IBM Installation Manager Tip: Don’t “Save Files For Rollback”

The ability to roll back a update is a nifty idea. The theory is that you installed something that broke your platform. You can now just ‘undo’ the install.

In practice, it’s a feature that next to nobody uses. It requires a deep-faith in the programmers of the rollback logic to return the system to it’s initial state. If they missed a single file or java class, it could land up affecting the entire system. The user is then left with a question “Is the environment broken or is there a bug in the platform?”. In order to resolve this question, they will uninstall and re-install the product.

Therefore, if you know that you will never bother to rollback, why are you dedicating disk space for the installation manager to rollback? Yup, that’s the default setting. Every old version of every plugin in every product you’ve ever installed is still there needlessly. For people like me who work in virtual machines, disk space is precious.

You can turn this open off by clicking File -> Preferences.

You can turn off the check box to preclude future saving. You can also click the Delete saved Files button to remove any current old versions.

Before I clicked the button, it told me I had 1.6G of files saved.

Author: dan


  1. Hi Dan,

    I was interested to read your blog posting, as I’m struggling to rollback WPS from to 6.1

    The rollback with WID worked fine.

    Where do you think the problem lies with the rollback functionality of IM? I guess installation software never seems to get tested as much as core product features, because product managers think that it doesn’t get used as much.

    Do you think of the possibility that IBM will withdraw the rollback feature of IM?

    Best regards,


  2. Hi Mike,

    The reason I tend not to have faith in ‘rolling back’ is based on the time is takes to rollback versus the time it takes to bite the bullet and just re-install. If I need to get back to WID 6.1.x.y, it’s likely a reinstall of the base 6.1 and whatever latest fix pack. Lengthy process, sure, but the path of installation is much more traveled, so I have more confidence in it. My fears come when you rollback, and possibly encounter a Problem Report situation. You may have an unreproducible state for support. You’ll waste even more time there than if you just started from scratch.

    I wouldn’t see them pulling the feature, you always need to provide an ‘undo’ for whatever you just did to the system. I also believe that next to nobody ever does rollback so there’s going to be some hidden bugs that I’m in no hurry to encounter.

    I’m actually have way more confidence in the updater for Process Server and I’m surprised you found an issue with it.

    I looked at your issue, what did the C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\IBM\Installation Manager\logs\native\UpdateInstaller location contain? Anything?

    To be clear, you are rolling back your WPS from within the WID update? Try using just the WPS UpdateInstaller. It has the ability to rollback the server as well. I’ll bet it’ll actually be more descriptive about the issue.

  3. Hi Dan,

    I was using Installation Manager to rollback WID and then WPS, the products which were shell sharing in Eclipse. (Not sure what you mean by rolling back your WPS from within the WID update).

    If I get stuck again, I’ll try using the WPS UpdateInstaller, for now I took your advice and uninstalled and re-installed.

    Many thanks for the advice,


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