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how to upgrade Fedora20 32-bit to Fedora21 64-bit

asked 2015-01-05 09:16:42 -0500

GTrip gravatar image

I currently have a Fedora20 32bit system that is used primarily as a server. The installation is about 8 years old, has been upgraded with each new release through Fedora20. The original installation has been copied from hard drive to hard drive and updated hardware throughout the years. The system still runs very well, but I would like to take advantage of a 64bit system.

Is there any way to retain the currently installed packages with configuration settings and permissions and upgrade from 32bit to 64bit in an easy manor?

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answered 2015-01-05 14:08:01 -0500

sideburns gravatar image

updated 2015-01-05 14:15:34 -0500

You may not need to. Run this command and check the output:

yum list installed kernel\

If you see something like kernel-PAE.i686, you're using a PAE kernel that can address more than 4 GB of RAM without being 64 bit. If not, and your server has more RAM than a normal 32 bit kernel can handle, you can install the most recent PAE kernel (Using yumex is much easier for this than yum because you can select exactly which package or packages to install.) and whatever support packages, such as kernel-PAE-devel.i686 you might need. Then, after rebooting into the new PAE kernel and making sure that all's well, you can remove all of the old kernels so that they don't get included in updates by accident.

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answered 2015-01-05 13:58:02 -0500

If you Google regarding this issue, you'll quickly find that it has been discussed repeatedly throughout the history of Fedora. The short answer is: there is no supported method for performing an upgrade between processor architectures. The long answer is: if you have fairly deep technical knowledge and are willing to expend a significant amount of effort, you can probably get it done. Just Google the phrase "upgrade fedora 32 bit to 64 bit" and you'll see a large series of posts made over the years which could help to give you some idea of the work involved.

My personal advice for you would be to audit your system for software you actually need and use, back up all your important data, and then perform a fresh installation of Fedora 21. You can use this as an opportunity for a nice fresh overhaul. The results of such efforts are usually worthwhile, in my estimation.

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Agreed. If you want/need a 64 bit system, you'll need to do a complete re-install. If all you need is to use more than 4 GB RAM, see my answer below. (FWIW, my desktop currently uses PAE because I have 8 GB RAM; if I had to do a complete re-install, I'd go all the way and install a 64 bit system.)

sideburns gravatar imagesideburns ( 2015-01-05 14:20:16 -0500 )edit

Thank you for you quick and helpful responses. I currently use a PAE kernel. I have a very heavy MySQL database (maria) load as a back-end for php/web services on an active production server. The machine works very hard and mysqltuner tells me that it can not use all memory available and suggests changing to a 64 bit architecture. This is the primary reason for my question and thoughts of change. Otherwise, I don't wish to fix what's not broken unless there is a true and/or significant benefit.

GTrip gravatar imageGTrip ( 2015-01-05 15:10:05 -0500 )edit

Ah, I certainly wouldn't attempt anything like a 32-to-64-bit conversion with a production system. You'll want it to be as crisp and clean as possible, so you should definitely audit your current system, maybe clean it up, back it up, and rebuild.

How much RAM does your system have? I believe the upper limit on addressable memory by a kernel implementing Physical Address Extensions is 64 GB, so if you've got more than that, you'll need to be full-blown 64 bit to take advantage of it.

bitwiseoperator gravatar imagebitwiseoperator ( 2015-01-06 14:04:21 -0500 )edit

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Asked: 2015-01-05 09:16:42 -0500

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Last updated: Jan 05 '15