Upgrading file and personal geodatabases

The goal of upgrading a geodatabase is to update the geodatabase system tables to take advantage of functionality that is available in the latest release of ArcGIS. If your geodatabase was created using a previous version of ArcGIS, you may want to upgrade it. Upgrading a file or personal geodatabase is optional in most cases, but if you do not upgrade, you will not have access to newer functionality.

You upgrade file and personal geodatabases using the Upgrade Geodatabase geoprocessing tool. This can be opened from the Database Properties dialog box or from the Data Management toolbox. Alternatively, you can run a Python script to upgrade the geodatabase. To run the tool or the script, you must have the current release of ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Engine, or ArcGIS Server installed on the computer from which you will run the upgrade.

  • Upgrades from beta versions of the geodatabase are not supported.
  • Once a geodatabase has been upgraded, previous versions of ArcGIS will be unable to open it since older versions of ArcGIS cannot read newer versions of the geodatabase.
  • There is no formal mechanism to downgrade a geodatabase to a previous version. If after upgrading to a newer version you decide you need the older version of the geodatabase, use the backup copy you created of the old geodatabase.

  1. Start ArcMap and open the Catalog window, or start ArcCatalog.
  2. Connect to the folder that contains the file or personal geodatabase you want to upgrade.
  3. If you do not already have a backup of your data, make a backup copy of the geodatabase before proceeding.
    1. Right-click the geodatabase and click Copy.
    2. Right-click the folder into which you want to place the backup and click Paste.

      Having a backup copy of the geodatabase allows you to revert to the previous version of the geodatabase if needed.


      If you paste the copy into the same folder as the original, the name of the copy will have "_1" appended to it.

  4. Right-click the geodatabase to upgrade and click Properties.
  5. Click the General tab.

    If an upgrade is needed, the Upgrade Geodatabase button is active.

    If the Upgrade Geodatabase button is not active, it could be because the connecting client is at the same release as the ArcSDE geodatabase or your geodatabase is not at a supported upgradable release.

  6. Click the Upgrade Geodatabase button.

    The Upgrade Geodatabase geoprocessing tool opens. The Input geodatabase text box is prepopulated with the geodatabase connection information when launched using the Upgrade Geodatabase button.

  7. NoteNote:

    You cannot run the Upgrade Geodatabase tool if any other geoprocessing tools are currently running as background processes on the client machine.

  8. Leave both the Perform Pre-requisite check and Upgrade geodatabase options checked and click OK.

    A dialog box appears showing the process of the prerequisite check and upgrade. If there are any errors in the process, they will appear in this dialog box and the GDBUpgrade<n>.log, which can be found in the system TEMP directory.

    The tool checks to be sure the geodatabase is read only, there are no other users connected to the geodatabase, and that all datasets can be opened. If the geodatabase meets these requirements, the tool proceeds with the upgrade. If the geodatabase does not meet the requirements, the tool terminates, and you must correct the prerequisite problems before you run the Upgrade Geodatabase tool again.

  9. When the upgrade operation completes successfully, click Close to close the dialog box.

    The geodatabase is now upgraded.

If your geodatabase contains network datasets or cadastral or parcel fabrics that you want to upgrade, you must do that separately. These upgrades are optional, but if you do not upgrade them, you will not have access to the latest network dataset or parcel fabric functionality.