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esxupdate Fails with Package Downgrade Warning (10230)

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The patch maintenance tool, esxupdate, was created to allow the installation of patches in random order. However, a flaw prevents the installation of older patches after newer patches (with an updated, overlapping RPM) is installed. In this situation, esxupdate returns the following messages, which indicate the bundle contains a package that has an older revision than what is already installed on the system:
INFO: 1 packages need to be downgraded.

Please use the --force option and try again.


This issue has been resolved in ESX Server 3.0.2 and higher.  To resolve the issue permanently, upgrade to a newer version.
If the ESX Server host is running ESX Server software version 3.0.1 or 3.0.0 without the patches above, do not use the --force option to downgrade packages when using esxupdate. This will cause the newer RPM to be downgraded to the older version, potentially neutralizing previously-applied patches.

Please follow these two recommended steps:

  1. Work around the issue using the exclude (-x) option.

  2. After all the appropriate patches that failed (due to the aforementioned error message) have been applied, applying future patches in chronological order based on their release month will avoid the same error condition. (Patches within a single month need not be applied in order.)

Detailed instructions for Step #1:

  1. Obtain the package to exclude.

    Re-run the esxupdate update command for the patch bundle that returns the package downgrade messages.

    Run the following command in the service console as root:

    # grep -i downgrade /var/log/vmware/esxupdate.log

    Note down the package next to downgrade pend (the most recent entry will be at the bottom).


    # grep -i downgrade /var/log/vmware/esxupdate.log
    [07Apr19-0832] DEBUG: session: downgrade pend : VMware-esx-vmkernel.i386
    [07Apr19-0832] INFO: root: 1 packages need to be downgraded.

    In the example above, the package VMware-esx-vmkernel.i386 can be excluded because the system already has a more up-to-date version.

  2. Re-run esxupdate with the option to exclude the package noted above.

    # esxupdate -x update


    # esxupdate –x VMware-esx-vmkernel.i386 update

    You can exclude multiple packages by using the -x option for each package.

    For example, use the following command to exclude both VMware-esx-vmkernel.i386 and VMware-esx-scripts.i386 packages:

    # esxupdate –x VMware-esx-vmkernel.i386 –x VMware-esx-scripts.i386 update

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