update.packages {utils}R Documentation

Download Packages from CRAN-like repositories


These functions can be used to automatically compare the version numbers of installed packages with the newest available version on the repositories and update outdated packages on the fly.


update.packages(lib.loc = NULL, repos = getOption("repos"),
                contriburl = contrib.url(repos, type),
                method, instlib = NULL,
                ask = TRUE, available = NULL, destdir = NULL,
                installWithVers = FALSE, checkBuilt = FALSE,
                type = getOption("pkgType"))

available.packages(contriburl = contrib.url(getOption("repos")), method)

old.packages(lib.loc = NULL, repos = getOption("repos"),
             contriburl = contrib.url(repos),
             method, available = NULL, checkBuilt = FALSE)

new.packages(lib.loc = NULL, repos = getOption("repos"),
             contriburl = contrib.url(repos),
             method, available = NULL, ask = FALSE)

download.packages(pkgs, destdir, available = NULL,
                  repos = getOption("repos"),
                  contriburl = contrib.url(repos, type),
                  method, type = getOption("pkgType"))

install.packages(pkgs, lib, repos = getOption("repos"),
                 contriburl = contrib.url(repos, type),
                 method, available = NULL, destdir = NULL,
                 installWithVers = FALSE, dependencies = FALSE,
                 type = getOption("pkgType"))

contrib.url(repos, type = getOption("pkgType"))


lib.loc character vector describing the location of R library trees to search through (and update packages therein).
repos character vector, the base URL(s) of the repositories to use, i.e., the URL of the CRAN master such as "http://cran.r-project.org" or its Statlib mirror, "http://lib.stat.cmu.edu/R/CRAN". Can be NULL to install from local ‘.tar.gz’ files.
contriburl URL(s) of the contrib section of the repositories. Use this argument only if your CRAN mirror is incomplete, e.g., because you burned only the ‘contrib’ section on a CD. Overrides argument repos. Can be NULL to install from local ‘.tar.gz’ files.
method Download method, see download.file.
pkgs character vector of the short names of packages/bundles whose current versions should be downloaded from the repositories. If repos = NULL, a character vector of file paths of ‘.tar.gz’ files. These can be source archives or binary package/bundle archive files (as created by R CMD build --binary). If this is a zero-length character vector, a listbox of available packages (including those contained in bundles) is presented where possible.
destdir directory where downloaded packages are stored.
available an object listing packages available at the repositories as returned by available.packages.
lib character vector giving the library directories where to install the packages. Recycled as needed.
ask logical indicating whether to ask user before packages are actually downloaded and installed, or the character string "graphics", which brings up a widget to allow the user to (de-)select from the list of packages which could be updated. The latter only works on systems with a GUI version of select.list, and is otherwise equivalent to ask = TRUE.
installWithVers If TRUE, will invoke the install of the package such that it can be referenced by package version.
checkBuilt If TRUE, a package built under an earlier minor version of R is considered to be ‘old’.
instlib character string giving the library directory where to install the packages.
dependencies logical indicating to also install uninstalled packages on which these packages depend/suggest/import (and so on recursively). Not used if repos = NULL. Can also be a character vector, a subset of c("Depends", "Imports", "Suggests").
type character, indicating the type of package to download and install. Possible values are "source" (the default except under the CRAN Mac OS X build), "mac.binary" and "win.binary" (which can be downloaded but not installed).


All of these functions work with the names of a package or bundle (and not the component packages of a bundle, except for install.packages if the repository provides the necessary information).

available.packages returns a matrix of details corresponding to packages/bundles currently available at one or more repositories. The current list of packages is downloaded over the internet (or copied from a local mirror). It returns only packages whose version requirements are met by the running version of R.

old.packages compares the information from available.packages with that from installed.packages and reports installed packages/bundles that have newer versions on the repositories or, if checkBuilt = TRUE, that were built under an earlier minor version of R (for example built under 2.0.x when running R 2.1.1).

new.packages does the same comparison but reports uninstalled packages/bundles that are available at the repositories. It will also give warnings about incompletely installed bundles (provided the information is available) and bundles whose contents has changed. If ask != FALSE it asks which packages should be installed in the first element of lib.loc.

download.packages takes a list of package/bundle names and a destination directory, downloads the newest versions and saves them in destdir. If the list of available packages is not given as argument, it is obtained from repositories. If a repository is local, i.e., the URL starts with "file:", then the packages are not downloaded but used directly. (Both "file:" and "file:///" are allowed as prefixes to a file path, the latter for an absolute file path.)

The main function of the set is update.packages. First a list of all packages/bundles found in lib.loc is created and compared with those available at the repostories. If ask = TRUE (the default) packages/bundles with a newer version are reported and for each one the user can specify if it should be updated. If so, the package sources are downloaded from the repositories and installed in the respective library path (or instlib if specified) using the R INSTALL mechanism.

install.packages can be used to install new packages/bundles. It takes a vector of names and a destination library, downloads the packages from the repositories and installs them. (If the library is omitted it defaults to the first directory in .libPaths(), with a warning if there is more than one.) An attempt is made to install the packages in an order that respects their dependencies. This does assume that all the entries in lib are on the default library path for installs (set by R_LIBS).

contrib.url adds the appropriate type-specific path within a repository to each URL in repos.

For install.packages and update.packages, destdir is the directory to which packages will be downloaded. If it is NULL (the default) a directory downloaded_packages of the session temporary directory will be used (and the files will be deleted at the end of the session).

If repos or contriburl is a vector of length greater than one, the newest version of the package is fetched from the first repository on the list within which it is found.


For available.packages, a matrix with one row per package/bundle, row names the package names and column names "Package", "Version", "Priority", "Bundle", "Depends", "Imports", "Suggests" "Contains" and "Repository".
For old.packages, NULL or a matrix with one row per package/bundle, row names the package names and column names "Package", "LibPath", "Installed" (the version), "Built" (the version built under), "ReposVer" and "Repository".
For new.packages a character vector of package/bundle names, after any have been installed.
For download.packages, a two-column matrix of names and destination file names, for those packages/bundles successfully downloaded. If packages are not available or there is a problem with the download, suitable warnings are given.
install.packages and update.packages have no return value.


Not enough information is recorded to know if a bundle is completely installed, so a bundle is regarded as installed if any of its component packages is.


Some binary distributions of R have INSTALL in a separate bundle, e.g. an R-devel RPM. install.packages will give an error if called on such a system.

See Also


See download.file for how to handle proxies and other options to monitor file transfers.

INSTALL, REMOVE, library, .packages, read.dcf

[Package utils version 2.2.1 Index]