Tip of the Month – Frequently Asked Questions about Upgrading BarnOwl

27 February 2020

What is the benefit of an Upgrade?

BarnOwl is constantly striving to enhance and improve our product. Each time a new version of BarnOwl is released, it contains not only the latest new features, but also performance enhancements and fixes. It is therefore highly recommended that you always work on the latest version of the product. In addition, older versions (major version-1) will no longer be supported by BarnOwl.

Who is responsible for upgrading BarnOwl?

Historically (version 8.5.3 and lower), the upgrade process involved manual steps and therefore required assistance from the BarnOwl Support team. However, after version 8.5.3, our Clients are responsible for initiating and performing their own upgrades. The new upgrade process is fully automated with a wizard-driven approach enabling our clients to upgrade BarnOwl themselves. This also gives our clients autonomy in terms of change management (i.e. communicating the impact of the new version to their users (what’s new in BarnOwl document), booking BarnOwl training on the new version if required, scheduling the upgrade per environment (UAT and / or Production) at a time that suits you and fits in with your IT processes.

How do I know when a new version is available?

As soon as a new version of BarnOwl is released, details are published on the BarnOwl website. If you have requested a feature enhancement which is included in the new release, you will receive an e-mail informing you of the new release. In addition, e-mails will be sent to BarnOwl Champions informing them of new releases. It is therefore very important to inform BarnOwl of any change in contact details to enable us to send upgrade notifications to the correct person in your organisation. You can update your information directly on the Customer Hub, or by sending an email to Support with the changes you would like made.

How do I perform the upgrade?

The BarnOwl Server Update Guide will take you through the steps you need to carry out in order to upgrade BarnOwl. You can find the latest version of the BarnOwl Server Update Guide in the TeamSupport knowledge base or you can request a copy from Support.

Where can I get help if there is a problem during the upgrade?

If you encounter a problem which is not covered in the Server Update Guide, please log a support ticket by sending an e-mail to BarnOwl Support, or contact Support on +27 11 540 9112 during office hours. Please note that this may result in a support incident being deducted from your account.

Where do I start?

To get started, you need to download the BarnOwl Upgrade package. Log in to the BarnOwl Customer Hub and select “Knowledge Base”.

Warning Important


  • If you are upgrading from any version below 8.5.3, you will require assistance from our support office who you can contact by emailing or telephonically on  +27 11 540 9112.
  • Make full backups of all the databases which will be upgraded. This includes Production and UAT/Training databases.
  • Warn your users that BarnOwl will not be available for the duration of the upgrade. It is important that users don’t attempt to log in to BarnOwl while you are upgrading the version.


If you do not have a customer account on the Customer Hub, click here. Click the “Create an Account” link and follow the steps.




 What do I need to know before I start?

Whenever you upgrade a software application, it is always important to make sure that you (together with your IT department) have familiarized yourself with the following documents:

  • The BarnOwl Minimum System Requirements
  • The BarnOwl What’s New document

It is very important that you consult both these documents, because you need to know what is required for the version of BarnOwl you are upgrading to. As some Microsoft Products are discontinued or replaced from time to time, it is always best to ensure that you have a version of SQL and Windows which are supported by BarnOwl. This information is updated for each new version.

The What’s New document is important, because it informs you of the changes that have been made to the BarnOwl application. It also provides links to the BarnOwl Online Help for each change or enhancement.

Both of these documents are available for download on the BarnOwl website, at this link:

What do I do if I am unable to Upgrade BarnOwl myself?

If you are unable to upgrade yourself, you can request a quote from your account manager and / or from BarnOwl Support. A quotation will be sent to you for the Technical Resource’s time. Upgrades performed by BarnOwl require remote access. If remote access cannot be provided,, an additional onsite fee will be charged.  Please note that we will only schedule a date for the upgrade, once you have sent through the signed quote and / or Purchase Order and once you (or your IT) has completed the BarnOwl installation details and technical checklist. Thereafter, we will schedule a BarnOwl technical resource which can take up to two weeks.

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