How to Upgrade from Linux Mint 17.3 to Linux Mint 18

Last month, the Linux Mint development team released stable version of Linux Mint 18. Many users of this modern, highly-polished and comfortable Ubuntu-based Linux distributions where eager to try out some of the new features and improvements that it came a long with.

This either required users to upgrade from their older versions or to do a fresh installation of Linux Mint 18, but, by that time, a direct upgrade from Linux Mint 17.3 or 17.X versions was not recommended. This was because, the Linux Mint 17 and 17.x versions are based on Ubuntu 14.04 yet Linux Mint 18 is based on Ubuntu 16.04.

Upgrade Linux Mint 17 to Linux-Mint 18
Upgrade Linux Mint 17 to Linux-Mint 18

For those users, who want to do a fresh installation, they can follow: Installation of Linux Mint 18

Upgrading from a completely different Ubuntu-base to another would require some special or advanced instruction set, which the developers promised to release this month and they have done just that.

Therefore in this how-to guide, we shall walk through the recommended steps you will have to follow to upgrade from Linux Mint 17.3 to Linux Mint 18, that is if you wish to upgrade.

Some Considerations before Upgrading

  1. Is it necessary for you to upgrade? Because Linux Mint 17, 17.X versions will be supported until 2019
  2. Have you tried out Linux Mint 18 before planning this upgrade?
  3. Have you performed a backup of important data on your machine? If not, then you need to do that before moving forward.


  1. Good understanding of APT and vast experience in working from the command-line.
  2. Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon or MATE editions only, other desktops such as Linux Mint 18 Xcfe and Linux Mint 18 KDE cannot be upgraded as of now.
  3. Up-to-date system

How do I Upgrade to Linux Mint 18 from Linux Mint 17

Let us now move into the actual steps to upgrade your system to the latest version of Linux Mint.

1. Your system must be running an up-to-date Linux Mint 17.3 for the upgrade to work perfectly. Therefore, open the Update Manager and perform level 1, 2 and 3 updates by clicking on the Refresh to refresh the APT tool cache.

Linux Mint Update Manager
Linux Mint Update Manager

Alternatively, you can run the following commands from the terminal to upgrade the system:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt dist-upgrade

2. Launch a terminal, then click on Edit Profile Preferences Scrolling and select the unlimited checkbox and mark “scroll on output” option and finally click “Close”.

Check Unlimited Scrolling
Check Unlimited Scrolling

3. Next, install the upgrade tool by issuing the command below:

$ sudo apt install mintupgrade
Install Linux Mint Upgrade Tool
Install Linux Mint Upgrade Tool

4. Next do a upgrade check by running following command.

$ mintupgrade check
Linux Mint Upgrade Check
Linux Mint Upgrade Check

5. After running the command above, you need to follow the instructions on the screen to proceed, it does not cause any changes in your system yet.

Linux Mint Upgrade Process
Linux Mint Upgrade Process
Calculating Linux Mint Upgrade Packages
Calculating Linux Mint Upgrade Packages
Linux Mint Upgrade Package Summary
Linux Mint Upgrade Package Summary

Importantly, you must also pay close attention to the output of this command, as it presents some vital information concerning how you should deal with the upgrade process.

The command will briefly point your system to the Linux Mint 18 repositories and performs an appropriate calculation of the impact of the upgrade.

It helps to you to show whether an upgrade is possible or not, an in case it is possible, which packages would be upgraded, those to be installed and removed plus the ones kept back.

It is also possible that some packages will try to prevent the upgrade process, identify such packages and remove them, then keep running the command after making any changes until it provides a satisfactory output for a perfect upgrade, then move to the next step.

5. Download the packages to be upgraded.

$ mintupgrade download
Download Linux Mint Upgrade Packages
Download Linux Mint Upgrade Packages

After running it, this command will download all the available packages to upgrade your system to Linux Mint 18, but, it does not perform any upgrade.

6. Now it’s time to perform a actual upgrade.

Note: This step is irreversible, therefore, make sure you have followed and checked everything necessary up to this state.

After successfully downloading all the necessary packages, proceed to perform the actual upgrade process as follows:

$ mintupgrade upgrade
Linux Mint Upgrade Command
Linux Mint Upgrade Command

You will be asked for a second time, to download packages, but, all packages have been downloaded, simply enter yes and proceed.

Downloading Linux Mint Upgrade Packages
Downloading Linux Mint Upgrade Packages

7. Then, in the next screen, enter yes and continue.

Performing Linux Mint Upgrade
Performing Linux Mint Upgrade

8. Next, also enter yes to proceed to start installation of the downloaded packages.

Linux Mint 18 Upgrade Summary
Linux Mint 18 Upgrade Summary

9. During the installation of packages, you will be prompted to restart certain services, simply select yes and hit [Enter] to proceed.

Linux Mint Package Configuration
Linux Mint Package Configuration

As the installation of packages progresses, keep watching the whole process, you may prompted several times for yes or no answers or required to provide your password.

When the installation completes, reboot your system and boom! You are good to go, using Linux Mint 18.

Linux Mint 18 Sarah
Linux Mint 18 Sarah

That is it, hoping that everything went on well, you can now enjoy Linux Mint 18 on your machine. For any queries or information that you wish to add to this guide, you can give us a feedback through the comment section below.

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94 thoughts on “How to Upgrade from Linux Mint 17.3 to Linux Mint 18”

  1. Wish I had never upgraded. Wake-up from Suspend no longer works on fairly recent hardware. Yes, I tried updating the kernel and driver’s. Nothing helps. Disappointing.

