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Home > Success Center > Network Performance Monitor (NPM) > NPM Upgrade Guide

NPM Upgrade Guide

Last Updated: January 4, 2018 | SolarWinds Upgrade Guide

Supports: NPM 12.1 and earlier


If you have NPM 12.0 or higher, you can upgrade using the SolarWinds Orion Installer

Even if you have an older version, you can use the installer to scan your environment and provide your upgrade path. Then use the instructions below to upgrade to one of the minimum versions. After that, you can continue using the SolarWinds Orion Installer to complete your upgrade.


This guide walks you through upgrading only your NPM product. We include checklists to prepare and complete your upgrades, gotchas, and troubleshooting steps. This guide includes information on upgrading with SolarWinds High Availability (HA).

If you are upgrading from NPM 10.3 or earlier, we recommend starting with a fresh install. Read this article for details.

Upgrading multiple products? See our SolarWinds multiple products upgrade guide!

This video (6:58) demo walks through an upgrade from NPM 10.4 to 12.0.

video-icon.png Check out this video (4:22) on the upgrade process.

readmore_icon.pngLearn about upgrades with the Head Geeks!

Preflight upgrade checklist

This preflight checklist details a number of important steps to help plan and prep for your upgrade.

Review release notes

Review product release notes and available documentation in our Success Center.

Review system requirements

Make sure your environment has all of the required hardware and software needs for your installations. You can verify the requirements for products and multi-module environments guidelines.

Product requirements include:

You may need to also check the administrator guide for your product to locate the requirements.

For all port requirements, see Port Requirements for all SolarWinds products.

Review licenses Review your current product licenses and determine if you need to make any changes. You can download any updated license keys for your upgrade through your Customer Portal. Verify any license upgrades and needs with your SolarWinds account manager or contact SolarWinds.
Do you need to migrate?

You may need to migrate products and databases to new dedicated servers or to shared servers. Check if you need to migrate by reviewing new requirements, your products, and your current environment.

Migrating adds time to your upgrade, but you have the best opportunity to update to new servers during an upgrade.

Gather credentials Make sure you have all account credentials, SQL database credentials, your SolarWinds account, and local admin server credentials.
Build your upgrade path

Use the Upgrade Product Advisor to build your upgrade path. If you have NPM, upgrade NPM first. If you have SAM but not NPM, upgrade SAM first. The Product Upgrade Advisor always provides the upgrade process in steps.

We recommend downloading a PDF of your upgrade path from the Product Upgrade Advisor tool. You can use it as a checklist as you complete upgrades.

Run all Windows updates Before upgrading, check for and run all Microsoft Windows Updates on your main poller, all additional pollers, and all additional web servers. As you upgrade, if a Windows update runs, your system may reboot as needed by Windows.
Schedule the upgrade Set up the maintenance window, preferably off-peak hours. Depending on the number of products, size of database(s), and size of environment, you may need hours to complete your upgrade.

Upgrades will require polling engines and SolarWinds services to be offline for a length of time, causing you to lose a portion of polling data.

Notify your company Send a message to your company of the upgrade schedule and maintenance window. If you need additional help, contact and allocate specific staff to be available.

How long does an upgrade take?

The time it takes to complete an upgrade depends on:

  • Hardware
  • Database server performance and database size
  • Number of additional pollers
  • Number of additional web servers
  • Environment performance
  • Number of modules being upgraded
  • Number of devices being polled

Since every configuration is different, we cannot predict exactly how long your upgrade will take. Coming soon, we are compiling feedback with the THWACK community about upgrade times to help give you a ballpark estimate. Through this guide, we include steps and tips to help reduce time for your upgrade.

