How to Upgrade to Linux Mint 21 “Vanessa”

A major new version of Linux Mint is now available! Based on Ubuntu 22.04 LTS, Linux Mint 21 brings a modest amount of changes and improvements to an already fantastic Linux distribution.

While you can always do a clean install, what if you want to avoid backing up all your files and re-installing all your applications?

Thankfully, the Linux Mint team released a handy tool to upgrade from version 20.3 “Una” to version 21 “Vanessa”. Here’s how to use it.

How Linux Mint Upgrades Work

Based on Ubuntu LTS, Linux Mint only receives a major new version every two years, with minor updates released every six months.

To upgrade from one major version to another, you have to be caught up on the latest minor version. This means that users can only upgrade to Mint 21 “Vanessa” from 20.3 “Una”.

Luckily, you don’t have to perform upgrades for every minor version. For example, users can upgrade from version 20 “Ulyana” directly to 20.3 “Una” before upgrading to 21 “Vanessa”.

Step 1: Upgrade to Linux Mint 20.3

As with any in-place operating system upgrade, you should always make sure to have the latest updates for your current version before initiating the upgrade process.

  1. Open a terminal window and enter the following:
    sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
  2. Enter your password if prompted.
  3. If no updates are available, your system is already up-to-date. If updates are available, press Y to install them and reboot if requested.

Alternatively, you can use the GUI to update Linux Mint.

Enter the following command in a terminal:

sudo apt install mintupgrade

Type in your password if prompted and press Y to install. After the installation finishes, the Linux Mint Upgrade Tool would be ready to use.

Step 3: Upgrade to Linux Mint 21

To upgrade your Linux Mint 20.3 system to 21, enter the following command:

sudo mintupgrade

Enter your password when prompted, and the graphical upgrade tool should launch.

Follow the steps below to upgrade your system to Linux Mint 21:

  1. Once the app is open, click on Let’s go to begin with the process.
  2. On the Phase 1: Preparation screen, click on Ok to begin a simulated dry-run of the upgrade process.
  3. If you haven’t already set up system snapshots using Timeshift, you’ll need to do this now. You won’t be able to move forward until you have a recent system snapshot.
  4. Once you have a snapshot you can move on to Phase 2: Simulation and Download. Click Ok to begin.
  5. If the upgrade simulation completes successfully, the tool will provide you with a summary of the changes. Click Ok to begin the download.
  6. When the download completes, you’ll be ready for Phase 3: Upgrade. Click Ok to proceed.
  7. The tool will present you with a list of “orphan” packages that no longer exist in Linux Mint 21. Click Fix to remove them and continue to the actual upgrade phase.
  8. Alternatively, if you wish to keep any of these packages, click the menu icon in the title bar, choose Preferences, click on the Orphan packages in the left-hand sidebar, and click the Plus sign to add packages.

If everything went smoothly, you should be greeted with a success screen and asked to reboot. Do so now.

When your computer successfully boots into Linux Mint 21, you can remove the Upgrade Tool by entering:

sudo apt remove mintupgrade

Enter your password if prompted and press Y to continue. When the uninstallation is complete, reboot your Linux machine using:

sudo reboot

Welcome to Linux Mint 21!

You should now have successfully upgraded your Linux Mint installation to version 21 “Vanessa” from version 20.3 “Una”.

Users of older versions of Linux Mint can update to the latest minor release, and use the same process to upgrade to the next major version.

Now is a great time to check out what Linux Mint 21 has to offer, other than allowing you to install your favorite applications and customize the Cinnamon desktop to your liking.

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