Updated: December 25th, 2011

imageAs a developer, I both love and hate Eclipse for its chaotic nature, buggy and sometimes unusable interface, but at the same time incredible usefulness and ability to serve as a single tool for all of my development, be it C++, PHP, Java, Android, Perl, etc.

One of the biggest problems with Eclipse is that there is no clear upgrade path from major versions, for example 3.5->3.6. What I ended up having to do for years is back up the old release, download and unpack the new release, and then try to migrate all the settings by importing and exporting left and right. Not so pleasant.

Turns out, as of Eclipse 3.3 (though I've only tried it with Eclipse 3.5), it's possible to successfully complete an in-place upgrade without doing any wiping or voodoo hackery. I've successfully completed this on 2 of my machines and now need to share it with the rest of the world.

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Step 1. Go to Help > Install New Software… > Available Software Sites or Windows > Preferences > Install/Update > Available Software Sites. I personally prefer the former way because it results in fewer clicks but both end up in the same place.

Step 2. Everywhere you see 3.5, press Edit and change it to 3.6. Similarly, change "galileo" to "helios". For example, you should end up with at least these (if you don't have these, just add them):

http://download.eclipse.org/eclipse/updates/3.6

http://download.eclipse.org/releases/helios

Note: you may also need to update other repositories (for example, Galileo was compatible with CDT 6, while Helios needed CDT 7).

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Step 3. Press OK, then go to Help > Check for Updates. You should see the progress in the Progress tab – let the magic happen, restart when prompted, and after a few minutes, you should have a working upgraded version of Eclipse.

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Artem Russakovskii is a San Francisco programmer, blogger, and future millionaire (that last part is in the works). Follow Artem on Twitter (@ArtemR) or subscribe to the RSS feed.

In the meantime, if you found this article useful, feel free to buy me a cup of coffee below.



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  • Mike

    Nice post. I've been wondering for a while how to update Eclipse inplace. Pretty simple tricks.

  • MarkB

    Is this an Eclipse-recommended method of doing such an upgrade (I couldn't find it), or is this just a solution from your own experimentation. It seems to me that this would be a little risky and might take you just as much time as doing a full reinstall of Eclipse and your plugins. At least that way you know you are achieving compatibility. You still have to go figure out the update site URL for all of your plugins. Granted, you can guess and use the "Test Connection" feature (nice) to see if you guessed correctly. Another thing it seems this approach may result in is a bunch of dead/deprecated files laying around as you use this method over many Eclipse upgrades. Therefore, I would not consider this method a "clean" method of upgrading. But, a novel approach indeed, so thanks for sharing.

    • http://beerpla.net Artem Russakovskii

      It's kind of semi-official I'd say – it works and either way you'd have to figure out new update urls for all your plugins. I've seen this approach mentioned on the mailing list somewhere, which is why I decided to try it.

      Yeah, you'll end up with some dead directories but if you need to update and want to skip setting up eclipse all over again, I'd say who cares? Plus, you can always save a backup of the eclipse folder, then do a dir diff before and after, and remove the duplicates yourself. Also, a backup is great either way in case you botch something up – eclipse is self-contained, so restoring is as simple as copying the old version back.

      • Nate

        Didn't work for me, got dependency issues with two versions of some things.

        I think I used Ubuntu to get my Eclipse 3.5 and really have no idea how to upgrade to 3.6.

      • Who knows

        Who cares? People who want a decent way to upgrade the damn software version inplace.

  • Sepideh

    thank you so much, it really helped me out :)

  • Unlenin

    Спасибо! Благодаря этой статье сэкономил много времени.

  • John

    I have tried your suggestion and it is saying that there are no updates available. I am using 3.5 on ubuntu and I am trying to go to 3.6

  • Alex

    Does anybody know if the Eclipse update from 3.5 to 3.6 works for Ubuntu 11?

  • Jason

    Or you could use the free Pulse provisioning software to auto-update to the next version of Eclipse. Simple one click action.

    Here it is: http://www.poweredbypulse.com/eclipse_packages.php

  • Stephen
  • John Washburn

    The method above did not work for me on one of my 3 boxes. I had the usual dependency issue that Eclipse gets so wrong so often.
    What worked for me on my second Ubuntu box was Method 2 found in this article:
    http://crlog.info/2011/06/30/upgrading-eclipse-on-ubuntu-from-3-5-to-3-7-indigo-works-for-other-versions-too/
    Method one in the article is what is mentioned above. Method 1 worked on my Windows and one Ubuntu Box, but Method 2 was required for the other Ubuntu box.

  • John Washburn

    The method above did not work for me on one of my 3 boxes. I had the usual dependency issue that Eclipse gets so wrong so often.

    What worked for me on my second Ubuntu box was Method 2 found in this article:
    http://crlog.info/2011/06/30/upgrading-eclipse-on-ubuntu-from-3-5-to-3-7-indigo-works-for-other-versions-too/

    Method one in the article is what is mentioned above. Method 1 worked on my Windows and one Ubuntu Box, but Method 2 was required for the other Ubuntu box.

    Actually I did the jump from Galileo to Indigo on that box. The other boxes were jumps from Helios to Indigo.

  • Technocrat

    Thanks for the post. It's been a great help. Really appreciate it.

  • atomish

    Worked fine for me. Thanks a lot

  • a

    Thanks for ur valuable suggestion.. it works for me

  • imi

    Thank you very much! You saved my life :)

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