Upgrading your PBX to 3CX V16: A Quick Guide (for Windows & Linux)


Upgrading to V16: A Quick Guide

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This is a quick cookbook on how to upgrade your 3CX v15 to v16. It entails three steps, which will prepare you for a smooth and quick upgrade.

V16 is required by the new 3CX Mobile apps (Android or iOS) and has many advantages, features and security improvements over older versions.

Step 1: Check License Maintenance

The Upgrade requires valid maintenance on your perpetual license keys. Annual license keys are always covered by maintenance but will lose functionality upon expiry. You can see the maintenance expiry date in the management console of your PBX under “Settings → License” or in your customer portal (https://customer.3cx.com).

License maintenance expiry date in the 3CX Management consoleOnce you ensure your license is within its maintenance validity date,

Note: License Refresh only works on version v15.5 SP6 or higher.

Expired License Keys

In case your perpetual license key has no valid maintenance you have the following options:

Renew Maintenance

If your perpetual license is still within the grace period, you can renew your maintenance. Contact your 3CX Partner or our 3CX Customer Service Team for further information. If you don’t have a 3CX Partner yet, you can find a partner in your area here.

Note: Maintenance can be renewed prior to expiry.

Switch from Perpetual to Annual (Trade-in)

You may convert your perpetual license free of charge to an annual subscription-based license. The first year of your subscription will be free from the moment of trade-in. The following years can be renewed for a small annual fee.

Trade-In can be triggered from your customer portal in the section “Buy” by selecting “Trade-in” . Please note you will not receive a new key, your existing key will instantly be converted, making the whole process simple and easy!

Switch from Perpetual to annual license

After Trade-In is confirmed from your email inbox, refresh your license information in the management console of your PBX. Go to “Settings → License → Refresh” to do this.

Note: License Refresh only works on version v15.5 SP6 or higher. If you’re running a lower version see the Quick Update Guide section below.

Step 2: Upgrade v15.X → v15.5 SP6

Before upgrading to V16, you must first ensure that your V15 installation is on the latest service pack (v15.5 SP6) to guarantee the highest compatibility. Head over to this blog post for instructions on how to do this.

In case your installation is older than V15 check the full update path guide.

Note: It is always advisable to make a backup of your 3CX installation before undergoing an update process.

Step 3: Upgrade v15.5 SP6 → v16.X

On Windows

Windows-based installs cannot be upgraded inline from V15.5 SP6 to V16. You will need to make a backup of your V15.5 installation and restore it during the installation of V16.

  1. From your 3CX Management Console go to → Backup and Restore → Backup.
    Add a backup → Name the backup and tick all options shown below.
    Create a backup for windows-based installations
  2. Wait until an email confirmation is sent to the administrator email address confirming the backup.
  3. Download the backup from the same screen where the backup was created.
    Download your backup

Tip: You can use this backup to switch to a Linux based installation. The backup is compatible with Windows to Linux restore or vice versa!

  1. Uninstall 3CX Phone System from the Windows Control Panel.
  2. Download the latest v16 installer.
  3. Install v16 and on the configuration wizard’s first screen, choose to restore the backup you downloaded.
    Restore an existing backup configuration
  4. Proceed to answer any questions that may arise from the wizard to complete the upgrade.

If you are unfamiliar with the process read our guides for additional information:


The inline v16 update will only be shown if your Debian version is 9 Stretch (8 or 10 is not supported by version 16). If the update is not shown you can check the Debian version with the following SSH command “sudo lsb_release -a”

Debian 9

The inline update process is straight-forward.

  1. Log into your 3CX Management Console
  2. Go to Updates and install all visible Updates
  3. Once the update completes an email is sent to the administrator
  4. Go back to the Updates page and check for additional updates and repeat the process until no further updates are shown.

Debian 8

3CX Phone System v16 is not compatible with Debian 8 (Jessie). You have to migrate to Debian 9 (Stretch).

  1. From your management console → Backup and Restore node → Backup, enter name and tick all options to complete the backup. Download the backup upon completion.
  2. Shut down this instance.
  3. Deploy a new 3CX Phone System installation using our ISO, via the PBX Express tool or directly from a cloud provider marketplace and follow our admin manual.
  4. Finally, restore the backup when prompted.

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