How to Shift from Debian Stable to Debian Testing

Debian Testing is the coming release of Debian for which the development team is working. Additionally, the most latest software packages are included and new features are continuously being developed. If one is interested to know the new added features in the coming release of Debian, then they should install the Debian Testing. 

The three versions of Debian are stable, testing, and unstable. This guide will walk through the steps by which Debian Stable can be shifted to Debian Testing. 

What is the Difference Between Debian Stable and Debian Testing?

Differences between the Debian Stable and Debian Testing have been shown in the table below. 

FeaturesDebian StableDebian Testing
Release CycleIt releases after 2-3 yearsIt changes in an irregular period by adding new updates and features
SoftwaresIt includes the pretty old versions of software making sure that these are stableIt includes the latest versions of the packages regardless of their stability
Target CommunityIt is used by students, businessmen, and for playing gamesIt is used by the developers

How Do You Go from Debian Stable to Debian Testing?

If one is planning to shift from the Debian Stable to Debian Testing, then follow the below-mentioned easy steps. 

Step 1: Open the Terminal

First, open the terminal using the shortcut key of CTRL+ALT+T to run the commands:

Step 2: Backup the Data

It is suggested to backup the data of the computer by running the command:

$ rsync -a --progress /home/vboxuser/ /home/Documents/

If the rsync command is not installed, then run the command:

$ sudo apt install rsync -y

Step 3: Open the sources.list File 

Using the nano text editor, open the packages configuration file of the Debian:

$ sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Step 4: Edit the Configuration File

Now edit the configuration file of the sources.list by replacing the “bookworm” with “testing” as shown below:

Save the file with the CTRL+S and then close the nano text editor using the CTRL+X.

Step 5: Update the Package

Update all the packages of the testing repository with the execution of the command:

$ sudo apt update

Step 6: Upgrade the Packages

Upgrade the packages whose updates are available:

$ sudo apt upgrade -y && sudo apt dist-upgrade -y

Click on the “Ok” option:

Click on the “No” to restart it later:

Again click on “Ok” to restart the NSS:

Step 7: Reboot the Debian

After upgrading the packages, restart the Debian:

$ sudo reboot

Step 8: Display the Release

To confirm the successful transition from Debian Stable to Debian Testing, display the installed release:

$ lsb_release -a

These are the steps by which Debian Stable is shifted to Debian Testing.


To shift from Debian Stable to Debian Testing, open the sources.list file and replace the “bookworm” with “testing”. Then update the packages with the available updates. Verify the changes by displaying the release of the installed Debian. All the steps involved in the transition of the Debian Stable to Debian Testing have been demonstrated in this article.