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

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48 Responses

  1. sarah says:

    ERROR: Please set up system snapshots. If anything goes wrong with the upgrade, snapshots will allow you to restore your operating system. Install and configure Timeshift, and create a snapshot before proceeding with the upgrade.

  2. Kerry Culligan says:

    Problem upgrading from Mint 18.3 to Mint 19. locale: Cannot set LC_ALL: cannot change locale (en_US.UTF-8) and locale: Cannot set LC_ALL to default locale: No such file or directory.

    $ locale shows LC_ALL=en_US.utf-8
    • Aaron Kili says:


      Use the update-locale utility to update your system locale, for example:

      $ update-locale LANG=en_US.UTF-8

      To see all locales, use the command:

      $ locale -a
    • OldSchoolSkippa says:

      I use this command to install the package and choose the locale you said:

      $ sudo dpkg-reconfigure locales    (The default will probably be automatically set to en_US.utf-8)
  3. OldSchoolSkippa says:

    Thank you, this method worked fine. I lost no package functionality, not even in MySQL or Spyder with numerous Python packages. I got a message in the terminal that there were too many errors to complete install, but use the new updater to get correct packages.

    I did that, without rebooting first, and, after a couple of hours, it was done. When I rebooted, Mint 19 appeared on my boot menu (I use dual boot with Windows 10), and worked perfectly. Not much different from Mint 18.3, but a little smoother, faster, and crisper appearance.

  4. Alan Fisk says:

    Got as far as Step 9, performed $ sudo reboot, and the screen is now completely blank, with no display of any kind. I tried power off and restating, but there is still a completely blank screen.

    I seem to have lost my display entirely. What do I do now? (Note: I’m sending this from my wife’s Mac.)

  5. Kerry says:

    I tried to upgrade from Mint 18.3 to 19, following your instructions. All went well, answered Y, until all the downloaded packages were installed and the installation wanted some more packages.

    I noticed that my internet connection was disconnected part of the way through the install, and when the additional packages were requested, they were not available, because no internet. Installation failed :(

    • Aaron Kili says:


      Oh, sorry, you should always have steady and good internet connection when performing an upgrade. Any internet disconnection can result into failure like the one you experienced.

  6. Rick says:

    After using Linux Mint since 2011 I have to conclude that their so-called upgrade method is a hit and miss mess. I simply can’t understand why Clem and his team haven’t put their heads together and come up with something as simple and seamless as Ubuntu’s upgrade method from one release to another. I may well go back to Ubuntu and install MATE, my desktop of choice.

  7. Tomas says:

    I think installing from live DVD or Memory stick goes no very much faster. After clean installation you need download all packages from depository because this on distro sources are not actualized.

    Additionally you need re-install skype (if any) and Earth and so on.

    Or am I wrong?

  8. Bulat says:

    The article is very nice!

    But it seems that it is better (and easier!) to install the Linux Mint 19 directly from the distro. Isn’t?


    • Aaron Kili says:


      Yeah, a fresh installation is actually much easier. But a number of users actually prefer an upgrade. Thanks for the feedback.

      • Wäller says:

        I’d confirm that for my part. Tried the upgrade yesterday. Seem to go smooth but took very long. Started at 4pm and this morning at 6pm still seem to work or was stuck. Since nothing seem to went further I aborted and restored the system to 18.3.

        So I will proceed with my fresh iso installation on another partition. But anyway it is a great and easy to understand procedure. Thank you. :-)

  9. aram v nathan says:

    I tried to upgrade from v18.3 to v19. After initial success through formation of snapshots etc, when the command to upgrade was in process and the list of packages to be upgraded came up and a final query on “Do you want to continue?” the system presumed “n” as the answer instead of “y”, and the upgrade process naturally aborted.

  10. Dhinesh says:

    Nice article brother !!!

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