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How to upgrade to SLES/SLED 11 SP4

This document (7016711) is provided subject to the disclaimer at the end of this document.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 for SAP Applications
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server  9
SUSE Linux Enterprise Server  8
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10
Novell Linux Enterprise Desktop 9


A system running one of the product versions listed above should be updated to SLES 11 Service Pack 4 or SLED 11 Service Pack 4.


SLES/SLED 11 Service Pack 4 is a full product; a variety of methods for updating a system exist.

Don't panic:  This document is quite long and detailed, but don't be afraid. In fact the update procedure is very simple, straight-forward and (in most cases) self-explaining. Just pick the method that suits your needs best and start with it.

Important note:  After completing any form of update, run the command "rcrpmconfigcheck", then look at the contents of the file /var/adm/rpmconfigcheck. This file contains a list of configuration files that could not be updated automatically. These files must be checked and the configurations adjusted manually. Also please note cross-architecture upgrades (32-bit to 64-bit and 64-bit to 32-bit) are not supported.

Upgrading OES, OES2, and OES11

See the Open Enterprise Server 11 SP2 documentation for details on how to upgrade.

Upgrading SUSE Manager 1.2, 1.7 and 2.1

SUSE Manager 1.2/1.7/2.1 appliances can not be upgraded to SLES 11 SP4 at this time!

Upgrading SUSE Studio Onsite

SUSE Studio Onsite can not be upgraded to SLES 11 SP4 at this time!

Upgrading SLES 8, SLES 9, and NLD 9

There is no supported direct upgrade path from SLES 8, SLES 9, and NLD 9. Instead it is recommended to perform a new installation.

Procedure for upgrading from SLES 10 / SLED 10 (GA version, Service Pack 1, 2, and 3)

There is no supported direct migration path to SLES/SLED 11 SP3. An update has to be performed from SLES/SLED 10 GA to SP 1, then to SP 2, further to SP 3, and then to SP4 by using the respective boot media. 

Procedure for upgrading from SLES 10 and SLED 10 Service Pack 4

The supported migration path from SLES/SLED 10 SP4 to SLES/SLED 11 Service Pack 4 is by using the SLES/SLED 11 SP 4 boot media. See the respective section below.

Upgrading from SLES / SLED 11 (GA version and Service Pack 1 and 2)

There is no supported direct migration path to SLES/SLED 11 SP4. An update has to be performed from SLES/SLED 11 GA to SP 1, then further to SP 2  then SP 3 and finally SP 4 by using the respective boot media.

#NOTE: The default value for RUN_PARALLEL in /etc/sysconfig/boot has changed from "yes" to "no" with SP2. When upgrading to SP2 the old value still remains.

Upgrading from SLES/SLED 11 SP3 to SLE 11 SP4

There are different supported ways for updating a SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP3 system to a Service Pack 4. You may either update by using the online update tools to install the respective patches (Online Migration) or update via the Service Pack installation media. Furthermore, updates can be performed via servers hosting Subscription Management Tool (SMT) or SUSE Manager.

For upgrading to SP 4 via the respective patches, the following tools are supported:

  • 1) YaST ("yast2 wagon")
  • 2) zypper

Alternatively, the full Service Pack media (DVD ISO image) can be downloaded. Start the update process by booting from the physical Service Pack media or a network installation source.

Update to SP4 via patches

Attention: The update process has to be done completely from beginning to reboot. There is only a limited chance to revert changes. Furthermore, the server has to be connected online during the whole update process.
Users have to make sure to have the system registered. If this is not done already, it can either be registered by using the "Novell Customer Center Configuration" module in YaST or by using the suse_register commandline tool. This will add update sources to the system.

