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25 common Linux Mint issues and fixes

From installation glitches to software quirks, Linux Mint comes with its set of hiccups. Discover the top 25 issues most users have encountered and arm yourself with fixes.

by John Horan
common linux mint issues and fixes

Ah, Linux Mint! One of my all-time favorite distributions of Linux. It’s user-friendly, elegant, and largely trouble-free. However, as with all things tech, even Mint isn’t without its quirks. Over the years, I’ve faced a number of issues with Linux Mint that left me scratching my head. Sometimes, they left me pulling out my hair. But after a cup of coffee (or three), and some time spent scouring forums, I managed to find my way around them.

So, here’s a compilation of 25 common Linux Mint errors that I’ve encountered, and the solutions that saved my day (and my hair).

25 Linux Mint hiccups most of us have encountered

1. Software Manager not working

Issue: Clicking on the Software Manager does absolutely nothing.

Solution: Open Terminal and run:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install --reinstall mintinstall

Restart your computer. The Software Manager should be back in business.

2. WiFi not connecting

Issue: No WiFi networks are detected or you cannot connect to them.


  1. Check if your WiFi is turned on. It sounds simple, but trust me, I’ve been there.
  2. Update your system:
sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade
  1. Reinstall the network manager:
sudo apt-get install --reinstall network-manager

3. Black screen after login

Issue: You log in and are greeted by a pitch-black screen.

Solution: This might be a graphics driver issue. Use Ctrl + Alt + F1 to access the terminal. Install the appropriate graphics drivers or try using the default Nouveau driver.

4. Cannot install software due to broken packages

Issue: An error pops up mentioning broken packages.

Solution: Open Terminal and run:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install -f

This fixes broken packages. If you’re still stuck, you might want to manually find and remove the offending packages.

5. No sound

Issue: Everything looks fine, but there’s no sound.

Solution: Try resetting the PulseAudio configuration with:

rm -r ~/.config/pulse; pulseaudio -k

6. Unable to boot after installing a new kernel

Issue: Linux Mint won’t boot after a kernel update.

Solution: Boot using the older kernel. Once booted, you can either wait for a new update or remove the problematic kernel.

7. Touchpad not working

Issue: The touchpad isn’t responding.

Solution: Go to ‘System Settings’ > ‘Mouse and Touchpad’. Ensure the touchpad is enabled. If that doesn’t do the trick, try reinstalling touchpad drivers.

8. Cannot play multimedia

Issue: You’re unable to play media files.

Solution: Install the required codecs. Open Terminal and run:

sudo apt install mint-meta-codecs

9. Update Manager not working

Issue: Update Manager fails to launch or doesn’t work properly.

Solution: Reset it. Open Terminal and run:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install --reinstall mintupdate

10. Freezing at shutdown or restart

Issue: System hangs when you try to shut it down or restart.

Solution: Often related to graphics drivers. Try switching drivers through ‘Driver Manager’.

11. Blank terminal

Issue: Terminal opens, but it’s just a blank window.

Solution: Reset the profile settings. Open ‘Profile Preferences’ and restore defaults.

12. Desktop icons disappear

Issue: All desktop icons have vanished.

Solution: It’s probably Nemo, the file manager, acting up. Restart it:

nemo -q && nemo &

13. Double title bars on windows

Issue: Windows show double title bars.

Solution: This could be due to a theme glitch. Switch to another theme under ‘Themes’ in ‘System Settings’.

14. Bluetooth not working

Issue: Bluetooth fails to detect devices or doesn’t turn on.

Solution: Reinstall Bluetooth packages:

sudo apt install --reinstall blueman bluez-utils bluez

15. VirtualBox kernel driver error

Issue: VirtualBox complains about a kernel driver not installed.

Solution: Reinstall the dkms package and the VirtualBox host modules:

sudo apt-get install --reinstall dkms virtualbox-dkms

16. Timeshift doesn’t start

Issue: The Timeshift backup utility won’t launch.

