How to Upgrade to Linux Mint 19

Linux Mint 19 code named “Tara”, is the latest release of the Mint project. It is a Long Term Support (LTS) release to be supported until 2023. Mint 19 ships in with updated software and enhancements and several new features as explained here.

In this article, we will show how to upgrade from Linux Mint 18, 18.1 or 18.2 to 18.3. Then we will show how to create a system snapshot using timeshift, switch system display manager to LightDM and upgrade to Linux Mint 19 from 18.x.


  1. You should have experience with APT package manager and the command line.
  2. You should be running Linux Mint 18.3 Cinnamon, MATE or XFCE edition, otherwise, first upgrade to Mint 18.3 using the Update Manager, then you can upgrade to Mint 19.
  3. Set your terminal to unlimited scrolling; from the terminal windows, go to Edit=>Profile Preferences=>Scrolling. Check the “Scroll on output” or “unlimited” option and click “OK”.

Upgrading to Linux Mint 18.3 From 18.x

As I said, first you need to upgrade to Linux Mint 18.3 from previous Linux Mint 18, 18.1 or 18.2 using upgrade tool as shown.

Go to Menu => Update Manager (if you are shown the update policy screen, select the policy you want and click OK), then click on the Refresh button to check for any new version of mintupdate and mint-upgrade-info.

In case there are updates for any packages, apply them by clicking on Install Updates. Once you have installed all updates, go to Edit => Upgrade to Linux Mint 18.3 Sylvia (this menu item only appears when your system is up to date) as shown in the following screenshot.

Install Updates

Install Updates

Upgrade to Linux Mint 18.3

Upgrade to Linux Mint 18.3

You will see the screen below telling you a new version of Linux Mint is available. Click Next and follows on screen instructions.

Linux Mint New Version

Linux Mint New Version

During the installation of upgrades, you will be asked whether to keep or replace configuration files, click on Replace as shown in the following screenshot.

Replace Configuration Files

Replace Configuration Files

After the upgrade is finished, reboot your computer.

Upgraded to Linux Mint 18.3

Upgraded to Linux Mint 18.3

Once you have rebooted, you now have Linux Mint 18.3 running, and you are good to go.

Linux Mint 18.3 Running

Linux Mint 18.3 Running

Upgrade from Linux 18.3 to Linux Mint 19

1. This is an important and mandatory step, in case the upgrade process doesn’t go well and your system breaks, you can reclaim your system by restoring your latest system snapshot.

Create Linux Mint System Snapshot Using Timeshift

To install timeshift, open a terminal and run the following command.

$ sudo apt install timeshift

2. Then go to the system Menu and search for Timeshift, then click on it. Choose the snapshot type and click Next. The timeshift will try to estimate the system size and determine attached storages.

Select Timeshift Snapshot Type

Select Timeshift Snapshot Type

3. From the wizard, select a destination for your snapshots, then click Finish.

Select Linux Mint Snapshot Drive

Select Linux Mint Snapshot Drive

4. Afterwards, click on the Create button to make a manual snapshot of your operating system.

Creating Linux Mint Snapshot

Creating Linux Mint Snapshot

Once the creation of system snapshot is finished, move to the next step.

Step 2: Switch from MDM to LightDM Display Manager

5. The MDM display manager is not supported in Linux Mint 19, you need to install LightDM. To check your current display manager, run the following command.

$ cat /etc/X11/default-display-manager


6. In case the output shows “/usr/sbin/lightdm”, head over to Step 3. But if the output is “/usr/sbin/mdm” as shown in the above output, you need to switch to LightDM and remove MDM as shown.

$ sudo apt install lightdm lightdm-settings slick-greeter

7. During the package installation process, you will be asked to choose a display manager between MDM and LightDM, choose LightDM, and click Enter.

