How to upgrade to LMDE 3

If you’ve been waiting for this I’d like to thank you for your patience.

It is now possible to upgrade the Cinnamon edition of LMDE 2 to version 3.

The upgrade instructions are available at:

Take your time

Read all the instructions and take the time to understand them, ask for help if you’re stuck.

The instructions will ask you to make backups and to prepare system snapshots. Don’t rush into upgrading and do not take shortcuts.

Don’t panic

If you’re stuck or wondering about something don’t hesitate to ask for help:

  • You can post here in the comments section.
  • You can ask for help in the forums.
  • You can connect to the IRC (from within Linux Mint, launch Menu->Internet->Hexchat). If you’re new to IRC, please read this tutorial.


  1. I’ve used mate for a few months, now I can’t upgrade. After installing and switching to cinnamon, and unistalling all the files referencing mate from symaptic, mintupgrade check still says I’m using mate.

    1. Hi Bruce,

      Your edition is defined in /etc/linuxmint/info, provided by a mint-info package.

      Assuming you made your timeshift snapshot, you can try to:

      – sudo dpkg -r –force-depends mint-info-debian-mate (note: it’s not clearly visible in the blog, but this is a double dash, not a single dash, in front of force-depends)
      – apt install mint-info-debian-cinnamon

      I wouldn’t normally recommend doing that but if you switched to Cinnamon and away from MATE, this might work for you. As far as Mint tools are concerned your system will then be recognized as a Cinnamon edition.

  2. Will the themes made available to download through the settings be compatible with this new version of Cinnamon?
    On Mint19 I couldn’t get some to run.
    Back on older updates (Mint 17, probably) times, I remember having to edit some file somewhere, where I had the versions of Cinnamon (probably 2.x) that theme would run and I had to manually add the current version for it to work.

    The thing is, I couldn’t find where to do this on a theme I wanted on Mint19. I went though folders and files, specially on the new theme’s folder, and I couldn’t find it. (eventually this setting is obsolete and has been removed, hence I couldn’t find it).

    Does anyone know where to do this, please? Thanks!

  3. I am a Taiwanese, developed by your team in all Linux systems.
    The operating system is the most satisfying thing I use,
    but I never think that I am Chinese.
    Because China has never ruled Taiwan,
    Taiwan is free and democratic.
    The people are kind and enthusiastic,
    and if your team is not funded by China,
    Please take off the back bracket of Taiwan…..
    Thank you very much for your team’s efforts.

    1. This reminds me of Macedonia vs FYROM, there’s just no simple way to make everybody happy is there? We’ve received countless emails from Chinese people asking us not to list Taiwan as a country. We don’t want to offend anyone, we really don’t care about this argument here, we’re just trying to list download mirrors 🙂

      We’ll change “Taiwan (China)” back to “Taiwan” and rename our “Country” columns “Location”. Hopefully that’s an acceptable compromise to all parties (in the case of Macedonia/FYROM we’ve no solution though, we can’t even name “it” without offending someone).

    2. Your English is confusing, but it is clear that you define yourself as a separate entity from China. I hope things work out better for you and your country. I am Irish-German by ethnicity, but American by country, I don’t consider myself either – we were driven out by wars. Good Luck.

  4. Installation proceeds further after ‘apt install mint-info-debian-cinnamon, but more errors:

    You might want to run ‘apt –fix-broken install’ to correct these.
    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    icedtea-netx : Depends: openjdk-7-jre but it is not installable or
    openjdk-6-jre (>= 6b23~pre10~) but it is not installable
    libgles-nvidia1 : Depends: nvidia-alternative (= 384.130-1)
    libgles-nvidia2 : Depends: nvidia-alternative (= 384.130-1)
    libgles1-glvnd-nvidia : Depends: nvidia-alternative (= 384.130-1)
    libgles2-glvnd-nvidia : Depends: nvidia-alternative (= 384.130-1)
    libpeas-1.0-0 : Depends: libpython3.5 (>= 3.5.0~b1) but it is not installed
    E: Unmet dependencies. Try ‘apt –fix-broken install’ with no packages (or specify a solution).

    The suggested ‘apt –fix-broken install’ does not appear to be a valid apt command.

    1. These packages are from Debian Stretch repos, but mint-info-debian-cinnamon is from LMDE 2 repos, and LMDE 2 is based on Debian Jessie. Do you have both Jessie and Stretch repos enabled at the same time, by any chance?

  5. Can LMDE 3 be used with (upgraded to use) my existing encrypted home folder (eCryptfs)? As I would love to keep that in place.

