I installed a RedHat out of an installation cd, registered my entitlements, all that stuff.

As part of my subscriptions I have both Red Hat Enterprise Linux Workstation and Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop. (plus a tons other)

My problem is currently the product installed is a Red Hat Enterprise Linux Desktop

Is there a way to change it to a RHEL Workstation without reinstalling everything?

  • I think this is a related discussion
    – Manu H
    Commented Oct 29, 2014 at 17:04

2 Answers 2


Have you tried changing the channel via subscription-manager?

What is the output of sudo subscription-manager list --consumed

Either way, you won't need a reinstallation.

From a licensing perspective, the answer depends on the hardware you've installed onto...

Think of it like this: RHEL Desktop (aka Client) is meant for single-socket computers. Workstation is intended for more powerful workstations (dual-socket).

All distributions (Client/Workstation/Server) use the same kernel and obviously the same installation media. The main difference is the default set of installed packages. You're free to install whatever you want in terms of packages, but in order to be "supported", your hardware should fit within the bounds set in the chart below:

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The question is a bit older, and it may be time to update the answer with new information. I had a need for a similar migration, but from Workstation to Server instead of Desktop to Workstation. The information below should equally apply, though.

RedHat has this to say:

Red Hat does not support the direct migration from Workstation to Server or vice versa.

Our recommendation is a fresh installation of the required Product.

That said, there appears to be a way to do it, at least in RHEL 7.9. The author of this blog cautioned that he ran into trouble eventually.

The procedure is:

  • From an actual server obtain the redhat-release-server RPM (or redhat-release-workstation for you)
  • Uninstall the previous redhat-release-* RPM, and install the new one instead. The blog suggests using yum shell for that purpose to deal with dependency issues (it makes the uninstall and reinstall atomic). You can also use the rpm command with the --nodeps option.
  • I found that I had to unregister and re-register with subscription manager. Even after that, subscription manager reported that I had both Workstation and Server installed , so there is one definite problem here.
  • Verify that all the relevant repositories are still enabled. Unregistering and re-registering can make changes.
  • If using a Satellite Server, also verify that the lifecycle environment and content view are set correctly.
  • I also reinstalled all RPMs with the command "yum reinstall *". My guess is that this is key to keeping the system working smoothly. @MichaelHamptom suggests using yum distro-sync instead.

Update: the reason Workstation still showed up as a product was that the corresponding Satellite client certificate was still in /etc/pki/product. To resolve this:

  • run subscription-manager list
  • Make a note of the product ID of the Workstation product.
  • list the files in /etc/pki/product. The file names should follow the pattern .pem
  • Delete the file with the correct product ID.
  • 2
    It shouldn't be necessary to reinstall all packages; a yum distro-sync should be sufficient. Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 19:52
  • @MichaelHampton Thanks for pointing that out! Interestingly, after doing all the yum reinstall, yum distroy-sync found another two RPMs that "needed to be downgraded". It turns out that during the re-registration, one of my repos got disabled. So that's yet another step I need to add. Commented Dec 25, 2020 at 19:58

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