How to Upgrade Linux Mint 20.3 to Linux Mint 21

If you do not wish to do a fresh Linux Mint 21 Vanessa installation, you can simply upgrade from an earlier version.

In this article, we will walk you through the steps to upgrade Linux Mint 20.3 (the latest minor version of the 20.x version) to Linux Mint 21.

Before you proceed, note that this is a major upgrade and it is bound to take several hours. Besides, after initiating the upgrade process, the upgrade tool will require your current Linux Mint installation to be up to date (you will have to install updates where necessary) and to prepare system snapshots as well.

So, do not rush, kindly do not take shortcuts that may negatively affect the whole upgrade process. Now let’s get started!

Step 1: Install mintupgrade Tool

First, open a terminal, run the following commands to refresh your apt-cache, and install the mintupgrade upgrade tool:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install mintupgrade
Install Mintupgrade Tool
Install Mintupgrade Tool

In case you fail to find mintupgrade in the repositories, you need to switch to the default Linux Mint mirror and refresh the apt-cache.

Step 2: Upgrading to Linux Mint 21

Now type the following command to launch the mintupgrade upgrade tool:

$ sudo mintupgrade
Upgrade to Linux Mint 21
Upgrade to Linux Mint 21

Once launched, as phase once in the whole upgrade process, the upgrade tool will perform several tests to prepare the system for the upgrade. One test is checking if your computer is connected to a power source.

Linux Mint 21 Upgrade Preparation
Linux Mint 21 Upgrade Preparation

If your computer isn’t connected to a power source, the upgrade tool will complain as shown in the following screenshot. So you have to do the needful.

Connect Linux Mint to Power Source
Connect Linux Mint to Power Source

If all the tests are fine, the upgrade tool will run the apt update in the background to fetch the latest version of the package list from configured software repositories, you can see the details from the terminal.

Linux Mint 21 APT Cache
Linux Mint 21 APT Cache

In case your operating system is not up to date, as shown in the following screenshot, you must apply the available updates before running the upgrade. You can click Check again to apply the updates.

Linux Mint 21 Updates
Linux Mint 21 Updates

The upgrade tool will try to open the update manager, if it doesn’t, you can open it manually by searching it in the system menu. Click OK in the following window and proceed to run the updates by clicking Install Updates.

Install Linux Mint Updates
Install Linux Mint Updates

Once the update is complete, you need to reboot the system to apply the changes.

Linux Mint Reboot
Linux Mint Reboot

Next, create a system snapshot using Timeshift. If the upgrade fails for one reason or the other, you can restore your system using the snapshot.

Linux Mint System Snapshots
Linux Mint System Snapshots

On the Timeshift main interface, click on Create and it will start creating the system snapshot.

Create Linux Mint Snapshot
Create Linux Mint Snapshot

Next, the upgrade tool will search for packages as shown in the following screenshot.

Linux Mint Packages Search
Linux Mint Packages Search

In the second phase, the upgrade tool will perform more tests and the package updates will be downloaded.

Linux Mint Upgrade Tests
Linux Mint Upgrade Tests

Once the simulation is complete, the system will display all the changes to be applied: packages to be updated, those added, those that are kept as well as those that are deleted.

Linux Mint Upgrade Simulation
Linux Mint Upgrade Simulation

Once all the updates have been downloaded, the last phase is to install them – the actual system upgrade. Click Ok to start the upgrade of packages.

Linux Mint Upgrade
Linux Mint Upgrade

When the upgrade process is complete and successful, you need to uninstall the mintupgrade tool and reboot your computer with these commands:

$ sudo apt remove mintupgrade
$ sudo reboot

That’s it! We hope the upgrade process went on smoothly for you and that now you have Linux Mint 21, Vanessa, on your computer. You can seek help if you have questions or if you encounter any challenges with the upgrade, via the feedback form below.

Tutorial Feedback...
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103 thoughts on “How to Upgrade Linux Mint 20.3 to Linux Mint 21”

  1. Hello there!

    My only concern is in regard if all the applications already installed remain with the upgrade or if I have to reinstall them again one by one…

    Reply
  2. I am sorry to say that step one already fails: sudo apt-get install mintupgrade returns ‘no such package available‘.

    What now?

    Reply
    • I had the same issue because I was on “Uma” instead of “Una“. So 20.2 but only 20.3 has the mintupgrade package available. So, first, run “sudo mint-release-upgrade” to go to 20.3, and then, you’ll be able to install mintupgrade and run it to go to Mint 21.

      Reply
  3. Question: I downloaded the Linux Mint 21 ISO. Can I update my Linux Mint 20.3 manually with that or do I have to use the update online tool only?

    Reply
  4. I’m running an intel i5 processor with 16 MBs of RAM with download speeds of 65 MBs/sec and was able to do the upgrade in about 20 minutes, it didn’t take long at all and went smoothly. Like another user’s comment, the drivers for my printer were also removed so I will have to reinstall which is a bit of a pain because it took me a while to find the right drivers the first time around, but other than that was fast and painless.

    Reply

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