  6. Thanks for the responses. To answer your several questions:
    The installation of mint-info-debian-cinnamon was done before the upgrade, so is LMDE2, as is my system. The installation switched me from jessie to stretch repositories. Typing the command ‘apt — fix-broken install’ command brings up a menu of syntax. Yes, that’s two hyphens before ‘fix’. man apt does not show this command.

    1. Ok, so the error message is shown when mintupgrade is running? and mint-info-debian-cinnamon was already installed with only Betsy/Jessie repos active?
      I have a VM with LMDE 2 MATE for testing, so I’ll try to reproduce this.

    2. About fix-broken thing:
      – Mint has its own apt script which acts as a wrapper for upstream (Debian’s) apt
      – Mint’s apt script is at /usr/local/bin/apt, while upstream one is at /usr/bin/apt
      – Mint’s apt script takes precedence if you just type “apt” because /usr/local is first in $PATH environment variable
      – Mint’s apt script doesn’t understand arguments between “apt” and “install”, but it understands arguments after “install” (or other commands): “apt install -f” will work
      – alternatively, you can run upstream apt directly by specifying full path: “sudo /usr/bin/apt -f install” (note that sudo is needed here)

  7. I hope someone will find (and post) a method to upgrade LMDE2 Mate to LMDE3 Cinammon. Not continuing LMDE MATE is acceptable for me, but I would be really angry if I have to reinstall everything as LMDE2 Mate is my primary OS with tons of additional software installed during the years.

    1. You can try this:

      – sudo dpkg -r –force-depends mint-info-debian-mate (double dash in front of force-depends)
      – apt install mint-info-debian-cinnamon
      – apt install mint-meta-debian-cinnamon

      After this you should have both MATE and Cinnamon and the upgrader should think your edition is Cinnamon, letting you upgrade.

      Post-upgrade, make sure to downgrade all MATE packages towards Stretch versions (i.e. from 1.18 to 1.16) via mintsources.

      Let us know if you’re successful with this. If things go wrong you can roll back with Timeshift.

    2. To upgrade LMDE 2 MATE EDITION to LMDE 3 you have to :
      install cinnamon : # apt install cinnamon

      logout : Menu >> Logout
      select cinnamon from the cog on the login screen

      edit manually /etc/linuxmint/info : # sudo nano /etc/linuxmint/info
      replace all occurences of “MATE” with “CINNAMON” in this file and save

      you can now follow instructions in

    3. No that won’t work. Instead of editing the info file you need to switch info packages as suggested here in the comment section.

    4. Thanks @clem for your answer, I will definitely try this until end of the year!

      If it fails, I will use timeshift and remain on LMDE2 until 2020 (debian lts support)

  8. All this debate shows how LMDE Mate was really appreciate and users are trying to continue the adventure with the Linux Mint Team but trying to find a way to keep all their configurations elaborate since several years……

  9. Upgrade successful! Thanks everyone for the suggestions. The issues I had that aborted the upgrade were the following:
    – System retained the identification as mate, although I had switched back to cinnamon
    – Legacy nvidia drivers had to be thoroughly removed before beginning the upgrade
    – Plymouth-set-default-theme not found error. I had to install plymouth before beginning the upgrade

    1. I’m a bit concerned that nvidia drivers need to be removed.
      Does this apply for a non-mate LMDE2 -> LMDE3 upgrade?
      I’ve been using (for years) NVIDIA 340.106 drivers – I had hoped the upgrade would cope with this.

    2. 340.xx

      These were the errors I got before removing nvidia in favor of nouveau:
      libgles-nvidia1 : Depends: nvidia-alternative (= 384.130-1)
      libgles-nvidia2 : Depends: nvidia-alternative (= 384.130-1)
      libgles1-glvnd-nvidia : Depends: nvidia-alternative (= 384.130-1)
      libgles2-glvnd-nvidia : Depends: nvidia-alternative (= 384.130-1)

      During the install an ncurses-type screen giving me the choice of installing the proprietary nvidia driver (it warned it wouldn’t support my GeForce 210 card) or not. Neither alternative allowed X to start on reboot.

    3. I see… in Debian Jessie, nvidia 340.xx is not considered legacy yet, it’s the main driver. In Debian Stretch, nvidia 384.xx is the main one. These packages from both releases have the same names, so apt tried to upgrade them, and looks like there was some problem with that…

  10. I installed from scratch and all right … except that .. I intend to connect to the network via wifi .. I put the correct password … it is how to connect and it tells me that … it has disconnected from the network correctly … without connecting
    I’ve tried with another network and the same

    1. I have the same problem with the LMDE 3 install disk. Can’t connect to the network using wi-fi. I can connect using Mint 19.

