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Before running the Blackboard Learn Updater, address the following considerations:


Create a backup of the system and then verify that the current backup and restoration procedure will be successful.


Running the Updater on an existing system will reset many back-end and user interface customizations.

Examples of affected back-end settings include:

  • JAVA_HOME system environment variable
  • SSL and custom authentication settings
  • Settings in the,, and wrapper.conf files

Examples of affected user interface settings include:

  • Course settings (which control the course menu)
  • Building Block availability
  • Module and tab availability, role settings, and custom layouts

Customizations will need to be reapplied after the upgrade. To make this process easier, create a detailed document outlining all existing customizations. Any configuration files removed by the upgrade will be placed in the blackboard_directory/backups/upgrade_timestamp directory. Use these files as a guide when updating the new configuration files to reapply your previous customizations.

Upgrade Paths

Confirm that you are running a version of Academic Suite that can be upgraded directly to Blackboard Learn Release 9.1. The information for the release of 9.1 that you are installing is available in "Supported Technologies" in the Release Notes for the release that you are installing.

Server and Database Configurations

Confirm that Blackboard supports your current server and database configuration. The information for the version of 9.1 that you are installing is available in "Supported Technologies" in the Release Notes for the release that you are installing.

License Files

Contact Blackboard Client Operations to request a new license key file (bb-license.xml) for Blackboard Learn Release 9.1. Make sure to do so well in advance of the upgrade. It is important to obtain a new license file to ensure the upgrade includes new features and functions. Save the new license file in the same directory as the updater. Be sure not to confuse the new license with the old license file.

Custom Authentication

Turn off custom authentication. To learn more, see Custom Authentication in the Knowledge Base.

.NET APIs and Building Blocks

Support for .NET APIs and .NET Building Blocks has been removed from Blackboard Learn in Release 9.1. If you are using .NET APIs and Building Blocks, they will not work in Release 9.1. Replace them with comparable Web Services and Java Building Block APIs. To learn more about the available APIs, go to .

Content Management Settings

This section applies only to institutions that license content management.

If your institution licenses content management, the community engagement, the /organizations top-level content directory must also be available. If these directories are not available, the installation will fail.

How to Change the Content Management Availability Settings

  1. Log in as an administrator to Blackboard Release 8.
  2. On the Administrator Panel, in the Blackboard Content System section, click Settings, and then click Content Area Availability.
  3. Under /courses Content Area, ensure that Allow Add Content is set to Yes.
  4. If your institution also licenses community engagement, under /organizations Content Area, ensure that Allow Add Content is set to Yes.
  5. Click Submit.

After the Upgrade

Leaving the /courses and /organizations directories available after the upgrade provides courses and organizations with a customizable home folder. These home folders retain a course’s or organization's content so that it is archived with the course or organization. They also allow the course or organization to point to other shared content outside of the home folder, which is not archived with the course or organization.

In Release 9 and earlier versions, shared content had to be maintained in some location other than the default directories to prevent that content from being removed during a course or organization archive. Institutions worked around this by turning off the /courses and /organizations top level directories. Many institutions will now want to continue to store shared content in a subdirectory of the /institution area but leave the /courses and /organizations areas available for supplemental attachments that are relevant to the course or organization offering. Improvements to archive, export, and copy in Release 9.1 enable your institution to choose to archive the entire course or organization with the linked files (for archival purposes) or only the reference links (for reuse purposes).

Database Tasks

Verify that database tasks, such as backups, indexing, and statistics gathering, are not running when you begin the upgrade.

Application Server Batch Jobs

Verify that no batch jobs, such as those initiated by Snapshot commands, are running on the application server when you begin the upgrade.

Load-Balanced Environments

In a load-balanced, or distributed environment all application servers must be shut down prior to upgrade. For example, if you have Application Server 1, and Application Server 2 with the file system and database on a separate server, before running the upgrade on Application Server 1, Application Server 2 must also be shut down. If an attempt is made to upgrade the load-balanced, or distributed environment without following this procedure, files will be locked which will prevent the files from being upgraded.

SQL Server Agent

Verify that the SQL Server Agent is running during the upgrade and while Blackboard Learn is in production. From the Control Panel, open Administrative Tools and then Services to verify that the SQL Server Agent service has a status of Started.


Blackboard strongly recommends turning off various utilities that may conflict with the upgrade process, such as virus scanners and backup utilities. Failure to do so may cause the Upgrade to fail and leave the database in an indeterminate state because the Installer will be attempting to modify an object that is in use.

Firewall Ports

Ensure that your firewall has the necessary external ports open so that the upgrade and application will work on your network. The following table lists the parameters in the file for the necessary ports and their default settings.

Parameter Default Port Open between
bbconfig.webserver.portnumber 80 All
bbconfig.collabserver.portnumber.tcp.default 8010 All
bbconfig.collabserver.portnumber.http.default 8011 All
bbconfig.collabserver.portnumber.ssl.default 8443 All
bbconfig.database.server.portnumber 1433 Application and database only