Install newer Mint over older version
First make sure that you have a back of your system. Use either Redo or Acronis True Image to backup your system. Things do go wrong!!! Link to backup article.
Here we are going to install the newest Mint. Should not matter what version you're using or upgrading to. This should apply to all version.
So in this article we are going to install a newer version of Mint but keep our home directory. I suggest you install a newer version of Mint with the same desktop you're using now. Example: if your using Mint Cinnamon then install a newer version of Mint with the Cinnamon desktop. This should prevent you having any problems with older configuration files. Note: once you have the newer version install, you can add more desktop like XFCE.
Mint by default installs a program called Backup Tools. If you using the XFCE desktop it's under System, in Cinnamon it's under Administrator. Open it and enter your password.
Should look like this:
Select the Backup software selection
Next in the Destination drop down box, select other and save the file in your home directory. Click on Forward and deselect any items that have linux-header****, linux-image**** or linux-kernel. You don't want to back these up.
Note: This does not back up your programs and data. This only backups a list of what programs you have installed in your system. This is why we will not format the home partition when we start the install.
Next if you have any data drives setup on different partitions then you should backup your fstab file. You can do this by opening your file manager, go to the root and then into the /etc directory and scroll way down and copy the fstab file to your home directory. This way you will have your UUID info on your data drive to recopy back into your new fstab file.
Now you're ready to start your install. Insert your thumb drive or DVD and boot from that.
Once you're in the Live CD make sure you connect the internet then start the install. Once you get to the screen that ask (basicly will ask the 3 options, depending on the distro maybe different)
a. Install Linux Mint alongside Windows
b. Erase disk and Install Linux Mint
c. Something else
You want to pick C (Something Else). If you have Windows installed and want to keep the Windows bootloader then go here. This show how to install 4 partition so you keep your Windows bootloader.
Select the / (old root partition) then select change.
Don't touch the partition size but change the Use as: to the Ext4 journaling file system. Check the Format the partition box and make the Mount point / (this is root)
Next to the same for the home partition but Don't Check the Format the partition box. You do not want to format this. If you do, you will loose all your program data and program preferences.
Now follow all the step till you get to your Username and Password. You want to use the same Username and Password you had in the older version of Mint. This will prevent a lot of permission problems.
Follow all the next steps and then when done will ask to reboot. Do so and don't forget to remove your DVD or thumb drive after it tells you to.
Once you have rebooted into your new Mint distro you will need to configure your fstab file if you have a Data Drive. If not skip this section.
Open your file manager and in your home directory double click on the fstab file. This will open the file to edit. you want to copy your info on your Data Drive. Example: (yours will look different)
# <file system> <mount point> <type> <options> <dump> <pass>
UUID=dc2d2f18-ec95-4ed3-b952-9e696ba1b445 / ext4 errors=remount-ro 0 1
UUID=400b63fc-9fc5-ef52-8ddd-7ffdf7e8a430 /home ext4 defaults 0 2
UUID=24bc466e-aff5-48cc-8eff-f758b8d4972b none swap sw 0 0
UUID=28bff11b-eac5-4afb-8407-12565c76c48e /data ext4 defaults 0 2
Its the UUID=28bff11b-eac5-4afb-8407-12565c76c48e /data ext4 defaults 0 2 line that I want to copy into my new fstab file so highlight it and copy it. It's the one with /data or whatever you called you data drive.
Now while still in your file manager, go out to the / (root) of your drive and Right Mouse Click on the /etc folder and select open as Root. Enter your password.
Note: You should see a Red or Orange color bar warning your file manager is in root mode.
Now double click on the fstab file and hit enter once and then paste the UUID info you copied from your old fstab file.
Example: UUID=28bff11b-eac5-4afb-8407-12565c76c48e /data ext4 defaults 0 2
Click on the save button and exit out of the text editor and close all your file managers.
Root your machine for the new Data Drive to take affect.
Once your back into your new system reopen your Backup Tools. If you using the XFCE desktop it's under System, in Cinnamon it's under Administrator. Open it and enter your password.
Should look like this:
Click on the Restore software selection and go select in your home directory the backup you just made. Will look something like this: email@example.com
Follow all the prompts from there and it should reinstall all the software you previously had installed. Now all your programs and their preference will all be setup and working.
You may need to go download and install some extra programs like Chrome and Meag Sync and others which are not in the Mint repository's. Go download them and then put them in your home directory. (don't forget to delete them from your home directory when done.) You should keep these program saved on your data drive so you don't have to redownload them.
You can go here to see how to install Mint deb programs here.
Once that is done you should be 100% back to a newer version of Mint but fully setup and running.
If you have any questions, please contact me and I would be glad to help you.
Here is a great PDF from Mint on how to install it.