1) Update by using YaST and/or Update Applet

  • Start the Online-Update module (YOU) from the YaST control center. 
  • Check if all available patches that are named "You update for Software update stack" are installed. If this is not the case, those patches will automatically be preselected. Press "Accept" to apply those updates. Among others, this will install updates of libzypp, satsolver, yast2-wagon, yast2-pkgbindings, etc. After installing those, YOU will restart itself.
  • Now it is possible to install all other updates that are available for SLE 11 SP3. The system needs to be rebooted afterwards, because the kernel and/or other important system components are updated.
  • Attention for SLED users: because of a dependency conflict open up "yast2 repositories" and enable the repository named "SLED11-Extras". On SLES this extra step is not needed.
  • The tray applications "kupdateapplet" or "gnome-packagekit" will display a message that a distribution upgrade is available and start the YaST2 module "wagon" on request. If the gnome desktop is being used, but the "gnome-packagekit" applet is not started automatically on login, go ahead as follows:
    • Press ALT-F2 and run "gconf-editor". 
    • In here, select "apps" -> "gnome-packagekit" -> "force_get_update_login". 
    • After the next login "gnome-packagekit" will start automatically and open up a message that a distribution upgrade is available.
  • As an alternative to using the tray application open up a root shell and run "/usr/sbin/wagon &".
  • "yast2-wagon" contains a workflow to upgrade the system to the next Service Pack level. On the welcome page press "Next". 
  • "yast2-wagon" will do an automatic self update if needed. 
  • In the following dialogue select how to migrate. Select "Customer Center" if the update repositories should be used, or select "Custom URL" if you want to specify the update source manually (see the respective section below). In most cases "Customer Center" should be the right choice. If you want to review the repositories changes yourself, additionally select "Check Automatic Repository Changes". Click "Next". 
  • A re-registration of the system against the Novell Customer Center will be done. During the registration process the appropriate SP4 update catalogs (11-SP4-Pool and SP4-Updates) will be added. The SLE 11 SP3 catalogs will be removed (SP3-Pool, SP3-Updates). Click "Next". 
  • The success dialog-popup at the end informs about which repositories were added (click on the "Details" Button).
  • If you have selected "Check Automatic Repository Changes", the list of repositories will be displayed, providing the opportunity to manually enable/disable/add/delete repositories. Klick "Ok" when finished.
  • A proposal screen (named "Distribution Updrade Settings") is now listed with the following sections: 
    • Add-On Products: Third Party add-on products can be added here. 
    • Update Options: This shows what will happen with the product. Temporary migration products (e.g. SUSE_SLES-SP4-migration) will be removed, real products (e.g. SUSE_SLES) will be upgraded. Further, it can be selected, if all packages should be downloaded before upgrading (this is the default) or if the packages should be downloaded and installed one by one.
    • Packages: shows some statistics about rpm packages to update, to install and to remove. 
    • Backup: some backup options. 
  • Please note: If you changed your mind and want to abort the upgrade to SP4, click "Back" then "Abort". In this case a rollback is triggered to bring the system back to SLE 11 SP3 level. Further the migration products are removed, a re-registration is performed and the newly added repositories are removed.
  • To continue the upgrade to SP4 press "Next" -> "Start Update".
  • The following steps are executed:
    • The update of the rpm packages is performed. 
    • SuSEconfig is executed.
    • A message to reboot the system is displayed (Press "Ok").
    • A registration of the final SP4 product(s) takes place. Please note that only the SLE 11 SP4 catalogs need to stay enabled.
  • After a reboot the system is on SP 4 level.
1.1) Using a "Custom URL" for updating with YaST
  • Start yast2 wagon as stated above.
  • In the "Update method" dialogue select "Custom URL". 
  • A list of repositories will be displayed, providing the opportunity to manually enable/disable/add/delete repositories. In here it is possible to manually adjust installation- and update repositories.
  • Add the SP4 update source(s). This can either be the SP4 installation media or the new SP4 repositories (SP4-Pool and SP4-Updates). 
  • Klick "Ok" when finished and continue with the "Distribution Upgrade Settings" dialogue as stated above.