  11. At step D8 I have many “foreign Packages” listed, some of which _shouldn’t_ be removed, i.e. mountall and gcc. What is the back-end command(s) being used for step D8 in the referenced tutorial? I’d really like not to have to do a full reinstall just to fix this issue…

    1. Hi,

      There are two types of foreign packages:

      – Packages which version is higher on your computer than in the repositories. These should not be removed, but downgraded. (Section D7)
      – Packages which are installed on your computer but do not exist in the repositories. These are also called “obsolete” packages. All of these should be safe to remove. (Section D8)

      Mountall does not exist in Debian Stretch. Neither does gcc-4.8. They are leftovers from your LMDE 2 / Jessie system and they are not needed in your LMDE 3 / Stretch system (except maybe by other foreign packages).

      From the command line you can list obsolete packages with:

      apt search ~o

      And you can remove them with:

      sudo aptitude purge ~o

      As always do a Timeshift snapshot first.

    2. The instructions worked perfectly! Thanks!

      I did encounter the same “problem” – I just removed the rest of the packages, and left gcc-4.x and mountall alone.

  12. @Clem: Thanks for the thorough reply. I think that is the issue, the system flags certain packages as critical such that they can’t be removed per step D8 (if one does a select all + remove an error gets displayed stating certain packages can’t be removed and there is no override option in the GUI). So removal must be forced via another way.

  13. Thanks Clem and team for the great work on LMDE3. Successful upgrade from LMDE2.
    Is it on purpose that the upgrade didn’t also change the init system (a fresh LMDE3 being systemd) and would this only require to install systemd-sysv in addition ?

    1. No, mintupgrade should’ve done that automatically in the process… so looks like something went wrong.

  14. “You can try this:

    – sudo dpkg -r –force-depends mint-info-debian-mate (double dash in front of force-depends)
    – apt install mint-info-debian-cinnamon
    – apt install mint-meta-debian-cinnamon

    After this you should have both MATE and Cinnamon and the upgrader should think your edition is Cinnamon, letting you upgrade.”

    This suggestion from Clem did not work, at first, for me. After removing mint-info-debian-mate, I would get errors installing mint-info-debian-cinnamon:

    “The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    mint-info-debian-cinnamon : Depends: mint-user-guide-cinnamon but it is not going to be installed
    E: Unmet dependencies. Try ‘apt-get -f install’ with no packages (or specify a solution)”

    Trying to install mint-user-guide-cinnamon gave and error about conflicting with mint-user-guide-mate.

    I ended up installing mint-meta-debian-cinnamon first, to install the cinnamon desktop. Then I did “sudo dpkg -r –force-depends mint-info-debian-mate” and “sudo dpkg -r –force-depends mint-user-guide-mate,” after which I did “apt install mint-info-debian-cinnamon mint-user-guide-cinnamon.”

    Not sure if I really had to install the cinnamon desktop first. But the conflict with the user-guide definitely had to be dealt with for me to get this to work.

    I’m running the upgrade to LMDE 3 now, so I’ll see how the rest of it goes.

  15. Still in need of an answer regarding whether or not LMDE 3 will be able to see/use my existing encrypted LMDE 2 home partition?????
    I understand that this feature has been dropped from Mint 19, but I have seen no reference to eCryptfs and LMDE 3.

    1. I don’t know what method you used to encrypt your LMDE 2 home partition.
      IF it was properly encrypted, then NO!
      I suggest you make a fresh install alongside LMDE 2 and gradually copy the data over to your new OS.
      best of luck!
      PS: i only encrypt specific files and folders… blanket encryption of the entire /home makes no sense to me.

    2. I used a Mint 18 installation to create the encrypted home partition and then overwrote the 18 file system with LMDE 2, therefor keeping the the encrypted home partition.

    3. Seems as though it sees and uses my encrypted home folder just fine and in that respect it beats Mint 19 hands down 🙂

  16. Yesterday unplug all the lines of the hard drive to the LMDE 3
    whole system Built on a 32GB USB (Flash drive),
    create nvidia as follows:
    Take as an example
    1. Get
    2. chmod +x
    3. sudo ./
    4. apt install firmware-linux nvidia-driver nvidia-settings nvidia-xconfig
    5. sudo nvidia-xconfig
    Whether to start NVIDIA X Server Settings is successful
    Because this method can be successful in LMDE 2.LMDE3,
    LINUX MINT 18 and LINUX MINT 19.
    Booting from the Clonezilla CD will cover
    the entire USB system to the hard drive.

    Power disk partition size adjustment by Gparted CD boot.
    Restart everything is fine.

