Raspberry Pi Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for users and developers of hardware and software for Raspberry Pi. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have my Raspberry Pi setup how I want, but I have an older version than what is currently available (2012-10-28-wheezy-raspbian.zip). How do I upgrade the kernel, firmware, etc.?

I have upgraded some using:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade

I believe my current Raspbian version is 2012-07-15 based on this:

[kevin@raspberrypi ~]$ more /boot/issue.txt
Raspberry Pi reference 2012-07-15 (armhf)
Generated using spindle, http://asbradbury.org/projects/spindle/, d2c1253, stage4-lxde-edu.qed

I am not sure what kernel version this is, though.

share|improve this question
I think /boot/issue.txt is not modified since my cat /boot/issue.txt output is Raspberry Pi reference 2012-09-18 (armhf). And, like you, I installed a version released before 2012-10-28, probably 2012-09-19... BTW, you should use sudo apt-get upgrade to install the new dependencies needed by the upgrades. – Morgan Courbet Dec 17 '12 at 17:08
up vote 11 down vote accepted

I figured out which kernel version I installed by looking at /proc/version:

[kevin@raspberrypi tmp]$ more /proc/version
Linux version 3.2.27+ (dc4@dc4-arm-01) (gcc version 4.7.2 20120731 (prerelease) 
(crosstool-NG linaro-1.13.1+bzr2458 - Linaro GCC 2012.08) ) #250 PREEMPT Thu Oct
 18 19:03:02 BST 2012

I followed scruss' suggestion to use rpi-update. I deviated a little from the install instructions which suggests to install into /usr/bin, but I just put it in my user directory:

[kevin@raspberrypi ~]$ wget http://goo.gl/1BOfJ -O ./rpi-update && chmod +x rpi-update

After running rpi-update, I now have upgraded everything to 3.6.11.

[kevin@raspberrypi ~]$ more /proc/version
Linux version 3.6.11+ (dc4@dc4-arm-01) (gcc version 4.7.2 20120731 (prerelease) 
(crosstool-NG linaro-1.13.1+bzr2458 - Linaro GCC 2012.08) ) #340 PREEMPT Thu Dec
27 17:31:37 GMT 2012
share|improve this answer

I don't use Raspian, but unless they've deviated significantly from Debian in their package management, aptitude update followed by aptitude upgrade, as you've done, should update the packages on the system. You could also try aptitude dist-upgrade.

I don't know if that will update the Kernel image or not, but I suspect that it will not. For the kernel, modules, and firmware, you'll probably want to download the latest binaries from GitHub: https://github.com/raspberrypi/firmware. Just copy the contents of the boot directory onto your /boot/ partition. You'll also need to copy the modules directory to /lib on your system. You'll need to reboot to get the new kernel running, of course.

share|improve this answer
rpi-update is a much simpler way of updating the firmware on Raspbian. – scruss Dec 17 '12 at 4:23
I think we must have different definitions of "simpler", but that script does look...interesting. – AdmiralNemo Dec 17 '12 at 5:34
The underlying problem is that the kernel to be booted needs to be located in a location unknown to the apt-get system. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Dec 28 '12 at 11:11
rpi-update is part of the wheezy already. So sudo rpi-update is the easiest way to go. – Adarsha Mar 15 '15 at 4:34

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.