2) Update by using zypper

  • Open a root shell.
  • Run "zypper ref -s" to refresh all services and repositories.
  • Run "zypper update -t patch" to install package management updates. 
  • Now it is possible to install all available updates for SLES/SLED 11 SP2: run "zypper update -t patch" again.
Note: If the above command is to be used in a script for an unattended upgrade, the command would be: "zypper --non-interactive patch --auto-agree-with-licenses --with-interactive"
  • Now the installed products contain information about distribution upgrades and which migration products should be installed to perform the migration. Read the migration product informations from /etc/products.d/*.prod and install them. Use the following command:
  • zypper se -t product | grep -h -- "-migration" | cut -d\| -f2
  • A sample output could be as follows:

  • The following is an exmaple command for installing needed migration products:
    • zypper in -t product sle-sdk-SP4-migration SUSE_SLES-SP4-migration

Note: If the server is running with "SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 for SAP Applications", make sure not to install the "sle-hae-SPx-migration" and or "SUSE_SLES-SPx-migration" products if these should be listed with the "zypper se -t product | grep -h -- "-migration" | cut -d\| -f2" command mentioned above. If they are installed they need to be removed deinstalling them. Make sure there is no such product listed afterwards in "/etc/products.d/".

  • run "suse_register -d 2 -L /root/.suse_register.log" to register the products in order to get the corresponding SP 4  Update repositories.
  • Attention for SLED users: because of a dependency conflict run "zypper mr -e SLED11-Extras" to enable the SLED11-Extras repository. On SLES this extra step is not needed.
  • Run 'zypper ref -s' to refresh services and repositores.
  • Check the repositories using 'zypper lr'. Important: if needed, disable the SP2/SP3 Pool/Updates repositories manually and enable the new SP4 (SP4-Pool,  SP4-Updates) repositories:
    • zypper mr --disable <repo-alias>
    • zypper mr --enable <repo-alias>
  • Then perform a dist upgrade by using the following command (example for SLES, please adjust catalog names in case SLED is updated):
    • zypper dup --from SLES11-SP4-Pool --from SLES11-SP4-Updates  #add more SP4 catalogs here if needed, e.g. in case addon products are installed
  • zypper will report that it will delete the migration product and update the main products. Confirm the message to continue updating the rpm packages.
  • After the upgrade is finished, register the new products again:
    • suse_register -d 2 -L /root/.suse_register.log
  • Reboot the system

Update to SLE 11 SP 4 via patches by using Subscription Management Tool for SUSE Linux Enterprise

As an alternative to downloading the updates for each single client system from the Novell update server, it is possible to use Subscription Management Tool for SUSE Linux Enterprise to mirror the updates to a local server.
This tool acts as Novell Customer Center proxy both for client registrations and as software update repository. The SMT documentation at gives an overview of its features as well as instructions on how to implement it.

Update via using a SLE 11 SP4 installation media

Please obtain the ISO images from

3) Update by booting from a SLES/SLED 11 SP4 media

To start the standard update via DVD, reboot the computer with this medium in it's DVD drive. Perform a system update instead of a fresh installation. To achive this, select "Installation" -> Select language and keyboard layout -> Agree to the License ->  Select "Update an Existing System" instead of "New Installation".

3.1) Update by booting off a SP4 network installation source

It is also possible to provide the installation media via network. The SLE 11 Service-Pack 4 media contains a complete product. So it can be added to an installation server in the same way as every other SUSE LINUX Enterprise product. The procedure on how to setup an installation server and on how to add the service pack is described in the product documentation. For SLES 11 have a look into chapter 14.2 of the deployment guide. The document is available online under

To start the update, go ahead as follows:
  • A bootable medium is needed to initialize the process. Booting via network/PXE is also possible. For PXE boot configuration examples see chapter 14.3 in the SLES 11 deployment guide (online available at ).
  • Boot the machine and choose "Installation".
  • Change the installation source via the "F4" key and enter the IP and path to the installation source or select "SLP" if this protocol is configured on your installation server.
  • Select "System Update" instead of performing a "New Installation".



This Support Knowledgebase provides a valuable tool for SUSE customers and parties interested in our products and solutions to acquire information, ideas and learn from one another. Materials are provided for informational, personal or non-commercial use within your organization and are presented "AS IS" WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND.

  • Document ID:7016711
  • Creation Date: 28-Jul-2015
  • Modified Date:14-Oct-2022
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
    • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server

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