How to recompile Kernel?

Tags: kernelLinuxmenuconfigmkinitrdmrproperpatchrecompile

Published on: October 3, 2009 by George K.

How to recompile Kernel?


Recompile Kernal

Compiling custom kernel has its own advantages and disadvantages.  It helps to optimize the kernel to your environment (hardware and usage patterns).  I shall try to guide you through the steps on recompile kernel

Step 1:

Download the kernel source

cd /usr/local/src


Note: Replace x.y.z with actual version number.

Step 2:

Extract the  source file

tar -xjvf linux-x.y.z.tar.bz2

Step 3:

Patching the Kernel

If you are requested to apply any patches , follow these steps

a) Move the downloaded kernel patch to the /usr/local/src directory.

b)  Extract the patch file

c)  Patch the kernel  source using the extracted  patch file

cd /usr/local/src/linux-x.y.z

patch -p1 < patchfile-2.2.x

Now the  Kernel Source is patched against known  vulnerabilities.

Step 4:


If you are trying to upgrade the Kernel of already running server , it is always better use the existing configuration. To do this follow these steps

#uname -a
Linux  Server1  2.6.18-164.el5 #1 SMP Thu Sep 3 03:28:30 EDT 2009 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 GNU/Linux

# cd /boot

There you can see different configuration files as given below


config-2.6.18-128.el5    initrd-2.6.18-128.el5.img  message
config-2.6.18-164.el5     initrd-2.6.18-164.el5.img  quota.user*

identify the configuration file corresponding to the version of OS installed , In our case it is config-2.6.18-164.el5 . We are  copying this file to the downloaded kernel source  to use it during configuration.

#cp -p config-2.6.18-164.el5 /usr/local/src/linux-x.y.z/.config

# make clean

# make mrproper

# make menuconfig

You have to select different options as per your need.   If you  intended to use the existing configuration ,specify the path to the file  ( .config in this case) by selecting the option

“Load an Alternative configuration file”

Step 5: Compilation

Compile the Kernel using the following commands

Compile to create a compressed kernel image

# make

Compile kernel modules:

# make modules

Install kernel modules

# make modules_install

Step 6: Install Kernel

If the above steps completed without any errors , now its the time to Install the new Kernel

# make install

It will install three files into /boot directory as well as modification to your kernel grub configuration file:



Step 7:  Create the Initrd image

Type the following command :

# cd /boot

# mkinitrd -o initrd.img-x.y.x  x.y.z

initrd images contain device driver which needed to load rest of the operating system later on. Not all computer requires it, but it is  better  to create one

Step 8: Boot Loader Modification

Modify the boot loader to boot the new OS as default . Check the documentation corresponding to your boot loader

Step 9: The last step

execute the following command


Wait a few minutes and once it is up , you can see that the new Kernel is loaded 🙂

Category : cPanel, General, Howtos, Linux, Security

George K.

George K.

George started his career in web hosting and Linux technical support in the year 2004 and is with SupportSages since 2009. He has keen interest in server optimizations, custom security solutions, hacked server recovery, cyber forensic and high availability fail over system design and implementation. George loves long drives and is passionate about art and literature.

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