Now that Fedora 13 is available, many users will be looking to upgrade from Fedora 12 to 13 in a convenient fashion. The Fedora PreUpgrade tool can help in this regard.

PreUpgrade downloads required packages to upgrade, while you continue to use your system. Because the package set might be large, or an Internet link might be slow, using PreUpgrade is useful because it doesn’t block you from using the computer while the packages are being downloaded. If it takes 24 hours to download, it doesn’t matter: you are still free to use the system.

Before beginning with any kind of upgrade, make sure that your files and data are backed up and that the backup is current. So the first step to an upgrade would be to perform a backup.

The next is to ensure you have PreUpgrade installed, which can be done by issuing the following as the root user:

# yum install preupgrade python-urlgrabber

After this, run a final yum update to ensure you have the latest package updates from Fedora 12 currently installed.

Execute the following to start the PreUpgrade GUI:

# preupgrade

This will launch a GUI assistant to help in the process of upgrading. If you are upgrading to a test release (in other words, if you are upgrading from Fedora 12 to Fedora 13 beta, like I did), select the “Display unstable test releases” checkbox; otherwise the newer final release will be listed. Select the version to upgrade to and click Apply.

At this point, wander away or continue to use the system while packages and installer images are being downloaded. This can take quite a while (just under two hours here).

Also, note that if you do not have a large enough /boot partition to store the upgrade installer image, you will want to have an active wired Ethernet connection. Upon rebooting, the stage 2 installer image will download for the upgrade to continue. When you are ready to start, hit the OK button in the PreUpgrade window.

Upon reboot, the installer will ask to configure the network and then proceed to download the required image file for the upgrade to complete. As you go through the installer, you can choose whether to do a fresh install, or an upgrade of the existing system. The upgrade will take a while, depending on the number of packages to install, but when it is finished, reboot, and your system is a fully upgraded (or newly installed) Fedora 13.

Using PreUpgrade is nice because all of the packages are downloaded before starting out, so network interruptions are not an issue, or missing packages, etc. And splitting the downloading and installing into two separate stages reduces the time that the system will be unavailable for use, in some cases, considerably (again, depending upon the speed of your internet connection).