Ubuntu 14.04 w/kernel 4.4 on a dual boot system (Linux/W10)

Hello!
Yesterday I got the system warning from the Updater that there's an important security update, and I OKed it and post factum I realized that it was actually an automated kernel upgrade. I also keep on getting messages from the system that I can upgrade to 16.04, but I choose not to for now and one of the main reason is that I'm afraid that PHP7 (which is the default for 16.04) won't do any good to my Joomla script that is hosted on a LAMP stack. Not the Joomla itself, which is compatible with PHP7, but what comes with it together. I checked and I'm still on 14.04, PHP 5.5 which is good. Now there are my couple of questions, regarding the situation:
1) What's the advantages of running 14.04 specifically on a new kernel version?
2) Do I have systemd? I think I don't, but I'm not sure. But what I did notice is that now I don't have this boot issue that kinda corrected itself after the kernel upgrade. I mean, I used to have this annoying problem of system not booting properly the first time I turn on the PC. Only after the reboot, I used to get to the Ubuntu login screen. The first time the system used to be dropped into a BusyBox shell environment. So could there be a direct connection between boot process and the new kernel? Does a kernel upgrade can really change it? So far it looks like it, though I've only been booting the system a couple of time, so it might be too early to tell.
Member_2_7970041Asked:
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rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
New kernels generally add support for new hardware, and they can also patch security holes that have been discovered in the older version.

When the new kernel is installed, Grub gets reconfigured and updated so the new kernel is booted to first. That could have fixed your boot problem. Ubuntu add the new kernel to the boot menu and puts it at the top of the boot order. Previous kernels are kept but moved down (you can still boot to older kernels when you select the advanced options in the Grub menu).
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Roger WilkoCommented:
I agree to RindiĀ“s answer. But new kernels do not interfere directly with the software installed, furthermore you can choose the version of a program you want to keep or even downgrade it. This comes with the packaging system "dpkg" on debian based derivates. There are several possibilities to keep your software version, even you upgrade other packages or the kernel. Updating the kernel is generally a good idea, to fix security issues, stabilize the system and get new hardware support.

You might lock the version of the specific package by using command, preventing automatic upgrades:
apt-mark hold <package-name>

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Install specific version of a package (even downgrade):
apt-get install <package-name>=<package-version-number>

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You want to find out available packages, try:
apt-cache showpkg <package-name>

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or
apt-cache policy <package-name>

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Or you install alternative versions of a package an toggle it with update-alternatives:
https://wiki.debian.org/DebianAlternatives

Greetings
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