Update Manager

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Update Manager provides a graphical interface for keeping the PC-BSD® operating system and its installed applications up-to-date. This utility can be started from Control Panel or by typing pc-updategui. It can also be accessed from its icon in the system tray, if you are logged into a desktop that provides a system tray.

The status of the icon lets you determine at a glance if any of your installed applications are out-of-date, if a system update is available, or if a new version of the operating system is available. Table 7.2a summarizes the possible statuses of this icon.

Table 7.2a: Update Manager Status

Updated1.png your system is up-to-date
Working1.png the system is currently checking for updates and patches
Sysupdates1.png your operating system is out-of-date and system update(s) or patch(es) are available
Pkgupdates.png newer versions of installed applications are available
Connecterror1.png the system was unable to check for updates, meaning you should check your Internet connection
Updating.png the system is currently updating
Restart.png the system needs to restart in order for the newly installed update to take effect

If you right-click the icon, you will see the menu shown in Figure 7.2a. As seen in the menu, Update Manager will automatically track updates to software installed using either the graphical or command line equivalents of AppCafe® and Warden®.

Figure 7.2a: Right-click Menu for Update Manager

By default, updates are checked every 24 hours or 20 minutes after booting the system. However, the system won't check for updates more than once per day should you reboot multiple times within a day. You can check for updates now by selecting "Check for Updates". To disable the update check when the system boots, uncheck the "Run at Startup" box. To disable the pop-up message over the icon when an update becomes available, uncheck the "Display Notifications" box. To also be notified when updates are available to running jails, check the "Check Jails" box. To remove Update Manager from the system tray, click "Quit". You can put the icon back into the tray by typing pc-systemupdatertray &.


How PC-BSD® Updating Works

The PC-BSD® update mechanism provides several safeguards to ensure that updating the operating system or its software is a low-risk operation. Beginning with version 10.1.1, the following steps occur automatically during an update:

  • the update automatically creates a copy of the current operating system, known as a snapshot or boot environment, and mounts that snapshot in the background. All of the updates then occur in the snapshot. This means that you can safely continue to use your system while it is updating as no changes are being made to the operating system or any of the applications currently in use. Instead, all changes are being made to the mounted copy.
  • once the update is complete, the new boot environment, or updated snapshot, is added as the first entry in the boot menu and activated so that the system will boot into it, unless you pause the boot menu and specify otherwise. A pop-up message, shown in Figure 7.2b, will indicate that a reboot is required. You can either finish what you are doing and reboot now into the upgraded snapshot, or ask the system to remind you again at a later time. To configure the time of the next warning, click the "Next Reminder" drop-down menu where you can select 1, 5, 12, or 24 hours, 30 minutes, or never (for this login session). Note that the system will not apply any more updates or allow you to start another manual update or install additional software using AppCafe® until you reboot.
Figure 7.2b: Managing the Reboot After Update
Figure 7.2c: Viewing the Update Log
  • as the update is running, a log is written to /var/log/pc-updatemanager.log and is then saved to /var/log/pc-updatemanager-auto.log when the update is complete. This way you can see which software is being updated and if there are any updating errors. The logs can also be viewed in the "View Log" tab of the graphical Update Manager utility, shown in Figure 7.2c.
  • you no longer need to initiate updates manually. PC-BSD® now uses an automated updater that automatically checks for updates, no more than once per day, 20 minutes after a reboot and then every 24 hours. You can configure what gets updated using the "Configure Automatic Updates" tab of Update Manager, shown in Figure 7.2d. Choices are "Security & Packages" (all updates), "Security" (only security patches and operating system updates), "Packages" (only installed software), or "Nothing" (disables automatic updating).
Figure 7.2d: Configuring What to Update

Updates can still be initiated manually using either a GUI or a command-line application. The rest of this section demonstrates how to manually update using either the GUI or the command-line method.

Manual Updates (GUI Method)

Beginning in version 10.1.1, the automatic updater will automatically keep your system up-to-date. You will know that an update has completed when the pop-up menu, shown in Figure 7.2b, indicates that a reboot is needed to complete the update process. The automatic updater will only update what it has been configured to update. If you would like to double-check or change what gets updated, start Update Manager, enter your password, and use the drop-down menu in the "Configure Automatic Updates" screen shown in Figure 7.2d.

Due to its schedule, the automatic updater will never check for new updates more than once in a 24 hour period. To manually check for updates, right-click the Update Manager in system tray and click "Check for Updates". Alternatively, start Update Manager. If any updates are available, an "Updates Available" tab will appear, as seen in the example in Figure 7.2e. If no updates are available, this tab will not appear.

Figure 7.2e: System Updates are Available

In this example, the system has been configured to automatically update "Security & Packages" and a security update is available. Click the "Start Updates" button to manually start the update. When prompted, reboot so that the system can boot into the newly patched operating system.

Figure 7.2f shown an example of a system that has package updates available. The user has clicked the "View Package Updates" box to see which packages will be upgraded.

