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The goal of updater is to ease the R update process. The package will re-install packages available on your previous version of R into the system library of your new installation. The package uses {renv} to install the packages, adding each installation into your {renv} cache.

Importantly, the package re-installs the packages and does not copy them from the previous R installation library. R packages for minor R releases (e.g. R 4.1 to R 4.2) may not be compatible, which is why it’s important to re-install the packages and not copy them.


  1. Record location of current R system library

    • Open your current version of R (before you update), and type .libPaths() into the console. The current R system library locations will print to the console: save these file locations, e.g. copy and past the locations into Notepad or TextEdit.
    • It may be possible to skip this step and find the library location by calling find_previous_library_location() from your updated R session, but it’s recommended to use .libPaths() now to ensure accuracy. It’s likely that this function only works on Windows machines. If you are a Mac or Linux user and would like to contribute to your OS’s functionality, please file an issue on GitHub.
  2. Install R

  3. Install packages

    • Open your new version of R and install the {updater} package with install.packages("updater").
    • Run updater::install_pkgs(lib.loc = c("<location(s) saved in Step 1>")). As mentioned above, if you didn’t record the location, you may try to locate it with find_previous_library_location().