Administration Updated February 5, 2020

The administration views can be accessed by clicking on the user dropdown at the far right of the main navigation bar.

User management is not covered in this page. See the Users documentation.


Sentry is a service Virtool developers use for automatically gathering error reports from Virtool instances.

It is possible to opt out of sending error reports by unchecking the Enable button. This change requires a reload to take effect.

Please consider leaving this setting enabled as it is invaluable for fixing bugs and improving the user experience.



See the Users Guide for information on managing users.


Once installed, Virtool can check for and apply software updates automatically.

Viewing Available Updates

An update is available when the icon is pulsing in the main navigation bar:

You can see further information about the update by clicking or navigating to Administration | Updates.

Update interface with three updates unapplied

Clicking on a single update will show the changes made.

Update details

Installing Updates

Click the Install button to open the update install dialog. This dialog shows the changes applied as a result of applying all available updates.

Update install dialog

Click the Install button to install the updates. A progress dialog will appear.

Update install progress dialog

When the update download and install is complete, Virtool will restart. This can take some time depending on the size of the Virtool database and data folder.

Restarting Virtool after update

The updates view will look something like this when the instance is up-to-date:

Updates view when up-to-date

Check that the installation version is up-to-date after the server restart.

Virtool version is updated after update

Update Channels

Changing update channels allow your Virtool instance to apply updates that are not quite ready for production.

The alpha and beta channels should only be used by Virtool developers, testers, or advanced users.

Channel Description
stable appropriate for most Virtool users; production tested by Virtool developers
beta feature-complete but still requires fixes and polish for stable release
alpha contains bugs or missing functionality that can compromise your data or installation


The Virtool project uses semantic versioning. A Virtool version number looks like this: v3.2.1.

Number Description Backwards Compatible
3 the MAJOR version; not backwards compatbile with older versions No
2 the MINOR version; introduces major feature changes or fixes Yes
1 the PATCH version; bug fixes with no features introduced Yes

Using the built-in update manager will ensure that only compatible updates are applied.

You only have to worry about update versions if you are running Virtool in a non-standard manner such as Docker or you are manually updating (not recommended).

By backwards compatible, we mean that the version can use data generated by a previous version of Virtool with the same MAJOR version. For example:

v3.2.1 → v3.1.2

v3.2.1 → v3.0.1

v3.2.1 → v2.3.4

v3.2.1 → v1.2.1

The only exception to this rule is the first release of a new MAJOR version (eg. v4.0.0). The first release of a new major version is backwards compatible with the previous major version.

During the first start of the software update, the database and data files will be updated for compatiblility with future releases of the new MAJOR version (eg. 4.1.0).


Upgrading v3.12.2 to v4.0.0

This works because the first release of a new MAJOR version is backwards compatible with the previous MAJOR version (v3=).

Upgrading v3.12.2 to v4.1.0

This does not work because only the first release of a new MAJOR version (v4.0.0) is backwards compatible with the previous MAJOR version (v3.*.*).

Upgrading v2.12.5 to v4.0.0

This does not work because the first release of a new MAJOR version (v4.0.0) is backwards only with the previous MAJOR version (v3.*.*).