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warn user if rpi-update is used on raspbian #22

Mebus opened this Issue Jul 31, 2012 · 31 comments
Mebus commented Jul 31, 2012

Obviously rpi-update brakes raspbian installations.

Please warn the user if he tries to use rpi-update on raspbian installations.



I've been using rpi-update daily on the official Raspbian build and I haven't had any problem whatsoever...


I have an issue also with raspbain and rpi-update. After running rpi-update, the RPi won't boot. Disk access light comes on for a couple of blinks then nothing. Rebuilt SD Card (Transcend class 10 8gb) several times. Same result. Works just fine after building the SD Card, then I run rpi-update, reboot and no joy. Don't know where to start. System doesn't get far enough in the boot cycle to leave any traces. I have tried it on a different SD Card, still no joy.


Did you update raspbian before running rpi-update?

Mebus commented Aug 1, 2012

I downloaded the raspbian image "2012-07-15-wheezy-raspbian.img". Then I ran rpi-update. After rebooting I only saw colorful square on the screen and only the red LED was on. It did not boot.

Because I had already done some configuration on my pi I repaired it by copying all the original files from the image back onto the FAT32 partition and also replaced the kernel modules by the original ones. At least for now it boots and runs. Is there maybe a more elegant way to repair this? Git?

Is rpi-update supposed to work on this image?


Before you do sudo rpi-update please try sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade


I used 2012-07-15-wheezy-raspbian.img to build the SD Card.
I tried that updating with apt-get update/upgrade before doing the rpi-update. No joy.
I tried just doing a rpi-update on a fresh image. No joy. Both methods just gave me the same symptoms that Mebus described.


Also used the 2012-07-15-wheezy image to build the SD card, installing RPI-update not a problem.

First done apt-get update/upgrade then rpi-update, reboot and get the same problems that Mebus described, for now I wont update the rpi-update because it clearly brakes the rpi

TBCdevil commented Aug 3, 2012

same here, similar scenario.

After installing 2012-07-15-wheezy image + update && upgrade I started the rpi-update and it broke my whole installation after reboot.


Hexxeh started working at Google so he doesn't have much time left (except for his 20%) :p So to help him we can try to narrow down the issue. Could you try the following?
1. put raspbian on your SD
2. boot it up, update && upgrade
3. put the SD card in another computer and it update it manually to the latest firmware
4. try booting it up again
If this works, then the problem is related to rpi-update. If this doesn't work then rpi-update is working as it should and you should report the issue at the raspberry pi firmware repo because the new firmware is incompatible with existing images.

To update manually:
Download everything from (there's an option to download a zip from the website). Open the vc folder and copy the contents of ../hardfp/opt/vc/ to /opt/vc/ on your Raspberry Pi and overwrite existing files (actually you should delete everything that's in it and put the new folder there instead but it isn't super important).
Then copy the modules folder to /lib/ on your Raspberry Pi and overwrite existing files (actually you should delete the existing 3.1.9+ folder but it isn't super important).
Everything else you downloaded from the repo should be in /boot/.


I downloaded the firmware on Aug 6th @ 9am PDT from the above url.
I followed these instructions and it booted up just fine.
Anything else I can help with?


That just confirms the issue. I'll take a look when I have some spare time.

esalgado commented Aug 7, 2012

I confirm this issue too. I had the RPi updated with apt-get, and then ran the utility. The system didn't start.

I checked /boot with another computer, and saw start.elf was dated 15th July 2012 and was 2.1mb, so I removed it and copied arm224_start.elf to start.elf, and then the system started just fine!

JEG2 commented Aug 12, 2012

I hit this problem last night. I am run that I had not run sudo apt-get upgrade when I hit it.

Today, I planned to debug the script for you, but it worked on the first try. Today I did do the upgrade before running it.

I suspect that's the main culprit here.

@esalgado You say you "updated," which is good, but did you also "upgrade?"


For non-Linux users: sudo apt-get update doesn't do anything but looking for updates. It downloads a list of updates that are available. sudo apt-get upgrade effectively installs them. So if you never issued that command you shouldn't complain that the latest firmware isn't working...


Hi guys,

I ran apt-get update && apt-get dist-upgrade before trying to use the script, so the system was fully upgraded! :)


did I mention that by replacing boot.elf the issue was solved?


There was an issue with data loss on the FAT /boot partition. Maybe rpi-update made this issue apparent? After all it replaces most of /boot.

This issue was hopefully fixed recently, but of course that won't help if you try to upgrade from the older Raspbian image.



I have the same problem.

The steps I took:

  • Installed Raspbian on the SD with the latest wheezy from
  • Then booted up the Pi
  • sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get upgrade
  • wget -O /usr/bin/rpi-update && chmod +x /usr/bin/rpi-update
  • sudo bash
  • rpi-update

Am I missing something in these steps? Or is it a problem with the RPi firmware / rpi-update ?

JEG2 commented Aug 14, 2012

Actually, I don't think it was the upgrade that saved me.

Because I was trying to debug the script, I ran it several times before I finally rebooted. In doing that, I accidentally followed these steps.


Ok, although the steps mentioned in that blog post are for debian squeeze, I followed them and still no success.

root@raspberrypi:/home/pi# rpi-update 
Raspberry Pi firmware updater by Hexxeh, enhanced by AndrewS
Performing self-update
Autodetecting memory split
Using ARM/GPU memory split of 192MB/64MB
We're running for the first time
Setting up firmware (this will take a few minutes)
Using HardFP libraries
If no errors appeared, your firmware was successfully setup
A reboot is needed to activate the new firmware
root@raspberrypi:/home/pi# reboot

After this... the RPi does not boot.

Just to remind that this is a clean 2012-07-15-wheezy-raspbian.img downloaded from the official Raspberry website, with sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get upgrade; sudo apt-get dist-upgrade done.

So the problem is probably from rpi-update or the latest firmware.


Guys, I appreciate that you're trying to narrow down and fix the problem.. but as a stopgap measure, could this script issue a warning that there are outstanding issues and require specific invocation with an --ignore flag or something to continue?
Because it's been 15 days since last post here, but I just nerfed my RPi thinking this script still worked well.

Dmole commented Sep 23, 2012

is the problem that people are not using the full cdcard and / if filling up to 100%?

df -h

vicary commented Oct 9, 2012

Does this mean that if you run rpi-update without first running apt-get update && apt-get upgrade, then you're likely to mess up your boot files?


not messed up per se, if rpi-update updates to eg. kernel 1001 and then apt-get updates to kernel 999, since /boot/.firmwareversion file still registers that you already have updated to 1001 you are stuck with 999 till you either run rpi-update and get 1002 later or delete /boot/.firmwareversion and rerun rpi-update

vicary commented Oct 9, 2012

Alright, thanks @licaon-kter.

Don't know how other distros work on it's firmware, would adding a hash check on *.elf files be a quick fix?


Yeah I guess, I also guess other distros just get the latest firmware as they see fit.

Dmole commented Oct 9, 2012

It is sometimes desirable to prevent apt from changing the kernel like for custom builds or regressions, but I guess the right way to do that is with "echo "raspberrypi-bootloader hold" | sudo dpkg --set-selections" ?
regression example:

vicary commented Oct 10, 2012

@Dmole Sound like some kind of to me, got smells of 'platform specific' things.


I believe this is what has been knocking my machine. Good to know, hope we can get it fixed!

@Hexxeh Hexxeh closed this Dec 25, 2012
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