I am thinking about changing my Ubuntu to Mint, as I have heard that it is faster and a little more stable than Ubuntu(Running 14.04, and some issues happen with loading and closing apps). I'm finding guides here and there, but since tings change from version to version, I don't want to screw this up. I would prefer to have it go as painlessly as possible, but also to load/run as many of my current apps as possible.

As I understand it, Mint is basically a distribution of Ubuntu, so I was wondering if the directions I found for migrating a laptop form one Ubuntu install to another would work.

They basically tell me to use Synaptic Package Manager to save the "markings", and then to copy these folders (except using my user name, of course):


There are a few things I want to save, such as music, downloads and pictures, but besides that, can I pretty much follow the same instructions and have a full, clean install of Mint, since(As I understand it) they are almost the same OS?

One of the guides wanted me to copy everything in /home, which is like 100 GB...

Thanks for any suggestions, I just don't want to hose anything by using outdated tips, or I would have just used the closed post from a few years back as my guide.

  • You may find helpful Linux Mint Community's website: community.linuxmint.com
    – GeoMint
    Nov 6 '15 at 21:05
  • 4
    I do not perse consider this offtopic: the current OS is Ubuntu and the question is about how to do this from Ubuntu.
    – Rinzwind
    Nov 6 '15 at 21:08
  • I agree with @Rinzwind, if removing Ubuntu and putting Windows on is on topic, then so is removing Ubuntu and putting Mint (or any OS) on.
    – Mark Kirby
    Nov 6 '15 at 22:12
  • 1
    I also agree with @Rizwind, but for a different reason: the backup procedure for all Ubuntu flavours and derivatives is basically the same. Nov 7 '15 at 6:58

Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu.

Main Desktop Environments:

  • Ubuntu -> Unity
  • Linux Mint -> Cinnamon

That means that some of your configuration files may not work correctly, and do not overwrite any system/user file that will affect how the system work. Unless you are sure its ok to modify.

The best thing you can do is to copy your files using this system:

  1. Open the file manager
  2. Browse to the /home/user directory
  3. Copy (don't move!) all the files from Downloads to /home/user2/Downloads
  4. Check you did a good job.
  5. Now delete /home/user/Downloads
  6. Go back to step 3 and repeat for Documents, Videos, ...

And write somewhere a list with the programs that you have installed. And if you installed them manually take a note where you find it.

If you have modified any files, like .bashrc, then remember to copy the changes you made.

Linux Mint has already installed configuration files and it is not the same as Ubuntu's.


Please do not follow old guides.

as I have heard that it is faster and a little more stable than Ubuntu

Says who? I doubt it. Ok, Mint might use different default software but if that is the case and there is a bug in the software we use you can install those versions in Ubuntu too. Libreoffice, Firefox will be the same versions, with the same amount of stability.

You might like the official Ubuntu MATE. That is the official version based on the old Gnome2.

As I understand it, Mint is basically a distribution of Ubuntu,

No. It is an unofficial copy of Ubuntu where someone changed some of the code to make it their own. We do not support unofficial releases by the way.

They basically tell me to use Synaptic Package Manager

That piece of software has been obsolete for about 3 years or so. That link (did not click it ;) is probably from before 2012. Please do not use old guides. Focus on guides that are at least about the latest LTS (ie. in this case 14.04). Those tend to be correct for at least up to the next LTS.

One of the guides wanted me to copy everything in /Home, which is like 100 GB...

The best advice anyone can give: make a backup when messing with partitions, operating system installing or re-installing. Or in general: make sure files that are irreplaceable are on a restorable backup.

For this purpose my files are on a different partition (/discworld) I mount (and do not format) during a fresh install and I edit

$ more .config/user-dirs.dirs 
# This file is written by xdg-user-dirs-update
# If you want to change or add directories, just edit the line you're
# interested in. All local changes will be retained on the next run
# Format is XDG_xxx_DIR="$HOME/yyy", where yyy is a shell-escaped
# homedir-relative path, or XDG_xxx_DIR="/yyy", where /yyy is an
# absolute path. No other format is supported.

So my Desktop points to that directory (it holds all my video's I tend to watch).

Currently the method for OFFICIAL releases when you need to re-install another OS is to NOT format /home/ if on a different partition or to choose the "preserve my /home" when installing another OS. That will work but you might need to clean up your /home afterwards due to config settings not used in the new OS.

The 1st and 2nd option in the image below have a comment stating that the current personal documents will be kept and not removed. Where the 2nd option will end up with a dual boot of 2 operating systems. This would be my choice: install the 2nd OS next to the 1st one, move files over to the new one and when happy delete the 1st OS. That is always possible with any 2 operating systems:

enter image description here

More info on the wiki.

But your assumption is most likely wrong: Ubuntu will not be slower or less stable. If you want a stable Ubuntu stick with the LTS and skip the in-between releases. 14.04 was rock solid for me.

  • "It is an unofficial copy of Ubuntu where someone changed some of the code to make it their own. " - Where did you get that from? Can you back this claim up with anything?
    – opticyclic
    Jul 3 '18 at 4:39
  • What claim? It is well known that these are the only official releases: ubuntu.com/download/flavours That page also links to "unofficial derivatives." wiki.ubuntu.com/DerivativeTeam/Derivatives Mint is an unofficial derivative. Their desktop is cinnamon. That is theirs, not an official Ubuntu desktop, based on gnome2. What is there to argue about?
    – Rinzwind
    Jul 3 '18 at 6:36
  • 1
    I mean what code have they changed? It was my understanding that they added packages, either new code like cinnamon or used different existing packages. Maybe it is the wording, but would you say Ubuntu was "an unofficial copy of Debian where they changed some of the code to make it their own" or would you say "Ubuntu was based on Debian"?
    – opticyclic
    Jul 3 '18 at 14:13

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