Clem Lefebvre, head of the Linux Mint project, has announced the end of life (EOL) of Linux Mint 18 and its subsequent point releases. Linux Mint 18 was released five years ago and was based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS which is also reaching the end of its life too.
If you are running Linux Mint 18, 18.1, 18.2, or 18.3, your operating system will continue to work but you’ll no longer receive important security updates from the repositories. Lefebvre is advising users to back up their data before performing a fresh install of the latest Linux Mint 20.1 which will be kept up-to-date until 2025.
While not preferable, you can upgrade to Linux Mint 18.3 then to Linux Mint 19, then to Linux Mint 19.3. The upgrades between point releases are described as being simple, easy, and fast to complete, however, the jump between 18.3 and 19 is a major upgrade, will take longer, and is more complicated; for this reason, you should take your time.
As mentioned earlier, you should back up your data in case anything goes wrong. The Backup Tool comes pre-installed with Linux Mint and gives you the options to backup your personal data as well as the list of programs that you’ve installed. Once you’ve migrated to Linux Mint 20.1, you can use the restore options in the Backup Tool in conjunction with your backups to restore your data.