About having 2 or more kernels

Hi, i have a little question about having mulltiple kernels, because on blogs and youtube i see a lot of Linux users that recommend having 2 or more installed for “security”, my question is if its for a possible crash on the actual kerner you are using and then you can change to other kernel from “Grub” to continue using your Sistem, it is true? Because i actually only have the 5.15, and dont know if i must install the new 5.17 or the 5.10 for backup.

I m a newbie in linux, sorry if its an obvious question.

It depends really on what you want.I and a lot here usually have at least 2 kernels installed.Right now I have the 5.15 which is an LTS kernel and I was using 5.16 which was the latest.Now that 5.17 has been released I installed it and so far have no issues.In week or so if I have no issues I’ll delete 5.16 and use 5.17 and 5.15 as a backup in case something goes wrong.If you wish to use only LTS kernels then you could install 5.10 as a backup and stay on 5.15 as the main kernel.LTS kernels will be supported a lot longer so it really depends on what you want.


As you already presumed, it’s personal preference.

If you stick with the latest LTS kernels, you are likely to have the best experience.

Once you’re happy with an LTS kernel, you are using something “tried-and-true” for your hardware and needs. Any fancy features that you believe you’re “missing out on”, you can wait until the next LTS drops. :wink:

Good rule of thumb is to keep at least one LTS kernel besides the kernel you’re currently using.

So for example,

  • 5.15
  • 5.17 ← if you like using the latest stable, and have the latest LTS as a “backup”

Or another example,

  • 5.10
  • 5.15 ← if you prefer using the latest LTS, with an older “backup” LTS
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Personally I only use/install one kernel nowadays. I don’t even have the fallback image of this unique kernel to generate (when you install a kernel, it builds the ‘normal’ image, and it also builds a ‘fallback’ image in case the ‘normal’ image doesn’t work so you have an alternative option to boot from, with only one kernel installed). This saves so much time when installing an update in my opinion.

But indeed, the day your kernel stops working after an update (very unlikely with a LTS kernel and nothing special on the machine), then I can not select another kernel to boot from in GRUB. That is not a problem as I can always use my USB stick with Manjaro ISO on it to repair the system.

To be fair, I don’t really recall a day where I needed to boot from another kernel because something broke, which again, is very unlikely to happen on a LTS kernel, especially if you don’t do crazy things with your system like installing external packages, modifying everything in the system, using Nvidia drivers (and anyway if Nvidia breaks, it will most likely break on all kernels), things like that…

Not true on nVidia. It’s more likely the the person that built a particular kernel forgot the nVidia support so other kernels will continue to work just fine. I’m in thge two or more kernels clubhouse.

And if the driver doesn’t work for your hardware it doesn’t work on any kernel.

I have to try, because if the new 5.17 give better performance or has something for the latest intel generations, like for example my 1185g7 or have something new about battery, yes i ll try the new, but if its not, the 5.15 + 5.10 will be my choice (my hardware it isnt the latest because the 12000 laptop gen will be released this month, but its new about the “intel iris” that it has).

I have a Gtx and use pro propietary Drivers, so, shall i have at least 2 kernel “for just in case”?, i allways have 2 kernels in my main Pc for this, all this question is to optimize my laptop (only a week with him).

Yes you can install both latest LTS kernels, 5.10 and 5.15, and also install the latest ones when available (and remove them in due time, don’t forget). This doesn’t hurt, it is just taking a little bit of space on the system, the annoying thing is that the more kernels you have, the longest a kernel update takes to finish as it has to generate two images per kernel and compress them, and depending on the hardware it can adds up a lot (it also depends on your branch, Stable receives updates once or twice a month, Unstable receives daily, sometimes multiple times a day), so at the end of the day, you decide what works for you.

Has NOTHING to do with what I said.

Yes in my book.

So what are you replying to me?

It is exactly related to what you say, you said what I said is not true, it is true, if the Nvidia driver breaks, specifically on your hardware or not, then it will be broken on all kernel. It is also true that if a packager forgets the module on a kernel update it will not work on that specific kernel. However, if NVidia breaks, it will break on all kernels. I don’t know what you’re trying to argue here.

If think I could myself reply to you that what you said has nothing to do with what I replied.

Okay, i have just read about the upgrades in the 5.17 kernel and they seem to be good for my 1185g7, so i ll try it, but as you tell me, just 2 kernels, the actual 5.15 lts and the new 5.17…
Correction, i see only the “experimental”, better when they prepare a LTS o “stable” kernel; i ll use firs the “it it works, dont touch”.