/bash is called a shebang, which tells the system that this script should be run with bash. The -y option in apt-get upgrade -y automatically answers yes to any prompts that may come up during the upgrade process.

Save this file as in your home directory.

Making the Script Executable

To run this script, you need to make it executable. You can do this with the chmod command:

chmod +x ~/

Now, you can run the script using the following command:

sudo ./

Automating the Script

To automate this script, we can use cron, a job scheduler in Unix-like operating systems. Open the crontab file by typing:

sudo crontab -e

Add the following line to run the script daily at 2 AM:

0 2 * * * /home/username/

Don’t forget to replace “username” with your actual username.


Congratulations! You’ve just created an automated script for apt-get update and apt-get upgrade on Ubuntu. Remember, while this script is helpful, it’s always a good idea to manually check for updates and upgrades from time to time to ensure that everything is working as expected.

For more information on apt-get, you can check out the official Ubuntu documentation. For more information on cron, check out this CronHowto guide.

How often should I run the automated script for apt-get update and upgrade?

It is recommended to run the script at least once a day to ensure that your system stays up-to-date with the latest security patches and bug fixes.

Can I modify the script to include additional commands or options?

Yes, you can modify the script according to your needs. Just open the file in a text editor and add any additional commands or options you want to include. However, be cautious and ensure that the added commands are safe and won’t cause any issues with your system.

Will the script automatically install new packages?

No, the script only upgrades the packages that are already installed on your system. It does not install or remove any packages. If you want to install new packages, you need to use the apt-get install command separately.

Can I run the script manually instead of using cron?

Yes, you can run the script manually by executing the command sudo ./ in the terminal. However, using cron allows you to automate the process and ensures that your system stays updated without any manual intervention.

How can I check if the script is running successfully?

You can check the output of the script by running it manually or checking the cron logs. If the script runs without any errors and you see the output of the apt-get commands, then it is running successfully. Additionally, you can also check the package versions before and after running the script to verify if the upgrades were applied.

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