Firmware update - How to keep everything in order?

Meshkoff

Occasional Visitor
Hi all

I plan to update my old RT-N66 from (374.43_43E6j9527) (Merlin LTS Fork) to the latest available (374.43_52E7j9527) (Merlin LTS Fork) but a bit of scary to do this for the first time.
I'm using this version for 2 or 3 years and everything works really well, doing a lot of tips and tricks from this forum since: installing entware and its packages onto usb flash drive, amtm and its addons, writing custom scripts and cronjobs and etc...
I Read several FAQ's and HOW-TO's around here, but just want to doublecheck what i got it right before something might gone wrong.
  1. Backup everything (jffs, nmvar (with nsru script), usb flashdrive, even make screenshots all of admin UI pages :D)
  2. Upload new firmware directly through admin UI and flash it
  3. Do a factory default reset (It is good practice right? Since in this case its a versions long jump)
  4. Restore jffs, then restore nvram settings with nsru script
  5. But how about addons and entware? Do i need reinstall them? If i reinstall entware it will see its already installed packages?
It is a good plan or i miss something? What is best practice in this case?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Doing step 4 effectively negates step 3.

While it may work, it isn't guaranteed with your use of (unknown) scripts.

I suggest doing a minimal and manual configuration of the router after doing step 3.

Then, either use a new USB drive (use the old drive as your 'backup') to fresh format it, install Entware, and all your scripts. Testing (and testing by also rebooting the router too) at each step.

While this seems tedious, it is the minimum I would do if I want to truly enjoy the benefits of the latest firmware while also having the most stable/reliable network experience too (into the far future).

Finally, I would be updating the firmware more often than you have been doing so now (and the above 'extra' steps may not be needed each time). :)
 

Meshkoff

Occasional Visitor
While it may work, it isn't guaranteed with your use of (unknown) scripts.

My scripts is quite simple variations of ASUS merlin wiki examples, nothing really special.
The main question in head was: do i really need to manual settings thins up after such a firmware upgrade? I mean, its just LTS update, not jump to latest Merlin-ng...
So I read 2 opposite answers here, i think i will try nsru restore script and if something goes wrong just set up everything from scratch like you said.

Thanks guys.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Just look at all the changelogs from your version to the one you updated to. Not 'just LTS upgrade' in my eyes. :)

If after using the script the router seems to be doing okay, how will you know it wouldn't be better with a full/fresh install?

It's not that a few (extra) minutes investing in our networks is ever wasted time, IMO.
 

SomeWhereOverTheRainBow

Part of the Furniture
My scripts is quite simple variations of ASUS merlin wiki examples, nothing really special.
The main question in head was: do i really need to manual settings thins up after such a firmware upgrade? I mean, its just LTS update, not jump to latest Merlin-ng...
So I read 2 opposite answers here, i think i will try nsru restore script and if something goes wrong just set up everything from scratch like you said.

Thanks guys.
I think you should examine the changelogs between versions and make sure none of the features you currently use have been removed or changed in a way that warrants a reset. If you find nothing that would warrant such, then proceed a head.

Edit:mad:L&LD

Beat me to it
Just look at all the changelogs from your version to the one you updated to. Not 'just LTS upgrade' in my eyes. :)

If after using the script the router seems to be doing okay, how will you know it wouldn't be better with a full/fresh install?

It's not that a few (extra) minutes investing in our networks is ever wasted time, IMO.
 

ColinTaylor

Part of the Furniture
nsru hasn't been updated since 2020 and was really intended for Merlin's firmware rather than John's current firmware. Use it to make a backup by all means but I wouldn't trust it to perform a complete restore. In fact I know it doesn't as I tried it last year when I was running John's fork.

So take backups using the "normal" save settings options and have a copy of your current firmware handy if you need to quickly go back to where you were. But you shouldn't need or expect to do a factory reset after updating to the latest version.
 
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SomeWhereOverTheRainBow

Part of the Furniture
nsru hasn't been updated since 2020 and was really intended for Merlin's firmware rather than John's current firmware. Use it to make a backup by all means but I wouldn't trust it to perform a complete restore. In fact I know it doesn't as I tried it last year when I was running John's fork.

So take backups using the "normal" save settings options and have a copy of your current firmware handy if you need to quickly go back to where you were. But you shouldn't need or expect to do a factory reset after updating to latest version.
And the award for "Best Answer of the Year" goes to @ColinTaylor .
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Since John's firmware is always based on the same codebase since day 1, you most likely just need to update the firmware, and check your settings for any new feature that might require separate configuration (check the changelog for that). Factory default reset is highly unlikely to be necessary.
 

Meshkoff

Occasional Visitor
We are so different but still together :D
Many thanks to all ya)
 

Marc66

Regular Contributor
For many years, my process is to perform steps 1 and 2 only. Since my Asus is now my backup router and I update it only a few times a year, I may miss some intermediate updates, so what I always do is:
1. Update to current release + 1
2. If something changed in the GUI (as mentioned by RMerlin), take a screenshot of that new screen/parameter
3. Backup settings
4. Reboot
5. Redo steps 1-4 until the latest release

Yes, it takes more time since I upgrade to all intermediate releases, but I am sure to have all relevant changes documented and backed-up. I can always go back to a previous release (which I never had to do in 11 years). Note that your step 1 is my last step; I always perform a backup at the end of each upgrade or anytime I change something
 

underdose

Regular Contributor
Just pull the plug and update to the latest version while keeping your USB attached. I know that's not the best practice but it simply works for John's Fork.

After upgrading, as almost everyone mentioned, check the new features that you need to set up from the changelog and check your syslog for errors.
 

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