Linux PC

OpenELEC maintenance

How to update OpenELEC without loosing settings, getting YouTube to work again and creating an OpenELEC backup. Make screenshots in OpenELEC.

IMPORTANT: OpenELEC has been discontinued since 2017. Instead of OpenELEC I can recommend LibreELEC.


last year I built a PC especially for OpenELEC. For those of you who don’t know, OpenELEC is a Linux based system with the sole purpose to run Kodi, the all-in-one solution to play all media you throw at it. Because of this sole purpose OpenELEC is very fast, especially on the Intel based system that I built, and very reliable. Over time however some maintenance of the system is necessary to keep the system up-to-date and fully functional.

Creating a backup

I’ve added a lot of plugins and changed the default settings of OpenELEC, therefore it is a good idea to make a backup. The easy way to do it is to add the Kodi Backup add-on. This plugin stores my userdata on an external drive (even automatically if I wish) as a zip-file. The add-on can be installed from within Kodi (Programs/Add-ons).

The settings of the Backup add-on need to be selected before a backup can be made.

Updating OpenELEC

Last year I installed OpenELEC 5.0 but recently OpenELEC 6.0.3 has been released so it was time to install the new version. I don’t like to lose my current settings so instead of installing OpenELEC 6.0.3 fresh I choose to update the system with this latest install. Updating proved to be easy. I downloaded the OpenELEC 6.0.3 update file and placed the file in the /storage/.update folder. With Linux or OSX this can be done in the Terminal

scp OpenELEC-Generic.x86_64-6.0.3.tar

The system will prompt for the password which is openelec. Make sure to use the ip of your OpenELEC system. The system will be updated if it is rebooted.

Updating the YouTube plugin

A month ago my YouTube plugin suddenly stopped working. The author of the plugin (Bromix) stopped the development and this quickly led to problems (as is usually the case with abandoned software). I too couldn’t get the YouTube plugin to work anymore. Luckily Kodi being an open source program with a very active users group it didn’t take long for others to take over the task of Bromix. I downloaded the YouTube plugin from Raspberryrabbit. Before installing his plugin I manually deleted the old YouTube plugin folder. To do this I had to make a ssh connection with the OpenELEC system

password: openelec
cd .kodi/addons
rm -r

Next I downloaded the plugin from Raspberryrabbit and copied the zip-file to a USB-drive. I inserted the USB-drive to my OpenELEC system and installed the new plugin with the Video Addon/more option. After a reboot YouTube worked as before.

Luckily it didn’t take long long before the YouTube plugin was working again.

Take a screenshot

Kodi has a huge number of built-in functions that can be used if you’re a developer of e.g. plugins. These function can also be used remotely with an ssh connection and the kodi-send command. A function that I use is TakeScreenShot. It produces a screenshot and saves it as a png file in the screenshots folder of OpenELEC. With the following commands a screenshot is taken and copied to the current computer.

password: openelec
kodi-send --action="TakeScreenShot"

After the screenshot is taken it can be copied remotely with the following command:

scp To/target/folder

E.g. if you want the screenshot copied to your desktop type the following command:

scp Desktop

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