Do you want to reinstall or update your Linux Mint distribution but don’t want to lose all your settings and data in the process? This is possible and not so difficult.
Start by backing up your existing operating system in case you need to restore it if something goes wrong.
Create a bootable disk or drive with the new Mint OS
Before installing a fresh Cinnamon Mint, it’s best to create a bootable copy. The most recent version at the moment is 19.2, codenamed “Tina”.
Burn a DVD (32-bit or 64-bit, depending on your hardware) or create a bootable USB drive. If you’re not sure which version to choose, the most popular is “64-bit Cinnamon”. You can get the download link for Cinnamon Mint on the official page
Refer to the Linux Mint Installation Guide to help you create bootable media, download the correct ISO image, and install Linux Mint on your computer. The guide is available in several languages ??and in different formats such as PDF, ePub and HTML.
Following the steps below will allow you to save all settings and save you a lot of time.
- Boot into the original operating system. From the menu, select “Administrator” and select “Backup Tool”.
- In the backup tool, select Select Backup Software.
Backing up your existing software applications
- Boot to the original operating system. From your menu, choose “Administrator” and select “Backup Tool.”
- In Backup, choose “Select Backup Program.”
- Select your home directory from the destination dropdown. Select the tool you want to use for backup and click “Apply”.
All your programs are now saved on your system. The next step is to open your home directory using the Nemo file manager.
- Find the file you just created in your home directory and double-click it to open the file.
- Search for Linux and remove entries starting with “Linux”. See Highlighted entries in the image below.
- After making sure you have no blank lines, save the file. If you have configured a data disk, you need to copy the fstab file (system configuration file).
- Go to a terminal window and paste the following:
cp / etc / fstab / home / your name
Install Linux Mint
You are now ready to reinstall Mint When you boot your system from an external drive (DVD or USB stick), it launches a live Linux Mint session.
- Insert the DVD or USB drive into your computer and boot from it. You are now using the Live Distro of the new Mint OS.
- Remember to make sure your WiFi is connected if you are using a laptop. On the desktop, double-click the install icon. You will be automatically logged in with the username mint. You will see an installer icon on your desktop.
When you start Linux Mint after it is finally installed on your computer, it is not a working version. The live version is similar to a regular session, except for the following:
- The live session is slower.
- Some applications, such as Timeshift, Update Manager and Flatpak, either do not work or work differently than in a normal session.
- Any changes you make in the current session do not affect the installed system and are not permanent.
Double click Install Linux Mint and select your language.
In the next step, you will be asked to connect to a wireless network. This step is optional. We recommend not to connect to the Internet. If you do this, the installer will download all updates over your Internet connection.
If you have a slow or lost connection, it will be difficult to determine how far your setup went before the connection was dropped. Complete the installation first and get updates later.
Select “I don’t want to connect to Wi-Fi right now.”
The next steps will let you know if you are ready to install Linux Mint. You only need to take care of sufficient disk space. Make sure the battery is charged if you are not using a power source.
As stated, you don’t need to be connected to the Internet. Click “Continue”.
The next step in which you choose the type of installation is very important. You will have four options. You want to choose something else.
This option allows you to manage partitions. Choosing NOT to format the home partition is what keeps your data intact.
If you select “Something else”, you will see sections from which to choose.
Select the root partition and then select change. Take a look at the screenshot below:
- Don’t make any resizing, as this is your old root partition (you don’t want to resize it as you will be formatting it).
- Select the Ext4 journaling file system where it says: use as.
- Make sure the section format is NOT selected.
- Where you see the mount point select / as this is the root symbol
- Select time zone, keyboard layout and add user details. Make sure you use the same username and password as in the old settings.
- After the installation is complete, remove your Live USB or Live CD and reboot. It’s time to reinstall the apps on the new OS.
Reinstall your programs
From the Admin menu, choose Backup Tool. Select “Restore Software Selection” and navigate to your home directory.
Select the software backup file you created earlier and click Apply or Next.
Now all your programs are restored and all your settings are saved. Congratulations, you now have the latest version of Linux Mint.