Arch installation updated after 3 years of neglect

While updating an SSD that used to be my daily driver (the Debian-base SolydXK), but was replaced a few years ago, I found that I still had an old Virtualbox Arch installation on it. I had not updated it since June 27, 2020 (OK, so not 3 years, but 2 years 11 months, close enough). It was running on kernel 5.7, and as you can see, the last activity in /var/log/pacman.log was 2020:

There have been a lot of changes in the last 3 years…let’s get this party started. First off, we have, um, a few updated packages to download:

Of course, there are some pacnew files to deal with:

Easy enough so far. Then I had to manually rebuild yay; after that I updated my AUR packages. Finally I cleaned orphans.

Will it reboot?

Nope. I forgot about “The GRUB issue” from last August:man_facepalming:.


So I had to chroot into the system and reinstall GRUB.

Now will it boot?


That was kind of fun. I certainly wouldn’t recommend not updating for 3 years, but as you can see, it can be done.


Makes me wonder how some people manage to break updates. I update Arch systems a few times per week. Never have a problem. You wait 3 years, with a few minor interventions. Good job! :+1:


You and me both :laughing:.


It’s called Manjaro :rofl:


I have done this quite a few times myself. My general thoughts would be:

  • If you back far enough you often need to get a copy of pacman-static since the pacman installed on the system can’t always install current packages.
  • In most cases, it is a lot easier to update a VM than a real machine because usually a VM will have fewer packages installed so there is less opportunities for conflicts/issues
  • The biggest gotchas tend to be around package replacements which no longer exist or chains of replacements

That being said, I have never found one that couldn’t be updated.


I kind of expected that I would have to do this here, but as it turned out I didn’t.


I think the last thing that required this was the change to zstd. Your install must have has a version of pacman that supported this.


I’ve had Arch installs on real hardware updated after close to a year of neglect, never experienced an issue that required any head-scratching or looking up. It’s usually just outdated keys, sometimes packages that do not exist any more and are replaced with something else.

In my experience, Arch is a rock-solid distro. To break it, you need to do some really stupid things.

That said, I’ve replaced all my Novidea hardware with alternatives that have free drivers, which, in my experience, greatly simplifies maintenance. When you need legacy proprietary drivers that are only available in the AUR, that makes every update stressful.


Exactly this is the main/only type of issue that kind-of break systems on upgrade: Nvidia proprietary video drivers

No-Nvidea ==> No-Troubles :rofl:


NoNoVidea = Videa :man_teacher:



My first year of using Linux, about a decade ago, coincided with the first year of Manjaro’s existence. It was kind of “rough” back then. I quickly learned a lot about fixing broken Linux systems, even if I usually broke them myself. But I also used a slow PC with a Nvidia graphics that absolutely had to use the proprietary drivers. Those drivers broke about 1 in 3 installs, especially in early Manjaro.

And I thought my 3 month thing was good, Almost 3 years is way more impressive. I’m not overly surprised, but we should post that up for like Ubuntu or Fedora guys - that’s where I see more hate towards Arch instability than anywhere in Arch world. People don’t like what they don’t know.