Jenkins Newbie- how to upgrade

Hi Jenkins Fam!

I was promoted to Jenkins admin when the previous admin left. I’ve been reading documentation and watching videos and am more confused now.

What’s the best methodology for me to upgrade my current Jenkins/Windows version: 2.164.1 (2017) to the newest version 2.426.3 (2024-01)?
Should I “upgrade Automatically” or manually?
Can I do this in one step or do I need to upgrade one version at a time?

Thank you in advance for your guidance and resources!


The best way would be to copy the contents of the JENKINS_HOME directory to another server and try the upgrade on there first. Then you can gain some confidence since you are upgrading from a version that is 7 years old. There have been MANY changes in that time, so you want to make sure you don’t kill your currently working instance. If it does work, you can upgrade automatically on the original server and be off and running.

@slide_o_mix - Thank you. I searched my c-drive and d-drive and didn’t find a jenkins_home directory to copy.

If I build a new Jenkins server, is there a tool or process I can use to copy my plugins and projects to the new server? Is this a faster/simpler process?

How can I upgrade my Java to v.11 if my Windows Java service won’t start?

The upgrade was successful, but I didn’t realize that my Java8 needed to be upgraded to Java11 before the Jenkins upgrade.

I’m searching the community, Google and youtube and haven’t discovered the solution yet.

Thank you.

JENKINS_HOME is just a placeholder, you need to determine where that directory is. I you look in C:\Program Files\Jenkins, there should be a jenkins.exe.xml or similar file, you can look there to see where JENKINS_HOME is. That file also specifies which java runtime to use, so you will need to update that file anyway so that the Java 11 is used to run the service.

Thank you. I’m starting over with a restored server, these primary steps and a bottle of Tylenol - lol.

  1. Backup the “Jenkins_Home” directory
  2. Upgrade jenkins-java/JVM to v.11
  3. Upgrade Jenkins to v.2.426.3 (current release)
  4. Validate Jenkins works, post-upgrade
  5. Update plugins as needed

I threw together a blog post a few months ago, recapping my adventure upgrading a linux distro flavor of Jenkins. Certainly there are parallels in your own adventure.

Have a review (Back of the Napkin Guide to Updating Jenkins, for the uninitiated) make backups, make mistakes, take notes, and rollback. I did that a few times before I hit my stride. Feedback always appreciated.