Appendix A. Upgrading Your Current System

This appendix explains the various methods available for upgrading your Red Hat Enterprise Linux system.

A.1. Determining Whether to Upgrade or Re-Install

Although upgrades are supported from Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, you are more likely to have a consistent experience by backing up your data and then installing this release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 over your previous Red Hat Enterprise Linux installation.

This recommended reinstallation method helps to ensure the best system stability possible.

For more information about re-installing your Red Hat Enterprise Linux system, refer to the Technical Whitepapers available online at

If you currently use Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, you can perform a traditional, installation program-based upgrade.

However, before you chose to upgrade your system, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

Upgrading your system installs the modular 2.6.x kernel as well as updated versions of the packages which are currently installed on your system.

The upgrade process preserves existing configuration files by renaming them with an .rpmsave extension (for example, The upgrade process also creates a log of its actions in /root/upgrade.log.


As software evolves, configuration file formats can change. It is very important to carefully compare your original configuration files to the new files before integrating your changes.


It is always a good idea to back up any data that you have on your systems. For example, if you are upgrading or creating a dual-boot system, you should back up any data you wish to keep on your hard drive(s). Mistakes do happen and can result in the loss of all of your data.

Some upgraded packages may require the installation of other packages for proper operation. If you choose to customize your packages to upgrade, you may be required to resolve dependency problems. Otherwise, the upgrade procedure takes care of these dependencies, but it may need to install additional packages which are not on your system.

Depending on how you have partitioned your system, the upgrade program may prompt you to add an additional swap file. If the upgrade program does not detect a swap file that equals twice your RAM, it asks you if you would like to add a new swap file. If your system does not have a lot of RAM (less than 128 MB), it is recommended that you add this swap file.