  2. Will this work with Mint with the Mate desktop? I realize I may have to switch it back to Mate from Cinnamon after the upgrade – not ideal, but OK.

    • @Bob

      When you look at the requirements, it lists Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon or MATE editions only. So this method should definitely work for Mate desktop.

    • Hi Donald,

      If you have partitioned the disk as given in my earlier post, then you can upgrade from any version to any version. However, you will need to re-install your additional software and setup. But you need to do this from an installation medium, not as a system upgrade automatically.

      Best of luck with this, and do post about your experience.

      In case you haven’t made a separate system partition, then it is worth the effort setting it up in this manner to make it as future proof as possible.

  3. Hi Aaron,

    Thanks for your tutorial. It seems to have worked for most of those who have posted.

    While looking for a way to upgrade from 17.3 to 18.1, but all posts in various blogs and sites point to the advantages of a clean install. Hence I wanted to share my experience with this, because the way I have set up the system, means for me, a clean install is not a big problem – the only issue is that I need to download the additional software once again (Virtualbox, Google Chrome / Earth etc).

    Perhaps there are lots of posts elsewhere, and I’m repeating what is given elsewhere, but here is what I did. Mine is a Windows 10 Machine, and I dual-boot it. Having been doing this for the last eight or nine years, without any problems

    Here are the steps I used.

    1. Shrink the C drive to 100 or 125 GB – This will be Windows system and software only partition.
    2. Create a D drive of say 100 GB – NTFS format for Windows use.
    3. Create a 30 GB partition – quick-format to fat32 (fat 32 makes it easy to identify) ( ROOT Partition \)
    4. Create a SWAP of twice the RAM
    5. The rest of the disk went to the home partition – quick-format to fat32.( HOME partition \home)
    6. While booting up and installing from the Mint (or Ubuntu) CD, I used the option of “Something else” when setting up the partitions.
    7. Use the 30 GB partition as "\" that is, root. Check the box that says format. Format to EXT4
    8. Use the “twice the RAM” partition as ” swap area” . There is no box that says format.
    9. Use the rest of the partition designated as home that is "\home" Check the box that says format. Format to EXT4
    10. Now continue the Install process with the usual options like username, password etc.

    Voila!! you have a wonderfully setup computer. There is no mixing up of any of the OS-es on the hard disk, and The biggest advantage I had was the possibility of a clean install and upgrade at any time. In fact, I did this to change over from Ubuntu 12.10 to Linux Mint at the time. Simply didn’t want Unity

    Now whenever I want to upgrade or change the distro, All I got to do is (a) Repeat the step Nos 7 and 8 above, including the option to format. The MOST important thing here is NOT to check the box to format the \home partition, but to USE as \home.

    Make sure that you give the same (existing) username and password. Once again, make sure that the checkbox to format this partition is NOT checked.

    I have done this quite a few times for friends and family. The Mozilla bookmarks, add-ons, history, everything stays intact. Even the desktop shortcuts and the background do not change.
    In fact, just to try it out, I once changed from Ubuntu to Fedora, and had absolutely not problems with any of the files. After a bit, I settled in to Linux Mint in the same manner.

    Of course, the biggest disclaimer / caution as always – Please backup your data, just in case something does indeed go wrong.

    If you are planning to the entire disk to install Linux (that is, without Windows, no dual boot) even then, you should follow steps no 6, 7, 8 and 9. Since there is no Windows partition to worry about, the partitioning can be just three partitions – Root (30GB) Swap (twice the RAM) and Home.. This way, when you upgrade / change the distro whatever, you need to only format the ” \ ” (root) partition, and keep the username the same.

    Hope someone finds this useful.

      • Thanks for your words of appreciation, Aaron. I have taken a few screenshots of the process, I’m not sure how to insert these into the post. Will be happy to share them with you if you can put them up sequentially.


  4. This looks really simple to follow but being a little bit cautious (and not massively knowledgeable about Linux in general), will an upgrade work for me as I’m using LM 17.3 dual booting with Windows 10, will Grub etc… be ok with this?

    Also, I’m using the KDE desktop, will the upgrade automatically give me the 18 KDE desktop?

    sorry if questions are a bit Donkey!

    thanks in advance

        • that went well then, got as far as “mintupgrade check“, I get “ERROR: Your edition of Linux Mint is ‘KDE’. It cannot be upgraded to Linux Mint 18 ‘Sarah’ – I guess that’s the end of that then?

          • @ade

            This guide is intended for Linux Mint 18 ‘Sarah’ – Cinnamon(default desktop environment). The KDE edition isn’t upgradable (Linux Mint 18 KDE uses a new and different desktop called Plasma).

            Try to fresh install Linux Mint 18 KDE.

          • thanks Aaron, I like Linux Mint when it’s all up and running but cannot believe how hard even the simplest task seems to be!

            Apparently, even if you get Linux Mint 18 on a bootable USB, you’re still restricted to only 4GB persistence, why/who on earth thinks this stuff up? think it’s time to look for a far less restrictive distro, thanks anyway

  5. Me too. Perfect tutorial/process.

    Dell Mini 9 still chugging a long. (Like molasses in winter, but still working fine)

  6. Did upgrade 17/3 to 18/1 without problems. Thanks for easy to follow instruction / I as an 77+ years old was able to install upgrade,


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