# Upgrading NetBSD
This chapter describes the binary upgrade of a NetBSD system. There are a
variety of alternatives to perform this procedure, and the following sections
will guide you through them.
## Using sysinst
To do the upgrade, you must have some form of bootable media (CD-ROM, USB
drive, network, etc.) available and at least the base and kern distribution
sets. Since files already installed on the system are overwritten in place,
you only need additional free space for files which weren't previously
installed or to account for growth of the sets between releases. Usually this
is not more than a few megabytes.
Since upgrading involves replacing the kernel, boot blocks, and most of the
system binaries, it has the potential to cause data loss. Before beginning,
you are strongly advised to back up any important data on the NetBSD partition
or on any other partitions on your disk, most importantly `/etc`.
The upgrade procedure is similar to an installation, but without the hard disk
partitioning. sysinst will attempt to merge the settings stored in your `/etc`
directory with the new version of NetBSD. Also, file systems are checked
before unpacking the sets. Fetching the binary sets is done in the same manner
as in the installation procedure.
### The INSTALL document
Before doing an upgrade it is essential to read the release information and
upgrading notes in one of the `INSTALL` files: this is the official
description of the upgrade procedure, with platform specific information and
important details. It can be found in the root directory of the NetBSD release
(on the install CD or on the FTP server).
It is advisable to print the INSTALL document out. It is available in four
formats: `.txt`, `.ps`, `.more`, and `.html`.
### Performing the upgrade
The following section provides an overview of the binary upgrade process. Most
of the following sysinst dialogs are similar to those of the installation
process. More verbose descriptions and explanations of the dialogs are
available in [[Example installation|guide/exinst]].
After selecting the installation language and the keyboard type, the main menu
appears. Choosing option `b: Upgrade NetBSD on a hard disk` will start the the
![Starting the upgrade](../install-5.0/up-main.png)
This dialog will request permission to continue with the upgrade. At this point
nothing has been changed yet and the upgrade can still be cancelled. This is a
good time to ask yourself whether you have made a backup, and if you know for
certain that you will be able to restore from it.
![Continuing the upgrade](../install-5.0/up-confirm.png)
After choosing to continue with `Yes`, the next dialog will ask you to specify
the hard disk with the NetBSD system that shall be upgraded. If more than one
disk is available a list of the disks will be displayed.
![Choosing the hard drive](../install-5.0/up-select-disc.png)
The system used for the example has only one hard disk available: `wd0`.
The following dialog provides a menu to choose the installation type. The
choices are `Full installation`, `Minimal installation`, or `Custom
![Choosing the distribution filesets](../install-5.0/inst-install-type.png)
At this point, sysinst will perform a check of the file system to ensure its
![File system check](../install-5.0/up-fsck.png)
The next step is to choose which type of bootblocks to install.
The next dialog will ask how much information should be displayed during the
extraction of the distribution sets.
![Upgrade process - verbosity level](../install-5.0/inst-verbosity.png)
The following dialog asks for the install method of choice and provides a list
of possible options. The install medium contains the new NetBSD distribution
sets. You will be prompted for different information depending on which option
you choose. For example, a CD-ROM or DVD install requires you to specify which
device to use and which directory the sets are in, while an FTP install
requires you to configure your network and specify the hostname of an FTP
server. More details can be found in
[[Choosing the installation media|guide/exinst#choosing_the_installation_media]].
sysinst will now unpack the distribution sets, replacing your old binaries.
After unpacking these sets, it runs the postinstall script to clean up various
things. If no problems occur, you are done. If postinstall produces errors, you
will have to manually resolve the issues it brings up. See postinstall's man
page for more information. You should also read the remarks in `INSTALL` about
upgrading, as specific compatibility issues are documented there.
When you are back at the main menu, remove the boot medium (if applicable) and
reboot. Have fun with your new version of NetBSD!
## Using sysupgrade
The sysupgrade utility (currently found in `pkgsrc/sysutils/sysupgrade`) allows
you to upgrade a running system to a newer binary release.
Please be aware that, as of August 2012, sysupgrade is a farily new tool and is
still undergoing field testing. Use with care. In particular, upgrades across
major binary releases might not work properly yet because of the lack of a
reboot between the kernel installation and the unpacking of the sets. That said,
you may find this tool very convenient to track NetBSD-current or stable NetBSD
One of the benefits of sysupgrade is that it is an integrated and
almost-unattended solution: the tool fetches the new kernel and distribution
sets from remote sites if you desire and performs the upgrade without user
intervention until new changes to the configuration files need to be merged.
Let's assume you are running NetBSD/amd64 6.0 and you wish to upgrade to NetBSD
6.1. The procedure to do so would be to run the following command:
# sysupgrade auto ftp://ftp.NetBSD.org/pub/NetBSD/NetBSD-6.1/amd64
And that's all that it takes. This will proceed to download the kernel and
sets appropriate for your machine, unpack them and assist you in merging new
configuration changes. Do not forget to reboot afterwards.
For more details, please see the included sysupgrade(8) manual page and the
`/usr/pkg/etc/sysupgrade.conf` configuration file.
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