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How To Upgrade To Linux Mint 19

Linux Mint 19 came out recently, and it’s got people very excited. With this new release come dozens of improvements to the Cinnamon desktop, as well as enhancements to TimeShift, Mint Update, and more!

If you’re a user of Linux Mint but don’t know how to upgrade yo Linux Mint 19, we’ve got you covered. Follow along, and soon you’ll be using Linux Mint 19 “Tara!”

Note: don’t feel like dealing with the update manager? If you’re an advance Mint user, download and install an ISO of version 19 to get the latest version.

Create A Backup

Upgrading your PC can be scary. Even though Linux Mint is very safe, especially during these upgrades, bad things can happen, and that’s why it’s imperative to create a backup with Time Shift before continuing.

Note: if you do not already have Time Shift on Linux Mint, you may need to install it. To install it, open up a terminal and do sudo apt install timeshift.

Not sure how to use the Time Shift backup system on Linux Mint? Open it up on your PC and follow our guide to learn how to create a complete system backup.

Make sure that when doing the Time Shift backup that you do not do it on the same hard drive you’re upgrading Linux Mint on. If a problem occurs you could lose the backup. Instead, select an external hard drive, flash drive, SD card or another internal hard drive.

LightDM On Mint

On Linux Mint 18, as well as previous versions, Mint Desktop Manager has long been the official desktop manager, and the Mint project maintains it. As of version 19 of Linux Mint, MDM is not in use. Instead, it uses LightDM.

The LightDM desktop manager is much more sophisticated, lighter, and better looking. Before attempting to update to the new release of Mint, you must disable MDM and switch it with LightDM.

Start the MDM removal process by installing LightDM through the terminal.

sudo apt install lightdm

Running this command will force Linux Mint to re-evaluate what desktop manager it should use, and you’ll notice a dialog box with”default display manager” appear in the terminal.

Note: if the dialog box doesn’t appear automatically, try running sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm.

Select “lightdm” in the dialog box that appears. Picking the “lightdm” option will allow Linux Mint to transition to the new LightDM setup that Mint 19 uses.

Finish up the transition process by completely purging MDM from your system.

sudo apt remove mdm might-mdm-themes* --purge

Upgrade To Linux Mint 19

Linux Mint is an Ubuntu derivative. This fact allows the Mint OS to follow an Ubuntu-like upgrade system, which requires very little input from the user.

To start off the process, you’ll need to ensure your Linux Mint PC is entirely up to date. Thankfully, updating Linux Mint, like many other things on the OS, is quick and painless.

Open Update Manager, click “Refresh” and then select “Install Updates.” Alternatively, open up a terminal and use the following commands to get your Mint PC up to date.

sudo apt update
sudo apt upgrade -y

Now that everything is up to date, it’s time to upgrade to Linux Mint 19. Upgrading happens with a terminal program known as “mintupgrade.”

The Mintupgrade tool is quite efficient and easy to understand, even if it’s text-based. Everything is automatic, and it takes the complicated things (like switching the Apt sources around, checking if upgrading is a good idea, etc.), and simplifies them.

The first thing Mintupgrade must do is check if there’s a new release available. Do this by running the check command.

mintupgrade check

The check command will refresh Mint, swap your current version of Linux Mint to the new Mint 19 software sources, and run an upgrade simulation (for safety’s sake).

Follow along with the on-screen instructions, and read them carefully. If you’re happy with the results of the upgrade simulation, continue with the process by executing the download command in the terminal window.

mintupgrade download

Running the download command will download all of the necessary upgrade packages (and other important files) to your Linux Mint PC. This process is mostly automatic, but you’ll still need to pay attention to the prompts that appear.

When the download command is complete, run the upgrade command. Upgrade, when run, will apply all of the downloaded packages, and perform the transition from Linux Mint 18 to the newly released Linux Mint 19.

Upgrading between versions of Linux Mint isn’t tedious, though it does take quite a long time. Be patient, and let the Mintupgrade program do its job.

When the process is complete, close the terminal and reboot your Linux Mint PC. After logging back in, you should be using the newest version of Mint!

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