Choose LightDM

Choose LightDM

8. Now remove MDM using the following command.

$ sudo apt remove --purge mdm mint-mdm-themes*

9. Next, reconfigure LightDM using dpkg-reconfigure command and reboot your system.

$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm
$ sudo reboot

Step 3: Upgrading to Linux Mint 19

10. To start, go to Menu => Update Manager (if you are shown the update policy screen, select the policy you want and click OK), then click on “Refresh” to update the APT package manager cache and click Install Updates to apply all updates.

Install Updates

Install Updates

If your system is up to date, proceed to install the upgrade tool by running the following command from a terminal.

$ sudo apt install mintupgrade

11. Next, run the following command to simulate an upgrade and follow the on screen instructions.

$ mintupgrade check

This command will:

  • temporarily, point your system to the Linux Mint 19 repositories and assesses the impact of an upgrade. Once the simulation is complete, it restores your old repositories.
  • let you know which packages will be upgraded, installed, kept back and removed (you can reinstall them after the upgrade).
  • also help you point out any packages that are preventing the upgrade, if there are any, remove them to proceed.
Linux Mint Upgrade Summary

Linux Mint Upgrade Summary

12. If you are satisfied with the results from the upgrade simulation process, proceed to download the package upgrades as shown.

$ mintupgrade download 
Download Mint Upgrade Packages

Download Mint Upgrade Packages

13. Now its time to apply the upgrades. This is a critical step that you should be careful about, it can’t be reversed, you can only go back by restoring a system snapshot (that is if you properly created one as shown above). Run this command to apply the upgrades.

$ mintupgrade upgrade
Upgrading to Linux Mint 19

Upgrading to Linux Mint 19

Sit back and wait for the upgrade to finish. Once it’s done, reboot your system, login and enjoy Linux Mint 19.

If the upgrade process didn’t go well as expected, for one reason or the other, restore your operating system to an earlier state, either from within Linux Mint, or by launching Timeshift from a live Mint session from a live USB or live DVD.

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Aaron Kili

Aaron Kili is a Linux and F.O.S.S enthusiast, an upcoming Linux SysAdmin, web developer, and currently a content creator for TecMint who loves working with computers and strongly believes in sharing knowledge.

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50 Responses

  1. Mac says:

    Hi, Thanks,

    It took the whole night and stopped for 3 password requests. It finally finished and booted Ok. But gave me access denied on my second Hard Disk were all my Backups and Timeshift sits.

    Rebooted again and now have access to the second drive. Permission Unknown.

    I think next time I will do a clean install far better and cleaner. Left about 2 GB of rubbish that was not cleaned removed due to Permission errors.

    There seem to be a few bugs due to permissions very frustrating.

    How does one overcome this?

  2. Helmar Fernandes says:

    I got stuck in a loop mode. After all the steps performed right when I ran “mintupgrade upgrade” I see the progress for over two hours and I don’t know what to do. Obviously, something is wrong. What do I do?

  3. Charles says:

    Does this work with Linux Mint 18.3 on a LUKS encrypted SDD?

    Any special considerations?

  4. Terpe says:

    Does Linux Mint 19 take that long to install from a fresh install off of a flash drive that this is even worth the hassle? You should have your Op system drive installed with 3 partitions anyway: Main Op System partition, swap partition, and then your /home partition so if your op system ever takes a dump and you have to re-install your op system you don’t really lose anything by re-installing since most settings are on your /home partition.

    It only takes me about 25 minutes to wipe my op system and do a fresh install including full updates with XFCE 18.3. Unless 19 will not recognize the /home partition from 18.3 without going the upgrade path.

  5. Jos says:

    Please don’t run this command as root or with elevated privileges.

    The line above shows up when I activate the commands:

    $ mintupgrade check
    $ sudo mintupgrade check

    What is going wrong as until the above command all went well?

  6. David Ralston-Bryce says:

    Well, there you go; upgrade all done no issues that I immediately notice. Followed all your steps. It took 14 min 11 sec to complete.

    • David Ralston-Bryce says:

      Sadly update manager failed in the process in the early stages and on reboot, no system. Had to use live cd and restore Mint 18.3 through Timeshift :-(

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