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HowTo: Upgrade Red Hat Enterprise Linux to v5.5

How do I upgrade to Redhat Enterprise Linux server to v.5.5 from 5.4 or earlier version?

The new update RHEL 5.5 release features new hardware platform enablement, expanded virtualization capabilities and enhanced interoperability. You can simply upgrade it using the yum command:

WARNING! Make a backup – it cannot be stressed enough how important it is to make a backup of your system before you do this.

Most of the actions listed in this post are written with the assumption that they will be executed by the root user running the bash or any other modern shell. Type the following commands
# uname -a
# yum update

Sample outputs:

Loaded plugins: downloadonly, protectbase, rhnplugin, security, verify
0 packages excluded due to repository protections
Skipping security plugin, no data
Setting up Update Process
Resolving Dependencies
Skipping security plugin, no data
--> Running transaction check
---> Package NetworkManager.x86_64 1:0.7.0-10.el5 set to be updated
---> Package NetworkManager-glib.x86_64 1:0.7.0-10.el5 set to be updated
---> Package OpenIPMI.x86_64 0:2.0.16-7.el5 set to be updated
---> Package OpenIPMI-libs.x86_64 0:2.0.16-7.el5 set to be updated
---> Package OpenIPMI-tools.x86_64 0:2.0.16-7.el5 set to be updated
---> Package acl.x86_64 0:2.2.39-6.el5 set to be updated
--> Processing Dependency: libpoppler.so.1()(64bit) for package: poppler-utils
---> Package python-dmidecode.x86_64 0:3.10.8-4.el5 set to be updated
--> Running transaction check
--> Processing Dependency: libevent-1.1a.so.1()(64bit) for package: memcached
---> Package poppler.x86_64 0:0.5.4-4.4.el5_4.11 set to be updated
epel/filelists_db                                                                                                                      | 4.1 MB     00:09     
ksplice-uptrack/filelists                                                                                                              | 2.3 kB     00:00     
rhel-x86_64-server-5/filelists                                                                                                         |  21 MB     00:03     
rhel-x86_64-server-vt-5/filelists                                                                                                      | 207 kB     00:
 valgrind                                         i386                    1:3.5.0-1.el5                          rhel-x86_64-server-5                   20 M
 valgrind                                         x86_64                  1:3.5.0-1.el5                          rhel-x86_64-server-5                   20 M
 vconfig                                          x86_64                  1.9-3                                  rhel-x86_64-server-5                   55 k
 wpa_supplicant                                   x86_64                  1:0.5.10-9.el5                         rhel-x86_64-server-5                  260 k
 yum                                              noarch                  3.2.22-26.el5                          rhel-x86_64-server-5                  1.0 M
 yum-rhn-plugin                                   noarch                  0.5.4-15.el5                           rhel-x86_64-server-5                   59 k
 kernel                                           x86_64                  2.6.18-164.10.1.el5                    installed                              87 M
 kernel-devel                                     x86_64                  2.6.18-164.10.1.el5                    installed                              16 M
Installing for dependencies:
 libsmbclient                                     x86_64                  3.0.33-3.28.el5                        rhel-x86_64-server-5                  916 k
 python-dmidecode                                 x86_64                  3.10.8-4.el5                           rhel-x86_64-server-5                   89 k

Transaction Summary
Install      4 Package(s)         
Update     160 Package(s)         
Remove       2 Package(s)         

Total download size: 228 M
Is this ok [y/N]:
output truncated 

Reboot the server:
# reboot
Verify everything is working:
# uname -a
Sample outputs:

Linux www54.nixcraft.net.in 2.6.18-194.el5 #1 SMP Tue Mar 16 21:52:39 EDT 2010 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

See /etc/redhat-release file, enter:
# cat /etc/redhat-release

Red Hat Enterprise Linux Server release 5.5 (Tikanga)

Verify that ports are open and all services are running:
# netstat -tulpn
# tail -f /var/log/messages
# tail -f /path/to/log/file


man yum

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{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Anonymous March 31, 2010, 1:45 pm

    what? yum update and that’s it???

