CentOS/RHEL Use yum Command To Downgrade or Rollback Updates

I‘m a CentOS Linux 7.x server user. How can I use yum command to downgrade or rollback package updates on a RHEL (Red Hat)/CentOS/Scientific Linux server?

In this tutorial, you will learn:[donotprint][/donotprint]

  1. How to downgrade installed packages using YUM
  2. How to rollback installed package to previous version

The following examples only work on

  • CentOS or Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4+
  • CentOS or Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.x+
  • CentOS or Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.x+

YUM Downgrade syntax for CentOS/RHEL v5.4+ users

The basic syntax is:

yum downgrade package1
yum downgrade package1 package2

This syntax also works on a CentOS/RHEL v6.x/7.x but I recommend the following yum history method for all users.


To downgrade zsh, enter:
sudo yum downgrade zsh
Sample outputs:

Fig.01: YUM Downgrade Packages on Fedora, CentOS, Red Hat (RHEL) Linux

This will downgrade a package to the previously highest version or you can specify the whole version and release number for the package to downgrade as follows:
sudo yum downgrade yum downgrade zsh-5.0.2-7.el7

YUM Downgrade syntax for CentOS/RHEL 6.x/7.x+ users

The syntax is:

 ## get list ##
yum history
## Okay undo/downgrade it ##
yum history undo {NUMBER-HERE}


For demo purpose, I’m going to install/update zsh:
sudo yum install zsh
Now, list yum history:
sudo yum history
sudo yum history list
sudo yum history info

Sample outputs:

Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
ID     | Login user               | Date and time    | Action(s)      | Altered
    11 |  <veryv>                 | 2015-05-05 11:14 | Update         |    1   
    10 |  <veryv>                 | 2015-05-05 11:08 | Downgrade      |    1   
     9 |  <veryv>                 | 2015-05-05 10:56 | Install        |    1   
     8 |  <veryv>                 | 2015-05-05 10:56 | Install        |    1   
     7 |  <veryv>                 | 2015-05-05 09:59 | Update         |    1   
     6 | System <unset>           | 2015-04-23 20:02 | I, O, U        |  156 EE
     5 | System <unset>           | 2015-04-23 20:02 | Install        |    1   
     4 | System <unset>           | 2015-04-23 20:02 | Install        |    1 EE
     3 | System <unset>           | 2015-04-23 20:02 | Install        |    1   
     2 | System <unset>           | 2015-04-23 20:02 | Install        |    1   
     1 | System <unset>           | 2015-04-23 20:00 | Install        |  280   
history list

Let us undo (downgrade) ID #11 (i.e. the last action of zsh update):
sudo yum history undo 11
Sample outputs:

Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
Undoing transaction 11, from Tue May  5 11:14:21 2015
    Updated zsh-5.0.2-7.el7.x86_64     @base
    Update      5.0.2-7.el7_1.1.x86_64 @updates
Loading mirror speeds from cached hostfile
 * base:
 * extras:
 * updates:
Resolving Dependencies
--> Running transaction check
---> Package zsh.x86_64 0:5.0.2-7.el7 will be a downgrade
---> Package zsh.x86_64 0:5.0.2-7.el7_1.1 will be erased
--> Finished Dependency Resolution
Dependencies Resolved
 Package           Arch                 Version                   Repository          Size
 zsh               x86_64               5.0.2-7.el7               base               2.4 M
Transaction Summary
Downgrade  1 Package
Total download size: 2.4 M
Is this ok [y/d/N]: y
Downloading packages:
zsh-5.0.2-7.el7.x86_64.rpm                                          | 2.4 MB  00:00:02     
Running transaction check
Running transaction test
Transaction test succeeded
Running transaction
  Installing : zsh-5.0.2-7.el7.x86_64                                                  1/2 
  Cleanup    : zsh-5.0.2-7.el7_1.1.x86_64                                              2/2 
  Verifying  : zsh-5.0.2-7.el7.x86_64                                                  1/2 
  Verifying  : zsh-5.0.2-7.el7_1.1.x86_64                                              2/2 
  zsh.x86_64 0:5.0.2-7.el7_1.1                                                             
  zsh.x86_64 0:5.0.2-7.el7                                                                 

Verify zsh package history, enter:
sudo yum history list zsh
Sample outputs:

Loaded plugins: fastestmirror
ID     | Command line             | Date and time    | Action(s)      | Altered
    12 | history undo 11          | 2015-05-05 11:19 | Downgrade      |    1   
    11 | install zsh              | 2015-05-05 11:14 | Update         |    1   
    10 | downgrade zsh            | 2015-05-05 11:08 | Downgrade      |    1   
     8 | install zsh              | 2015-05-05 10:56 | Install        |    1   
history list

A note about performing downgrades

There are a number of problems with performing downgrades. I’ll cover a few of them here (quoting from here):

* Scriptlets are not reversible: rpm scriptlets provide no way to reverse the process(es) they executed. For example a scriptlet (%pre, %preun, %post, %postun, etc) may run echo “Foo foo foo” >> /etc/some/file. There’s no way to undo that when you perform a downgrade.

* Downgrading works provided the user data/user config is not modified by an update in a one-way process.
Examples: mysql upgrade from 4->5 will convert a db, but going back the other way won’t fly

* Upgrading a desktop application from one version to the next major version modifies config files in such a way but cannot modify them back.

* There are certain processes which no one is ever going to do the work to make them reversible: lvm1->lvm2, db transitions, udev migration, ext3->ext4.
Currently the depsolver doesn’t work very well for downgrades, as it can’t downgrade extra packages. However you can use tools like yum-debug-dump and yum-debug-restore, which should include all packages needed.

* There is now a downgrade command.

Posted by: SXI ADMIN

The author is the creator of nixCraft and a seasoned sysadmin, DevOps engineer, and a trainer for the Linux operating system/Unix shell scripting. Get the latest tutorials on SysAdmin, Linux/Unix and open source topics via RSS/XML feed or weekly email newsletter.


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