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I'm try to upgrade a debian system to 2.6 64 bit kernel with the command

aptitude install linux-image-2.6.32-5-amd64

which works fine.

The system reboots, /vmlinuz -> boot/vmlinuz-2.6.32-5-amd64

all good

however uname -a returns

Linux hostname 2.6.32-5-686 #1 SMP Sun May 6 04:01:19 UTC 2012 i686 GNU/Linux

Am I missing something or is this correct?

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2 Answers

One does not simply install a 64-bit kernel to change a 32-bit installation to a 64-bit installation. You usually have to completely reinstall the system.

That said, the Debian Wiki has a workaround which can be used to migrate 32 to 64-bit on a live system, but it looks hairy enough that I'd probably just reinstall.

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I was looking at this, which seemed to suggest that the upgrade of the kernel would lead to uname giving a different result. –  mark Sep 25 '12 at 19:46
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up vote 0 down vote accepted

In case anyone else suffers this problem, I just needed to force grub to reconfigure (I had assumed that happened as part of the new kernel install). So

grub-mkconfig -o /boot/grub/grub.cfg

Then the new 64 bit kernel appeared and I could boot from it. After that, a query of uname -a did indeed return x86_64

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