This article describes the process of updating OpenELEC to the latest build.
Updating OpenELEC isn't like updating any other operating system you'll have used before. There's no package manager, and no terminal usage. In fact, updating OpenELEC is more like updating the firmware on your broadband router!
In the OpenELEC settings you have the option to enable automatic or manual updates.
If Automatic updates option is enabled, OpenELEC will check online for an update. If it finds one the update will be downloaded and prepared. You will then be notified that a reboot is required to apply the update. Automatic update will not happen for a major update where system consistency across software versions cannot be guaranteed (for example, version 4.2.1 will not automatically update to version 5.0).
Note: Automatic updates are also available for the beta and release candidate versions. After various beta versions, automatic update to a release candidate would happen and eventually an update to the final stable release.
If Manual update option is selected then you will need to download the update to OpenELEC. This is ideal if the OpenELEC machine is not internet connected as you can download the new software package on another machine and provide the file to your OpenELEC. The process for manually updating OpenELEC is provided below.
Manually Updating OpenELEC
First of all, head over to the downloads page and download the latest release of OpenELEC. You will need to download the standard software package, not the disk image version.
Now, from your PC, open an Explorer window and browse to the IP address of the OpenELEC machine (if you don't know what the IP address of your OpenELEC box is, go to the menu of the OpenELEC machine, and browse to the main item "System" and then look at the subitem "System Info". This will open a page that shows the IP address amongst other information.
So type this into the address bar of the explorer window. For example, if your OE machine's IP address is 192.168.1.92, browse to:
Once the window appears, open the "Update" folder share. There shouldn't be anything inside this share, unless you have another update pending. Copy the downloaded OpenELEC software (for example: OpenELEC-Generic.x86_64-5.0.0.tar) to the folder.
Once the file has been copied, reboot the OpenELEC machine. OpenELEC will recognize the new software package in the update folder and update automatically. A second reboot will follow automatically to activate the new system files.
Using SCP or SSH
This is for more advanced users. If you did what is described above, you don't need to worry about this. If you are not using the method described above, it's good to know that the folder where you need to place the software package is /storage/.update.
In case the folder does not exist, create it first:
Then you can use SCP to copy the file or maybe run wget on the OpenELEC box itself.
Manually Updating OpenELEC 4.x to 5.0
The automatic update function will not make a major update from 4.0/4.2 software towards 5.0. Major updates are not done because major steps in versions can lead to unstable setups as too many settings have changed between the versions. You can update manually though.
Please be sure to backup all your settings before the update and follow the manual update instructions given above.
If you do want to go ahead with the upgrade, doing a -full- backup of your OpenELEC setup first is recommended at all times. Use the Backup/Restore tool in the OpenELEC Setting addon, and place the backup file in a secure location. That means NOT on the same OpenELEC htpc you are making the backup of.
Manually Updating OpenELEC 3.x to 4.0
An automatic update from OpenELEC 3.x to 4.0 will not take place. You will need to update manually according to the instruction above. However, when updating from older OpenELEC versions older than OpenELEC 4 you will to extract the tar package of the new software version first. Instead of copying the whole software package into the Update folder, you will need to copy the files (KERNEL, KERNEL.md5, SYSTEM and SYSTEM.md5) separately. Use software such as 7-zip to open the software package (the tar file).
Addons, skins and other XBMC tools have to be conformant to Gotham for them to work without a hitch. There is a possibility that an upgrade from Frodo to Gotham will not go without incident, because not all addons are already Gotham-ready. Why this is the case, you will have to ask the developer(s) of that particular addon. Non-conformant or older versions of addons can cause all types of bugs. Such as system freezes, crashes, reboots, stuttering, flickering. Be sure to inform yourselves in advance, to see if the addons on your current Frodo setup are already supported in XBMC/OpenELEC Gotham.
If you do want to go ahead with the upgrade, doing a -full- backup of your Frodo setup first is recommended at all times. Use the Backup/Restore tool in the OpenELEC Setting addon, and place the backup file in a secure location. That means NOT on the same OpenELEC htpc you are making the backup of.
After creating the backup, it is safest to reset all XBMC settings via the Reset option in the OE Settings addon. This will make the upgrade process as easy as possible.
If for whatever reason the new build is not working properly on your OpenELEC machine, you can also downgrade to a lower version in the same way as you do an upgrade. All provided that the Samba server is still working properly.
You can downgrade from a major version to another major version, but it is not advised. Various settings and addons are not backwards compatible. Should you want to do a major downgrade, a fresh installation of OpenELEC is highly recommended. Minor downgrades, for example from 4.2.1 to 4.0.4 are fine though.