Gotchas you should review

  • When upgrading an Additional Polling Engine (APE), you may receive this error "The license we have for Orion Scalability Engine is outdated". Deactivate your APE license using the License Manager application, upgrade the APE, and then activate the license through the Orion Web Console's License Manager in the Settings page.
  • When upgrading to NPM 12.1 with custom menus, you can not see the Performance Dashboard link in the menu. For details, see this article.
  • When upgrading to NPM 12.1, if you added a site binding to a host name before you upgrade, you must bind the Orion Web Console to a fully qualified domain name (FQDN). See this article.
  • After NPM 12.1, future releases will no longer support Windows OS 2008 and 2008 R2 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. NPM 12.1 currently supports these versions. SolarWinds recommends that you upgrade to Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2, or 2016 at your earliest convenience. For more information, see End of support notices.
  • NPM 12 no longer includes the Orion Global Search. This feature was a technical preview available in NPM 11.5.X. For details, see this article.
  • If NPM and DPA are installed on the same server, follow this article before upgrading NPM. 
  • Installation of NPM 12.0 and later is no longer supported on Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 SP1, or 2008 R2 without SP1.
  • NPM 12.0 has new port requirements: 5671 (Rabbit MQ messaging), 17791 (agent communication to 2008 R2 SP1), 17778 (SW Information Service, agent communication to 2012).
  • If you have edited resource properties, the All Groups resource may be empty after upgrading to NPM 12.
  • When upgrading to NPM 12, using the group by feature for custom properties may return no results, and the data loading may hang or not complete. All regular functionality is unaffected by the issue. 
  • When upgrading to NPM 12.0 with SAM, we recommend upgrading SAM to 6.2 or later. For alerting, SNMPv3 trigger conditions will not properly work with SAM 6.1.1 or earlier on NPM 12.0.
  • NPM 11.5 and later no longer support running the Orion SQL database on Microsoft SQL 2005 or earlier.
  • SolarWinds installations on Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7 require a Microsoft hotfix to fully use the FIPS-compatibility features of SolarWinds products. For more information about this required Microsoft hotfix, see
  • For NPM 11.5, if you have Virtualization Manager (VMAN) installed and integrated, you may need to VMAN) installed and integrated, you may need to upgrade and reintegrate VMan after upgrading. To verify upgrade paths with VMAN, you may want to contact Support. For VMAN, you may want to contact Support. For NPM 11.5, you should have VMAN6.0 installed. For NPM 11.5.2 and SAM 6.2.1, you should have VMan to 6.3 installed.

General Orion Platform gotchas

  • If you have written your own code, such as changing SolarWinds .css files or adding .js files, or been directed to make changes by Support, the code may be overwritten during the upgrade. You can learn more about upgrading with custom code here.
  • Always check that you have enough hard drive space for zipped and unzipped installers. One unzipped installer could consume a couple GBs of space.
  • During your upgrade, use the Scalability Engine Installer. If you use downloaded installers or the installer bundle, you must install one product and version at a time. The versions must match between the main and additional poller or you will receive a Database Configuration Failure Error.
  • If you are upgrading from a very early or End of Life SolarWinds product version, you may want to install a new product instead of performing an upgrade, saving or migrating your data. SolarWinds Support can provide the best advice for these upgrade scenarios.
  • If you have enabled SolarWinds High Availability, you must disable High Availability before you can upgrade. You must have the same versions of SolarWinds products on your primary and secondary server before you can re-enable your HA pools. See the Upgrade with HA section.

Prepare your environment to upgrade

When you are ready to upgrade, complete these steps. They include the common actions you need to complete before upgrading products.

If you have a test or staging environment, we highly recommend testing the upgrade first. You cannot roll back an installation once completed.

1. Back up the DB

Snapshot your VMs

Back up your SolarWinds SQL database. If you need help, please check your vendor's site for documentation and instructions.

If you have your database on a VM, create a snapshot or copy of your VM.

You cannot roll back an upgrade. Always create a database backup.

2. Back up custom code (Optional)

(Optional) Back up your custom code. When upgrading, any custom additions or changes to the interface will be saved over.

3. Back up Report Writer reports (Optional)

Upgrading to an Orion Platform 2016.1 or later product? You can skip this step.

