i just upgraded my sts from 3.3 to 3.5. the following method worked fine.
open sts > help > check for updates > choose the latest version and install (lists all plugins available for upgrade as well as sts).
open sts(spring tools suite)-> help -> check for updates -> it will automatically updates with latest version.
version: sts 3.8.0 requires a jdk 8 to run on top of.
sts 3.9.0 requires a jdk 8 to run on top of.
sts 3.9.4 requires a jdk8/9/10 to run on top of.
sts 3.9.6 requires a jdk8/9/10/11 to run on top of.
i don't know sts. in a normal eclipse installation, you can run help -> install new software, add the kepler update site using the "available sites" link, close the dialog, run help -> check for updates and eclipse will update everything it can find, under the condition of not breaking dependencies.
your settings are not lost, if you use your old workspace with your new installation (as the majority of settings has workspace scope and is stored within it). therefore you can also try the following: install a newly downloaded version of kepler besides your existing eclipse. then in the new installation run file -> import -> installation -> from existing to have it automatically copy plugins from the old installation to the new one. afterwards install whatever is missing using the installation menus described at the top or using help -> marketplace.
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