  • nixCraft March 31, 2010, 1:47 pm

    Yes, all you’ve to do is type one single command and you are done.

  • Anonymous March 31, 2010, 2:08 pm

    question then, if I’m running CentOS 5.2.. I can just keep yum updating all the way up to 5.5? I’ve always assumed you had to do much more work than that to go from release to release with CentOS. Is CentOS a ‘rolling release’?

  • nixCraft March 31, 2010, 2:11 pm

    CentOS will roll out them within 3-4 weeks time. Once rolled out simply type the same command.


  • Mortified penguin March 31, 2010, 3:27 pm

    Vivek, I think you should’ve mentioned that the yum update command works only if you have a valid RedHat Network subscription and if your repository list is configured properly… the command will never work if RHEL is not able to connect to Red Hat’s servers

    • est June 8, 2010, 10:26 pm

      A coworker saids that by inserting apel,rpmforge and utterramblings repos they will take care of RHEL updates/upgrades without RHN support.
      Is that true?


  • nixCraft March 31, 2010, 4:12 pm

    We have 100s of server running nothing bur RHEL 4 and 5 with our own proxy server. Some of my clients have over 2k+ server running nothing but RHEL. Why anyone will install RHEL with RHN (which provides security update) is beyond me? If you cannot afford RHEL go for Centos.

    • Zaf May 5, 2010, 10:16 pm

      Did you mean “without RHN” ? ;)

  • cnemelka March 31, 2010, 6:01 pm

    This process is broken (again).

    Error: failed to retrieve repodata/filelists.xml.gz from rhel-x86_64-server-5
    error was [Errno -1] Metadata file does not match checksum

  • cnemelka March 31, 2010, 6:07 pm

    Not sure I understand your point.

    “We have 100s of server running nothing bur RHEL 4 and 5 with our own proxy server. Some of my clients have over 2k+ server running nothing but RHEL. Why anyone will install RHEL with RHN (which provides security update) is beyond me? If you cannot afford RHEL go for Centos.”

    Can you elaborate? Are you against installing RHEL with RHN?

  • Jalal Hajigholamali April 5, 2010, 2:51 am


    Can i use “apt-get” ?

  • Charlie April 20, 2010, 2:33 pm

    Can I use apt-get?

    No. Unless you really like horribly broken systems that have two conflicting package management systems stepping all over each other.

    If you insist on using apt, you should run a dpkg based system like Debian or Ubuntu. If you are going to use an RPM based system like Centos, Red Hat, or SuSe use tools based on RPM.

  • Jalal Hajigholamali April 21, 2010, 2:49 am


    I Have installed Redhat 5.4, can i upgrade my server to CENTOS 5.5 ?

    • Zaf May 5, 2010, 10:15 pm

      Nop. You remove RH and then install CentOS 5.5

  • MPerkins June 7, 2010, 2:40 pm

    Will this method work even if upgrading between major versions (i.e. version 4 to version 5)?

    • Jalal Hajigholamali June 9, 2010, 3:26 am

      I think no problem and you can upgrade

  • kumar July 20, 2011, 8:07 pm

    hi ,

    i use this (yum update)command this is automatically updated 5.4 to 5.6… but i want 5.5 .. any solution ?

  • Bilal August 24, 2011, 6:57 pm

    hello…is it possible to purchase the 5.5 update package individually?…


  • Prashant September 29, 2011, 6:19 am

    Can i upgrade my production server from RHEL4.4 to RHEL4.9 without affecting my running applications.


  • SALIM October 4, 2011, 7:16 am

    how to upgrade redhat el4 to redhat el5 .
    i boot g
    from the el5 cd unfourtunatilry i didnt find upguarade option .. what we will do this situtaion kindly help us on this

  • Umair December 9, 2012, 12:10 pm

    Dear I have following your tutorials for some time. And this is my first request. So please do it

    Please make tutorial on how to update

    1: Redhat 5.5 to Desired release

    2: Upgrade it to latest release let say 5.5 to 6


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