The following guide provides you with instructions on how to upgrade a device running Linux Mint to the latest version of the Linux distribution.
The main present that I handed out during Christmas was a shiny new laptop for my girlfriend. The device came without operating system, and I made the decision to install Linux Mint on the device and not Windows.
I installed Linux Mint 17.3 on the device, wrapped it up nicely, only to read a day later that Linux Mint 18 has been released.
So, the first thing I did after she unwrapped her present was to take it away from here to install the latest version of the Linux distribution on the device.
How to upgrade to a new Linux Mint version
There are two main methods to upgrade Linux Mint to a new version. The recommended way, or playing it safe, is to use a new liveDVD to install the new version on the device. This involves backing up all data and software on the device prior to the upgrade, and restoring the backed up data afterwards.
You can read about this method on the official Linux Mint Community site.
What I did was upgrade directly from the running system instead. It is still recommended that you back up your data before you proceed. I had no need for a back up as there was no data on the device other than a couple of changes I made to it after installation of Linux Mint.
Backup Linux Mint
To back up, select Menu > Administration > Backup Tool. Note that you can also type Backup Tool and select it this way. This works even if the language of the Linux Mint installation is not English.
Select Backup files in the next step, and configure the process.
- Select your home directory as the source. You may need to click on "other" to select it.
- Select a destination directory for the backup. It is recommended to use an external storage device, or a second hard drive for it.
- Click on advanced options afterwards. You may want to add a description for the backup, and modify the settings there as you see fit. It is usually not required though as everything is set up just fine. You may save a bit of storage space if you select an archive format under output.
- Select Forward to proceed.
- You may exclude files from being backed up on the next screen. This depends largely on how you are using your computer. You may want to exclude the download folder for instance, or any other folder that you don't require that is under the home directory.
- Select forward again.
- The backup tool displays all parameters of the back up job on the final screen.
- Click apply.
To back up the installed software, open the backup tool again.
- This time however you need to select "backup software selection" on the first page that opens.
- Select a destination for the backup job in the next step.
- The program displays the list of software installed by you or an admin. You can select some or all of the programs.
The Linux Mint upgrade
The first thing you may want to do is check the current version of Linux Mint. To do so, select menu and type "version", and select System Information.
If you prefer Terminal, open a prompt and type cat /etc/linuxmint/info.
Step 1: Using the Update Manager
The Linux Mint Upgrade Tool works only if Linux Mint 17.3 is installed on the device. If you are still on Linux Mint 17.0, 17.1 or 17.2, or even an older version, you need to run the Update Manager first.
Also, please note that the KDE edition of Linux Mint cannot be upgraded this way. If you run KDE, you need to download the live version and run the installer using it.
- Select menu, type update manager, and then the result from the listing.
- Select refresh first (the program may ask you about your updating preference, simply click ok to get to the main interface).
- Apply all updates.
- Check Edit at the top to see if you get an option to upgrade to the latest "same" version of Linux Mint. So, if you are on Linux Mint 17.1 for instance, see if you get the option to upgrade to Linux Mint 17.3 there.
- If you see the option there, select it (e.g. Edit > Upgrade to Linux Mint 17.3 Rosa).
- follow the instructions.
Step 2: Upgrade Linux Mint to a new version
The following commands are all run from a Terminal window:
- Select Menu, type terminal, and select the result.
- First, you need to install the Linux Mint Upgrade Tool. Run the command apt install mintupgrade.
- Then, you may want to run an upgrade check, or a simulation of the upgrade, to make sure it will run without issues. The command for that is mintupgrade check.
- Once you are satisfied with the result, type mintupgrade download to download the packages require to upgrade to the latest version of Mint.
- Then, once they have been downloaded, run mintupgrade upgrade to perform the upgrade. Please note that this will take a while to complete.
And that is all it takes.
This method of upgrading to the latest version of Linux Mint is not as fast as installing the new version using a live copy of Linux Mint. I do prefer it though, as I don't have to prepare a USB device first (or burn the new copy of the distribution to DVD), before I can get started.