How to Upgrade to Linux Mint 20 Ulyana

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Linux Mint 19.3 receives support until April 2023, but you may want to upgrade to the latest version of Mint – Linux Mint 20 – to enjoy the numerous enhancements and cool features.

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In this guide, you will learn how to Upgrade Linux Mint 19.3, codenamed Tricia, to Linux Mint 20 which is based on Ubuntu 20.04.

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NOTE: This guide applies ONLY to 64-bit systems.

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Check Linux Mint Architecture

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If you are running a 32-bit instance of Linux Mint 19.3, then a fresh installation of Linux Mint 20 is recommended, otherwise, this procedure won’t work.

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To verify your system’s architecture, run the command:

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$ dpkg --print-architecturern

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If you are running a 64-bit system your output should give you 'amd64' as shown.

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Check Linux Mint System Architecture
Check Linux Mint System Architecture

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However, if you get 'i386' as the output, then you are running a 32-bit version on Linux Mint 19.3 and you cannot upgrade to Linux Mint 20. You should either stick to Linux 19.3 or perform a fresh installation of Linux Mint 20.

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Upgrade all the Packages on Linux Mint

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To start off, apply all the package updates by running the command:

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$ sudo apt update -y && sudo apt upgrade -yrn

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Upgrade Linux Mint
Upgrade Linux Mint

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Alternatively, you can use the Update Manager to apply all the system & package updates. Simply navigate to Menu > Administration then select ‘Update Manager’.

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Linux Mint Update Manager
Linux Mint Update Manager

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On the Update Manager Window, click on the ‘Install Updates’ button to upgrade the packages to their latest versions.

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Install Linux Mint Updates
Install Linux Mint Updates

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Provide your password and hit ENTER or click on the ‘Authenticate’ button to authenticate and proceed with the upgrade.

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Linux Mint Authentication
Linux Mint Authentication

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If it’s been a while since you last upgraded your packages, this might take quite a while to complete and some patience will do.

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Linux Mint Updated
Linux Mint Updated

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Backup Linux Mint Files

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We cannot stress enough the importance of taking a backup copy of all your files. A backup will save you the agony of losing your crucial files in the event that something goes wrong during the system upgrade.

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Additionally, you can create a snapshot of your system files and settings using the Timeshift tool. This will make a backup copy of all your system files and help you to restore your system using the latest snapshot in case anything goes wrong.

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Be advised that this does not back up your user data such as movies, images, audio files, etc. This, therefore, informs the need to have a backup of your personal files.

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Install the Mintupgrade Utility in Linux Mint

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The next step will require you to install the mintupgrade utility. This is a command-line tool provided by Linux Mint solely for upgrading from one Mint release to another.

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Therefore, run the following command:

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$ sudo apt install mintupgrade rn

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Install Mintupgrade in Linux Mint
Install Mintupgrade in Linux Mint

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Check Linux Mint Upgrade

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With mintupgrade installed, you can simulate the upgrade to Linux Mint 20 Ulyana by running the command:

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$ sudo mintupgrade checkrn

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Since it’s a simulation, the command won’t upgrade your system, but will temporarily point your current system to Linux Mint 20 repositories and thereafter restore your repositories back to Linux Mint 19.3. It’s basically a dry run that gives you a peek on what will happen during the upgrade including the packages to be upgraded and installed or removed.

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Check Linux Mint Upgrades
Check Linux Mint Upgrades

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Download Linux Mint Upgrades

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After the simulation is complete, initiate the download of packages required for the upgrade using the mintupgrade command shown:

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$ sudo mintupgrade downloadrn

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Bear in mind that this command only downloads the packages meant for upgrading your system and doesn’t perform the upgrade itself. Once done, you should get the notification that ‘Command ‘download’ has completed successfully’.

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Download Linux Mint Upgrades
Download Linux Mint Upgrades

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Upgrade to Linux Mint 20

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Finally to upgrade to Linux Mint 20, execute:

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$ sudo mintupgrade upgradern

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Before you proceed, kindly note that this process is irreversible and should not be interrupted. The only way to go back is to restore your system using the snapshot you created earlier on.

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Upgrade to Linux Mint 20
Upgrade to Linux Mint 20

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The upgrade is quite massive and intensive and will take roughly 2-3 hours. Also, during the upgrade process, you will be required to re-authenticate a couple of times and interact with any prompts on the terminal. For example, you will be required to choose between restarting services during the upgrade or not as shown.

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Configure Linux Mint Services
Configure Linux Mint Services

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If you have multiply display managers, you will come across this prompt. Simply hit ENTER to proceed.

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Configure Linux Mint Display Manager
Configure Linux Mint Display Manager

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Then select your preferred display manager. In my case, I chose ‘Lightdm’.

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Set Linux Mint Display Manager
Set Linux Mint Display Manager

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The entire upgrade took about 3 hours for my case. It may take longer or shorter for your case, but one thing’s for sure – it’s quite time-consuming.

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After the upgrade, you can verify your system’s version by running the command:

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$ cat /etc/os-releasern

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Verify Linux Mint Version
Verify Linux Mint Version

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Additionally, you can use the Neofetch command-line utility to display system information as shown.

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$ neofetchrn

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Show Linux Mint 20 Information
Show Linux Mint 20 Information

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NOTE: The upgrade will overwrite the default configuration files in the /etc directory. To restore the files, use the snapshot you created earlier before upgrading.

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If you wish not to use the Timeshift tool, you can instruct the upgrader to ignore it by running the command.

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$ sudo touch /etc/timeshift.jsonrn

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Again, the upgrade takes a while. If you are busy elsewhere, It’s advisable to keep checking your terminal every now and then for any prompts that might require your intervention.

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