How to Downgrade RHELCentOS to Previous Minor Release?


In the world of enterprise-level Linux operating systems, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and its derivative, CentOS, are two of the most widely used distributions. They offer a stable and robust platform that is trusted by many organizations worldwide.

However, sometimes it may become necessary to downgrade to a previous minor release due to compatibility issues or other reasons. In this article, we will show you how to downgrade RHELCentOS to a previous minor release safely.

Preparing for Downgrade

Backing up data and configurations

Before beginning the process of downgrading your RHEL/CentOS system, it is essential to back up all important data and configurations. This includes any custom scripts, applications, databases, and settings that you have created or modified.

Backing up this information will ensure that you can restore your system to its previous state if something goes wrong during the downgrade process. You can use a backup tool like rsync or tar to create a backup of your important files.

Checking system requirements for the previous minor release

It's crucial to make sure that your system meets the requirements of the previous minor release before proceeding. This includes checking hardware specifications such as CPU speed, RAM size, disk space available, and network connectivity options. You should also check software dependencies such as kernel version, libraries, and packages required by the operating system version you are downgrading to.

Downloading necessary packages and repositories

Once you have confirmed that your system meets all necessary requirements for the previous minor release, it's time to download any required packages or repositories. You can obtain these from official sources provided by Red Hat or CentOS community mirrors.

It is recommended that you use trusted sources only because downloading packages from untrusted sources could compromise security and lead to issues within your system. Before downgrading RHEL/CentOS to a previous minor release, it is crucial to prepare adequately by backing up all essential data and configurations; verifying hardware specifications meet requirements; then downloading necessary packages from trusted sources only if any are missing.

Uninstalling Current Minor Release

Before proceeding with the downgrade process, it is necessary to uninstall the current minor release of RHEL or CentOS.

Stopping services and processes

Firstly, stop all running services and processes that might interfere with the downgrade process. This can be done by running the following command −

systemctl stop service_name

Removing current packages

To remove packages related to the current minor release, use yum to uninstall them −

yum remove package_name

Cleaning up residual files

To ensure a clean system before installing the previous minor release, remove any residual files related to the current version. Use this command −

 yum clean all && rm -rf /var/cache/yum/*

It is important to note that removing packages can cause dependency issues for other programs on your system. Always make sure to review yum's output carefully before confirming removals.

Avoid mistakes: Back up your data first!

The downgrade process can be risky. It's recommended that you back up all critical data before attempting it. For added safety, test this process in a non-production environment before using it on any live systems.

Installing Previous Minor Release

Adding necessary repositories

Adding the repositories for the previous minor release is a crucial step in downgrading RHEL/CentOS. The repositories contain all the necessary packages required to run the previous version of the operating system.

Firstly, check if you already have the desired repository installed on your system by running "yum repolist" command. If not, then download and install it from a trusted source like Red Hat Customer Portal or CentOS Vault.

Installing required packages

Once you have added the required repositories, you can proceed with installing the packages for your desired minor release version using "yum install" command followed by package names. You can also use wildcard character "*" to install all available packages in that repository. Make sure to verify that you are installing correct and compatible packages for your system architecture.

C Configuring system settings

After installing all necessary packages, now it is time to configure your system settings according to this release's requirements. System configuration varies from version to version, so you must follow specific instructions provided by Red Hat or CentOS documentation. Some common areas of configuration include Network settings, Firewall rules, SELinux configurations, and Kernel parameters.

It is essential to test your newly configured system thoroughly before deploying it into production environments. Test everything from basic functionalities like booting up and shutting down to more advanced features like networking services or custom software applications.

In case of any errors or issues during testing phase refer back to Red Hat or CentOS documentation for troubleshooting guidelines and best practices for resolving them effectively. In short, downgrading RHEL/CentOS requires a well-planned approach comprising backing up data and configurations beforehand, verifying compatibility with hardware and software requirements for target minor release version , uninstalling current packages cleanly without leaving any residue files behind , adding necessary repositories followed by installation of required packages ,and finally configuring system settings according to the respective release version's requirements.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Rollback Errors, Dependency Conflicts, etc.

There are potential issues that one may encounter when downgrading a RHEL/CentOS minor release. One of the common problems is rollback errors. Sometimes, the system may fail to roll back to the previous minor release due to various factors such as incomplete package removal or dependency conflicts.

Another issue that could arise is dependency conflicts. This happens when there is a conflict between packages from different repositories or when they require different versions of a shared library.

How to Resolve Them Effectively

To resolve rollback errors and dependency conflicts, it's important to first identify the root cause of the problem. To do so, one can check log files for error messages or use command-line tools such as 'yum history' and 'rpm -qa'.

If it's a dependency conflict issue, one can try resolving it by either removing conflicting packages or downgrading them to compatible versions. Similarly, in case of rollback errors, one may need to reinstall some packages that were removed during removal of current minor release version before proceeding with downgrade process again.

In addition, it's essential to double-check the system requirements for the previous minor release and ensure all necessary repositories and packages are installed before proceeding with downgrade process again. In any case where you are not sure how best to proceed or how to resolve an issue effectively consult official documentation from Red Hat or CentOS distributions as these are usually reliable sources of information on how best troubleshoot issues affecting your system..


In this article, we discussed the importance of downgrading RHEL/CentOS to a previous minor release and provided a step-by-step guide on how to do so safely and effectively. We started by preparing the system for downgrade, including backing up data and configurations, checking system requirements for the previous release, and downloading necessary packages and repositories. We then went through the process of uninstalling the current minor release by stopping services and processes, removing current packages, and cleaning up residual files.

After that, we covered installing the previous minor release by adding necessary repositories, installing required packages, and configuring system settings. We touched on troubleshooting common issues that may arise during the downgrade process such as rollback errors or dependency conflicts.

Updated on: 11-Jul-2023


Kickstart Your Career

Get certified by completing the course

Get Started