    USB build system is very slow, so long as Clonezilla and
    Gparted are quickly rebuilt.

    I believe that future nvidia events will happen
    constantly in Linux systems.

    My computer has been used for 6 years, but I am still very satisfied with the speed
    of LINUX MINT. It is also time to change the computer.
    There are two options as follows:

    Plan A
          Use only Intel Core i3-8100
          The question is, can the Linux system boot UHD630?

    Plan B
          Use Intel Pentium G5400 + NVIDIA GeForce GT 730
     The problem is that it can solve the Plan A solution, but
    NVIDIA has developed to AI and high-end graphics cards.
    The low-end graphics card is the responsibility of the
    CPU, which will be a serious blow to the Linux system.

    But the problem is that there is very little information
    available for the Plan A …

    The Linux system also encountered various hardware driver dilemmas,
    thank you hackers.Complete this task, whether the Linux system
    establishes a hardware usage summary table, by Linux Users
    log on to the Internet, so that the Linux system will last forever…

    Thank you for your selfless devotees of the Linux system.

  17. Hello, Please could you advise. I am in process of upgrading to LMDE 3 and the mintupgrade check tells me: ERROR: Your version of Linux Mint is ‘Debian’. Only LMDE 2 ‘Betsy’ can be upgraded to LMDE 3 ‘Cindy’.
    My system is upto date in the update manager, lsb_release -a tells me Linux Mint Debian Edition release 1 Debian and the kernal I have is -amd64. Please could someone advise how I update to LMDE2. Many thanks,

  18. Hi Clem, thanks for the quick reply. I also just found them and the same problem remains… Any ideas much appreciated …

  19. After update (without any serious issues) the X doesn’t start, and after login in the command line I only have a readonly filesystem. So I can’t do anything. Someone mentioned to uninstall NVidia drivers before upgrade (that I did not do, I have older NVidia card using 340.106 driver).

    I hope the solution is not to make a fresh install…

    1. Well I had to remount / and tmpfs, the re-install the nvidia drivers and I can get to the desktop. Unfortunately I have to remount them on every boot. Not a big deal as I usually restart the computer maybe once a week, but now the desktop gets stuck (I can only close windows/programs from the task bar) usually when changing preferences of programs (like the terminal’s font for example). Kind of annoying.

  20. Thanks! And thanks to Clem for the “How to upgrade to LMDE 3” tutorial. I have a question with regard to steps C6/C7 on that tutorial: my list of foreign packages contains all those of LibreOffice (liboasis5.4-* and libreoffice5.4-*) and an X.265 library (libx265-43); should I downgrade and remove them all, as instructed,and then reinstall?

  21. Thanks, Clem, for the instructions! A question with regard to steps D7/D8, and please accept my apologies if “too newbsie”. D7/D8 instruct to downgrade and remove foreign packages; however, all LibreOffice packages (libobaes5.4-* and libreoffice5.4-*) appear in the list of foreign packages. Should I remove them and reinstall?
    Thanks again.

  22. Hello,
    Just a precision about: “The LMDE 2 MATE edition cannot be upgraded (Debian’s version of MATE is only 1.16 and this edition is no longer present in LMDE 3)”.
    Effectively Stretch is using MATE 1.16 but 1.20 in Stretch-backports, would it be possible to have a way to migrate LMDE2 MATE to LMDE 3 CINNAMON + MATE?

    Thanks in advance for the answer.

  23. Hi,
    Many thanks for the detailed tutorial and for the mintupgrade tool !
    I managed to upgrade my system quite well. The first try failed near the end of the upgrade because the package busybox is mandatory for the upgrade and was not installed.
    A lot of folders could not be removed because the were ‘not empty’. I let them as they are.
    At last I can run recent Java programs without using Oracle thanks to the new version of Java ! And now I should be able to run the LeelaZero software :-). It could not run on LMDE2 because the libboost library was much too old and not compatible.
    There is just one drawback for the time being : full screen videos or games (youtube, VLC, emulator in dosbox…) are juddering in LDME3 while they were fluid under LMDE2. I tried to install the proprietary nvidia drivers for my video card, but they don’t work in spite of all the workarounds that I tried (the boot sequence stops on a black screen with cursor blinking, only the text mode is available). I reverted to the nouveau drivers. I hope to find a solution one day, as I watch a lot of videos on Youtube.

  24. I have the Mint version, and wondered about upgrading. I am not able to rename albums, artists, and track names, and it does not automatically retreive this like Windows media player. How can I find something that will find this information automatically. I am downloading cds of my own, rather than from online .Help!

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