How to upgrade to Qubes 4.1

This page explains how to upgrade from Qubes 4.0 to Qubes 4.1. There are two ways to upgrade: a clean installation or an in-place upgrade. In general, a clean installation is simpler and less error-prone, but an in-place upgrade allows you to preserve your customizations.

Back up

Before attempting either an in-place upgrade or a clean installation, we strongly recommend that you first back up your system so that you don’t lose any data.

Clean installation

If you would prefer to perform a clean installation rather than upgrading in-place:

  1. Create a backup of your current installation.
  2. Download the latest 4.1 release.
  3. Follow the installation guide to install Qubes 4.1.
  4. Restore from your backup on your new 4.1 installation.

In-place upgrade

Warning: It is not possible to upgrade directly from releases earlier than 4.0. If you’re still on an earlier release, please either perform a clean installation of 4.1 or upgrade to 4.0 first.

The upgrade may take several hours, and will download several gigabytes of data.

In place upgrade is a complex operation. For this reason, we provide a qubes-dist-upgrade tool to handle all the necessary steps automatically. You can install it with the following command in the dom0 terminal:

sudo qubes-dom0-update -y qubes-dist-upgrade

The upgrade consists of seven stages — six before restarting the system — labeled “STAGE 0” through “STAGE 5” in the options list below. The seventh stage is rebuilding the application and features lists, which you can start with the --resync-appmenus-features option.

Full list of options can be obtained with qubes-dist-upgrade --help:

Usage: qubes-dist-upgrade [OPTIONS]...

This script is used for updating current QubesOS R4.0 to R4.1.

    --double-metadata-size, -d         (STAGE 0) Double current LVM thin pool metadata size.
    --update, -t                       (STAGE 1) Update of dom0, TemplatesVM and StandaloneVM.
    --template-standalone-upgrade, -l  (STAGE 2) Upgrade templates and standalone VMs to R4.1 repository.
    --release-upgrade, -r              (STAGE 3) Update 'qubes-release' for Qubes R4.1.
    --dist-upgrade, -s                 (STAGE 4) Upgrade to Qubes R4.1 and Fedora 32 repositories.
    --setup-efi-grub, -g               (STAGE 5) Setup EFI Grub.
    --all, -a                          Execute all the above stages in one call.

    --assumeyes, -y                    Automatically answer yes for all questions.
    --usbvm, -u                        Current UsbVM defined (default 'sys-usb').
    --netvm, -n                        Current NetVM defined (default 'sys-net').
    --updatevm, -f                     Current UpdateVM defined (default 'sys-firewall').
    --skip-template-upgrade, -j        Don't upgrade TemplateVM to R4.1 repositories.
    --skip-standalone-upgrade, -k      Don't upgrade StandaloneVM to R4.1 repositories.
    --only-update                      Apply STAGE 0, 2 and resync appmenus only to
                                       selected qubes (coma separated list).
    --keep-running                     List of extra VMs to keep running during update (coma separated list).
                                       Can be useful if multiple updates proxy VMs are configured.
    --max-concurrency                  How many TemplateVM/StandaloneVM to update in parallel in STAGE 1
                                       (default 4).

    --resync-appmenus-features         Resync applications and features. To be ran individually
                                       after reboot.

After installing the tool, upgrade can be performed all at once with:

sudo qubes-dist-upgrade --all

Optionally, an --assumeyes (or -y) option can be used to automatically accept all the actions without confirmation.

Alternatively, each upgrade stage can be started separately (see the list of options above).

After completing “STAGE 0” through “STAGE 5”, restart the system. Then perform the final step:

sudo qubes-dist-upgrade --resync-appmenus-features

When this completes, you can start using Qubes OS 4.1.

Known issues

  1. The script does not convert LUKS1 to LUKS2 disk encryption format (fresh Qubes 4.1 install uses LUKS2 for disk encryption, while earlier versions use LUKS1).
  2. Early Qubes 4.0 pre-releases (before R4.0-rc2) made /boot/efi partition only 200MB, which is too small for R4.1. In case of such partition layout, clean installation is necessary.
  3. If user has created some custom qrexec policy entries, they may not be correctly handled in R4.1, resulting in denying all the calls. It is advised to verify if there are not qrexec policy errors in the log after the system restart - using journalctl -b command.

If any early upgrade stage fails, the qubes-dist-upgrade tool will try to restore previous system state. After fixing an issue, the tool can be started again, to retry the operation. If a later stage (number 3 or later) fails, the tool may not be able to rollback the changes. But it may still be possible to retry the upgrade.


After upgrading or performing a clean installation, we strongly recommend updating your system.