In the future I have to upgrade several Debian 10 systems to Debian 11. The problem is: The systems have no access to the internet.

What options do I have to upgrade the system?

After some research, I found apt-offline which seemed to be suitable for this task. I tried apt-offline on a fully updated example Debian 10 in the following manner:

offline system:

  1. change the /etc/apt/sources.list from buster (Debian 10) to bullseye (Debian 11)
  2. create apt-offline.sig with : sudo apt-offline set --upgrade-type dist-upgrade apt-offline.sig

on the online system:

  1. create bundle.zip with apt-offline get --bundle bundle.zip apt-offline.sig

on the offline system:

  1. install bundle with : sudo apt-offline install bundle.zip

This does not work. apt tries to fetch packages from the internet when apt-get dist-upgrade is performed and the bundle.zip is also only 27Mb big.

It doesn't look like apt-offline is suitable for doing Debian release upgrades.

Is there any other method to perform an offline release upgrade from debian 10 to debian 11?


1 Answer 1


You can upgrade a Debian installation using downloadable images, e.g. the amd64 DVD image. You don’t need to re-install the operating system to use these; they can be used to upgrade an existing setup in the same way as repositories hosted on the Internet. The release notes contain detailed instructions; basically, you need to download the image, mount it, then run

apt-cdrom add

to have it taken into account.

You can then run apt upgrade and apt dist-upgrade as usual.

If the images you downloaded don’t contain all the packages necessary to upgrade your specific systems, you can create images containing all of Debian using Jigdo. Alternatively, you can remove the non-upgradable packages temporarily, upgrade to Debian 11, then use apt-offline to install them again.


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