Oracle Patch or installation fails with error message "ORA-39700: database must be opened with UPGRADE option"

Document ID : KB000022469
Last Modified Date : 14/02/2018
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Related Issue/Questions:

Oracle Patch or installation failed

Error message:

/etc/inittab does not seem to contain default runlevel information.
/usr/bin/who -r failed or gave unexpected result. Unable to fetch current runlevel
ORA-00704: bootstrap process failure
ORA-39700: database must be opened with UPGRADE option
Thu Jul 15 15:07:38 2010
Error 704 happened during db open, shutting down database
USER: terminating instance due to error 704
Instance terminated by USER, pid = 4852
ORA-1092 signalled during: ALTER DATABASE OPEN...

After failed Oracle upgrade the DB does not start anymore.


Perform the following steps to solve the problem:

  1. cd to $NH_ORACLE_HOME/rdbms/admin from a command prompt.

  2. Start a new sqlplus session (sqlplus sys/ehealth as sysdba)

  3. Run the following commands in sqlplus:

    shutdown abort
    startup upgrade

    The database should open successfully after which these sql commands can be run:


  4. Then shutdown the database from the same sqlplus session with the command:

    shutdown immediate



  5. Start the database from the command prompt with:


  6. Start eHealth:

    nhServer start

After successfully completing the above steps, repeat the Oracle Patch installation to complete the Oracle install.