Figure 7.2e: Package Updates are Available
NOTE: How often package updates are available depends upon the "Repository Settings" set in AppCafe® → Configure. The default setting of "Production" will only provide package updates every 3 months whereas a setting of "Edge" will provide package updates as soon as a new version is available. If you need application stability, stay on "Production". If you can handle some application breakage in favor of having the latest software, change to "Edge". Also, if you select "Security" or "Nothing" in the "Configure Automatic Updates" tab of Update Manager, packages will only get updated with the next software release which happens every 3 months.
WARNING Package updates will update all installed software, even if you have placed a lock on it using pkg or an older version of AppCafe®. If you prefer to lock certain applications against being updated, select "Security" or "Nothing" in the "Configure Automatic Updates" tab of Update Manager and manually update software as needed using pkg. Note that updating the operating system will still update any locked applications.

Manual Updates (CLI Method)

TrueOS® users, or those who prefer to use a command-line utility, can use pc-updatemanager to manually apply updates. If you type pc-updatemanager, it will show its available options:


/usr/local/bin/pc-updatemanager - Usage ----   branches - List available system branches   chbranch <tag> - Change to new system branch   check - Check for system updates   install <tag>,<tag2> - Install system updates   pkgcheck - Check for updates to packages   pkgupdate - Install packages updates   fbsdupdate - Install freebsd-update patches   fbsdupdatepkgs - Install freebsd-update patches and any package updates   syncconf - Update PC-BSD pkgng configuration   confcheck - Check PC-BSD pkgng configuration

  cron - Perform delayed check for system and pkgng updates.

To determine if any system updates are available, type the following command:

sudo pc-updatemanager check                                                          

Checking for FreeBSD updates... The following updates are available:

NAME: FreeBSD system update TYPE: System Update

Install: "freebsd-update fetch && freebsd-update install"

NAME: Remove fdescfs TYPE: PATCH TAG: fdesc-rollback-02132014 DETAILS: http://trac.pcbsd.org/wiki/patch-20140211-fdesc DATE: 02-13-2014 SIZE: 1Mb

To install: "pc-updatemanager install fdesc-rollback-02132014"

NAME: PKG conflict detection bug fixes TYPE: PATCH TAG: pkgng-conflict-03122014 DETAILS: http://trac.pcbsd.org/wiki/patch-20140312-updater DATE: 03-12-2014 SIZE: 1Mb

To install: "pc-updatemanager install pkgng-conflict-03122014"

If any updates are available, follow the instructions to install each update. For example, this will apply the "Remove fdescfs" patch:

sudo pc-updatemanager install fdesc-rollback-02132014

DOWNLOADING: fdesc-rollback-02132014 /usr/local/tmp/patch-fdesc-rollback-02132014.t100% of 312 B 14 kBps 00m00s DOWNLOADFINISHED: fdesc-rollback-02132014 Creating new boot-environment... GRUB configuration updated successfully Created successfully Pruning old boot-environments... TOTALSTEPS: 3 SETSTEPS: 1 umount: /dev/fd: not a file system root directory SETSTEPS: 3

INSTALLFINISHED: fdesc-rollback-02132014

If no system updates are available, the check command will indicate "Your system is up to date!".

To determine if package updates are available, use this command:

sudo pc-updatemanager pkgcheck                                                       

  Updating repository catalogue   Upgrades have been requested for the following 253 packages:   list of packages snipped   The upgrade will require 70 MB more space   439 MB to be downloaded

  To start the upgrade run "/usr/local/bin/pc-updatemanager pkgupdate"

In this example, newer versions are available for 253 packages. The list of package names was snipped from the sample output. If no updates were available, the output would have instead said "All packages are up to date!".

If updates are available, you can install them with this command:

sudo pc-updatemanager pkgupdate                                                      

  Updating repository catalogue   snip downloading and reinstalling output   [253/253] Upgrading pcbsd-base from 1374071964 to 1378408836... done

  Extracting desktop overlay data...DONE

While the output has been snipped from this example, the update process will download the latest versions of the packages which need updating, displaying the download progress for each file. Once the downloads are complete, it will display the reinstallation process for each file. The last step of the update process is to extract the desktop (or server) overlay and then to return the prompt.

After performing any updates, reboot the system.

Upgrading from 9.x to 10.x

  • PC-BSD® has switched to ZFS-only. This means that you can not upgrade a system that is either 32-bit or formatted with UFS. If the hardware supports 64-bit, you will need to backup your important data to another system or external drive and then perform a new installation. The new installation will perform a format of the selected disk(s) with ZFS.
  • The boot loader and default ZFS layout has changed to support boot environments and ZFS snapshot management with Life Preserver. For this reason, 9.x users should backup their important data to another system or external drive and then perform a new installation which will create the required ZFS layout.

Upgrading from 10.x to 10.1.1

Upgrading from any 10.x version to 10.1.1 is the same as applying any package update. This means that the update to 10.1.1 will either appear in Update Manager as a package update, for both "Edge" and "Production" users, or in the listing of pc-updatemanager pkgcheck.

NOTE: A fresh install, rather than an update, is required if you wish to take advantage of any of the following features: UEFI boot (on a current non-UEFI installation), disk encryption, or the improved encryption key generation provided by GELIv7[1]. This means that you will have to backup your data to an external drive or another system, perform the install, than restore your data from backup.


  1. https://github.com/freebsd/freebsd/commit/38de8ef1dd0e468ff1e3ec1c431f465e270beba3


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