While a fresh install is always an option, some of the existing Mint users have the option to upgrade to Linux Mint 19. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to upgrade to Linux Mint 19.
How to upgrade to Linux Mint 19
Before we see how to upgrade to Linux Mint 19, you should consider a few things first:
- Do you really need to upgrade? Linux Mint 18.x is supported till 2021 and with Cinnamon 3.8 coming to these versions, the visual difference between Mint 18 and Mint 19 will vanish.
- It is a good idea to make a live USB of Linux Mint 19 and try it in a live session to see if it is compatible with your hardware. Newer kernels might have issues with older hardware and hence testing it before the real upgrade or install can save you a lot of frustration.
- A fresh install is always better than a major version upgrade but installing Linux Mint 19 from scratch would mean you’ll lose your existing data. You must take backup on an external disk.
- Upgrading a major version requires a good internet connection as it will download files with total size going over 1 GB.
- Though upgrades are mostly safe, it’s not 100% failproof. You must have system snapshots and proper backups.
- You can upgrade to Linux Mint 19 only from Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon, Xfce and MATE. If you are using Linux Mint 18.2 or 18.1, you need to upgrade to 18.3 first from the Update Manager. If you are using Linux Mint 17, I advise you go for a fresh install rather than upgrading to several Mint versions.
- The upgrade process is done via command line utility. If you don’t like using terminal and commands, avoid upgrading.
Once you know what you are going to do, let’s see how to upgrade to Linux Mint 19.
Step 1: Create a system snapshot with Timeshift [Optional yet recommended]
Creating a system snapshot with Timeshift will save you if your update is interrupted or if you face any other issue. You can even revert to Mint 18.3 this way.
Step 2: Make a backup of your files on an external disk [Optional yet recommended]
Timeshift is a good tool for creating system snapshots but it’s not the ideal tool for your documents, pictures and other such non-system, personal files. I advise making a backup on an external disk. It’s just for the sake of data safety.
Step 3: Make sure you are using LightDM
You must use LightDM display manager for Mint 19. To check which display manager you are using, type the command:
If the result is “/usr/sbin/lightdm“, you have LightDM and you are good to go.
On the other hand, if the result is “/usr/sbin/mdm“, you need to install LightDM, switch to LightDM and removing MDM. Use this command to install LightDM:
apt install lightdm lightdm-settings slick-greeter
While installing, it will ask you to choose the display manager. You need to select LightDM.
Once you have set LightDM as your display manager, remove MDM and reboot using these commands:
apt remove --purge mdm mint-mdm-themes* sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm sudo reboot
Step 4: Update your system by installing any available updates
Check if there are any package updates available. If yes, install them using this command:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y
Step 5: Install the upgrade tool
Now that your system is updated, you are ready for upgrading to Linux Mint 19. Linux Mint team provides a command line tool called mintupgrade for the sole purpose of upgrading Linux Mint 18.3 to Linux Mint 19.
You can install this tool using the command below:
sudo apt install mintupgrade
Step 6: Check upgrade [optional]
Once you have the tool, you can run the check to see what kind of changes will be made to your system, which packages will be upgraded. It will also show the packages that cannot be upgraded and must be removed. There won’t be any real changes on your system yet (even if it feels like it is going to make some changes).
Step 7: Download package upgrades
Once you are comfortable with the output of mintupgrade check, you can download the Mint 19 upgrade packages. Depending on your internet connection, it may take some time in downloading these upgrades.
Note that this command points your system to the Linux Mint 19 repositories. If you want to go back to Linux Mint 18.3 after using this command, you still can do that with the command “mintupgrade restore-sources”.
Step 8: Apply upgrades
Now that you have everything ready, you can upgrade to Linux Mint 19 using this command:
Give it some time to install the new packages and upgrade your Mint to the newer version. Once the procedure finishes, it will ask you to reboot.
Did you upgrade to Linux Mint 19?
Upgrading to Linux Mint 19 is not as friendly as upgrading Ubuntu version but you should be glad that there at least exists the upgrade option. In distributions like Debian, you have to do a lot more manual tasks than this.
I hope you find the tutorial helpful. Did you upgrade to Linux Mint 19 or you opted for a fresh install?