If you use Report Writer reports (NPM 10.5 and earlier) or still have legacy reports, back up the reports folder to save your custom reports:

  • 64-bit OS: C:\Program Files x86\Solarwinds\Orion\Reportsx86\Solarwinds\Orion\Reports
  • 32-bit OS: C:\Program Files\Solarwinds\Orion
4. Exclude files on anti-virus software

To ensure the best performance on your server host and provide full file access, exclude specific file paths and directories from anti-virus software scans. See this article for details.

You can also place your systems behind a firewall to completely disable your anti-virus software during an upgrade.

5. Stop services Stop services in the Orion Service Manager on the main polling engine, all additional polling engines, and all web servers.
6. Disable alert actions

To prevent false alert storms during upgrades, SolarWinds recommends disabling alert actions:

  1. Go to Alerts & Activity.
  2. Click More.
  3. Select Pause actions of all alerts.

Upgrade with SolarWinds HA

To upgrade a server pair in a SolarWinds High Availability (HA) pool, follow the instructions for upgrading your product with the following differences.

If you have enabled SolarWinds High Availability, you must disable HA before you can upgrade. All SolarWinds product versions must match on the primary and secondary servers before you can re-enable your HA pools.

These instructions assume you have an HA pool already created and enabled. For more information on SolarWinds HA, see this article.

1. Disable the HA pool

The HA pool must be disabled to begin upgrading. If you upgrade prior to disabling, the pool is automatically disabled.

  1. In the Orion Web Console, click Settings > All Settings > High Availability Deployment Summary.
  2. Select the pool you want to disable.

  3. Toggle High Availability to Off.

Do not modify the VIP or IP settings for the servers.

2. Upgrade the primary server Follow the upgrade instructions in the next section for the primary server. If you need to upgrade multiple products in the upgrade path, complete those upgrades fully.
3. Upgrade the secondary server using Orion Scalability Engine Installer

Download the Orion Scalability Engine Installer on the primary server and run it on the secondary server to upgrade:

  1. In the Orion Web Console, click Settings > All Settings > Polling Engines and click Download Installer Now.
  2. Move the downloaded installer to your secondary server and run it.
  3. Complete the installation process. You may be prompted to enter your SQL credentials for your Orion SQL database.
4. Enable the HA pool

When the installer completes, enable the HA pool using the following instructions. You may need to recreate the HA pool. For details, see this article

  1. In the Orion Web Console, click Settings > All Settings > High Availability Deployment Summary.
  2. Select the pool you want to enable.

  3. Toggle High Availability to On.
    The Orion Web Console verifies all SolarWinds product versions match across the HA pair before enabling. If you receive errors, check your product versions.

Upgrade NPM

This checklist details the steps for upgrading only NPM in your environment.

Upgrade Tip! If you upgrade multiple versions of the same product, skip the website optimization step in the Configuration Wizard. Only run this step with the last installation to save time.

1. Installation step using the upgrade path (Repeatable)

Following the upgrade path, download the NPM product installation file from your Customer Portal in the My Downloads area. Save this file to your systems.

If you are directly installing NPM 12 or later, see step 3.

Depending on the version, you may have a smart bundle of all install files per system, separate files to download, or the standalone installer.

  1. Main Poller: Unzip, upgrade, and run the Configuration Wizard.
  2. Each Additional Polling Engine: Download and run the Additional Polling Engine installer, and run the Configuration Wizard.

    Upgrade Tip! Run your upgrade installations and Configuration Wizards at the same time on your additional pollers to save time.

  3. Each Additional Web Server: Download and run the Additional Web Server installer, and run the Configuration Wizard.

    During an additional web server upgrade, you can point users to the website of the main polling engine, or to any web server that is already upgraded.

After installing this product and version on your entire environment, check the product and version as done on your downloaded Upgrade Path PDF or list. If you have additional versions to install, repeat this step.

2. Run the improved NPM 12.0 and later  installer

Upgrade the Main Polling Engine NPM 12.0 and later

When you upgrade to NPM 12 or later, you will use our improved standalone installer. To learn more about upgrading with the installer, see this article.

