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On rhel 5.3 I want to update to kernel version "2.6.18-128.8.1.el5" due to a security patch.
When performing:

yum check-update | grep kernel
kernel.x86_64                            2.6.18-164.2.1.el5     rhel-x86_64-server-5
kernel-devel.x86_64                      2.6.18-164.2.1.el5     rhel-x86_64-server-5
kernel-headers.x86_64                    2.6.18-164.2.1.el5     rhel-x86_64-server-5

But 2.6.18-164.2.1.el5 correspond to rhel 5.4, and I dont want to move to this version, I want to keep rhel 5.3.

I tried

yum update kernel-2.6.18-128.8.1

But it seems to be the wrong way.
How could I update the server to this specific kernel version?

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You are on the right track. You just didn't specify the kernel version the way yum expects it. The correct command would be

yum install kernel-2.6.18-128.8.1.el5

(Note that kernel packages are not updates for each other, each of them is a separate install, and the old ones remain until you run "rpm -e".)

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I also tried that, but it says: "No Packages marked for Update". I even tried including arch, but nothing. – CarlosH Oct 2 '09 at 20:20
If nothing else helps - log on to and search for the correct package in your subscription channel. Then download and install manually. – Max Alginin Oct 2 '09 at 20:38

One thing to try would be to freeze your redhat-release level, I'm not sure if this would prevent you from moving to a kernel newer than 2.6.18-128.8.1.el5, but it would prevent your release from being updated to 5.4 See answer by Dennis Williamson

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Install the yum-security plugin:

yum install yum-security

Then you can do:

yum --security update-minimal kernel

...along with a bunch of other features.

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