How to upgrade to a new version of R

I updated to R 2.14.1 for the StatET instructions post (forthcoming).  While doing that, I noticed some upgrading instructions in R’s Frequent Asked Questions.

upgrade txt from FAQ 2.8

I gave it a try, but the results were a little annoying.  First of all, I had to be careful to copy over only my custom libraries, and not the core libraries (like “base” and “stats”).

Then, when I issued the update commands:
## The FAQ had ask=FALSE, but I wanted to see what was going on,
## so I set ask=TRUE
update.packages(checkBuilt=TRUE, ask=TRUE)

Unfortunately, the update.packages command updated nearly every custom package, and (oddly) a few core packages as well.  Also, I was expecting “update” to mean “just update missing files”. However, “update” meant “download the whole package and install from scratch”. So it didn’t save time or bandwidth.

I found it easier to run these commands to list the folders that are in the old library, but not in the new one:
OldFolders = list.files('C:/Documents and Settings/Gene/My Documents/R/win-library/2.13')
NewFolders = list.files('C:/Program Files/R/R-2.14.1/library')
OldFolders[!OldFolders %in% NewFolders]

Note that in 2.14 they seem to have gone back to storing the libraries in the “Program Folder” rather than in “My Documents”.  I think the original switch to “My Documents” was a work around to avoid needing admin privileges every time you install a new package / library.

Then I manually installed the libraries one by one using “install.packages”, e.g.:

The manual installation is useful because
•    Some of libraries might not be available on CRAN
•    You might not need all your old libraries
•    Some libraries install dependencies, so you can skip the dependences

Every so often I would rerun the oldfolders / newfolders code to check what was still needed.

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