This installer runs a series of tests against the current environment and products.

Run the installer on your main poller.

  1. If you need to update your environment, a list of required changes displays with KB articles for more information. Complete all updates.
  2. If you need to install additional product versions, an upgrade path displays with links to release notes and bits to download. Complete any additional upgrades using the repeatable steps.
  3. Re-run this installer for updates and the final product version installation.
  4. If all tests pass and all versions are correct, NPM 12.0 or later installs.
  5. Run the Configuration Wizard. Steps populate with previously configured settings including the Orion SQL database.

When done, complete these installation steps for the Additional Polling Engine and Additional Web Server. For instructions and details on the bundle and Scalability Engine install options, see Orion product installers for main poller, additional polling engine, additional web servers, and HA.


Upgrade Additional Polling Engine and Additional Web Server NPM 12.0 and later

When you upgrade your additional polling engine (APE) and additional web server (AWS), you will use a new unified Orion Scalability Engines Installer.

  1. Install your modules on the Main Poller. When complete, you will need to upgrade your additional polling engines and additional web servers.
  2. Download this installer through the Orion Web Console.
    • For the APE installer, click Settings > All Settings > Polling Engines.
    • For the AWS installer, click Settings > All Settings > Web Console Settings. 
  3. Copy the installer to your APE or AWS.
  4. Run the appropriate installer on your APE and AWS. This single installer will upgrade all Orion modules on each of these servers. If you are upgrading one or more modules, all modules are upgraded!

This new lightweight installer is far faster for upgrading your APE and AWS than installing one module at a time!

3. Upgrade Orion Agents

If you have the Global Agent Setting to Allow automatic updates (enabled by default), the Orion Agents automatically upgrade in the background. Agents are tied to their release version. You can skip manually upgrading agents if the option is enabled.

The upgrades take a bit of time to complete, but will not require any actions. Agents update at a throttled number of 10 to limit the impact on the polling engine. As soon as one agent completes upgrading, another agent takes its place so there are always 10 active threads until all agents are upgraded.

If automatic upgrades are disabled, upgrade the Orion Agents:

  1. Open the Manage Agents page. Orion Agents requiring upgrades display Update Required.
  2. Select all agents needing updates and click More Actions > Update. The agents upgrade in the background.

You can enable the option through Settings > All Settings > Agent Settings and click Define Global Agent Settings.

4. Start the engines

Start services in the Orion Service Manager on the main polling engine, all additional polling engines, and all web servers.

5. Re-enable alert actions
  1. Go to Alerts & Activity.
  2. Click More.
  3. De-select Pause actions of all alerts.

If you have alerts configured to notify you when certain entities haven't been polled for "X" number of minutes or similar, ensure that you have waited at least two polling intervals before re-enabling alert actions so that polling has caught completely up, which prevents false alerts.

After the upgrade check your system

All product versions should be installed properly. Open the application and verify the versions displayed in the footer of the Web Console. Try current and new features with your system to check performance and expected functionality. If you run into issues, check the troubleshooting tips.


If you receive errors, try the following:

  • If you experience issues and are not on the latest product versions, we recommend completing a full upgrade. Use the Product Upgrade Advisor to create the upgrade path. Many of these updates solve issues you may experience part way through your upgrade.
  • Check our Success Center for troubleshooting. We recommend searching the name of the product, the version number, any error codes or messages displayed, and the general issue you found.
  • Check your Customer Portal for any new hotfixes.
  • If you receive (500) internal server error after an upgrade, use the Orion permission checker to make sure your Group Policy is not locked. See this article for full details.
  • If your views do not load when first opening the console, run the Configuration Wizard again.

If an issue occurs you need additional help with, contact Support. We recommend gathering diagnostics, a screenshot of the issue, and any error codes you receive. Attach and add this information to your ticket.  You may also want to gather additional diagnostics on your additional pollers and web servers.

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