Solution: Open Terminal and run:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install --reinstall timeshift

Then, try starting Timeshift again.

17. Panel disappeared

Issue: The bottom or top panel in Linux Mint is gone.

Solution: Reset the panel settings. Use Terminal:

dconf reset -f /org/cinnamon/

Then, restart Cinnamon with Alt + F2, type r, and press Enter.

18. Can’t change the wallpaper

Issue: The desktop wallpaper doesn’t change regardless of the settings.

Solution: Sometimes, the file manager isn’t managing the desktop. Restart Nemo with:

nemo -q && nemo &

19. Errors while adding PPAs

Issue: You receive a “NO_PUBKEY” error while trying to add a new PPA.

Solution: You can easily fetch the missing key using:

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys [KEY]

Replace [KEY] with the actual missing key value from the error message.

20. USB devices not recognized

Issue: When you plug in a USB device, it’s not detected.

Solution: Check if the device shows up with lsusb in Terminal. If it does, it might be a mounting issue. You can manually mount the device or check the “Disks” utility for issues.

21. Cannot extract RAR files

Issue: Errors pop up while trying to extract .rar archives.

Solution: Install the ‘unrar’ package:

sudo apt install unrar

22. Login loop

Issue: You enter the correct password, the screen goes black, and you’re back at the login screen.

Solution: Often a permissions issue. Switch to a tty using Ctrl + Alt + F1, log in, and then:

sudo chown [username]:[username] .Xauthority

Replace [username] with your actual username.

23. Printer not detected

Issue: The system doesn’t recognize your printer.

Solution: Go to ‘Printers’ from the main menu and check if your printer is listed. If not, reinstall cups:

sudo apt install --reinstall cups

Restart your system and try again.

24. Software rendering mode error

Issue: A message saying “Running in software rendering mode” appears.

Solution: This is usually due to graphics driver issues. Check ‘Driver Manager’ and ensure you’re using the recommended drivers.

25. Thumbnails not displaying

Issue: Folder and file thumbnails are not showing.

Solution: Navigate to ‘Edit’ > ‘Preferences’ in your file manager. Under the ‘Preview’ tab, adjust the settings to show thumbnails always.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Linux Mint Troubleshooting

When diving into the intricacies of Linux Mint, a myriad of questions can pop up. I’ve been in situations where a problem left me with more questions than answers. To help ease this process, here’s a handy FAQ section addressing some of the most common queries about troubleshooting Linux Mint.

1. Why is my Linux Mint system running slow?

  • It could be due to numerous reasons like lack of system resources, too many startup applications, or hardware incompatibility. You can use tools like htop to monitor resource usage and disable unnecessary startup applications using the ‘Startup Applications’ tool.

2. Can I get support directly from Linux Mint?

  • Yes, Linux Mint has an official forum where users post questions and get answers. It’s a vibrant community where both newbies and experts share knowledge.

3. I’m new to Linux Mint. Where do I start when facing an error?

  • Always start with the basics. Check if your system is updated, look for obvious signs like unplugged cables or disabled settings. If the problem persists, use online forums or refer to guides (like this one!).

4. How do I know which graphics driver is best for my system?

  • Linux Mint’s ‘Driver Manager’ typically suggests the recommended driver for your hardware. However, sometimes it’s trial and error, especially if you have the latest hardware or very old components.

5. Do I need to use the Terminal for all troubleshooting steps?

  • While the Terminal is a powerful tool and often the quickest way to solve a problem, many solutions can also be implemented through the Graphical User Interface (GUI). However, knowing your way around the Terminal can be a big advantage.

6. How often should I backup my system?

  • Regular backups are always a good idea. Depending on how often you make significant changes to your system or add important data, you might consider weekly or even daily backups. Tools like Timeshift make this process easier on Linux Mint.

7. I can’t fix an error, even after trying multiple solutions. What now?

  • Consider seeking expert help. The Linux Mint community is vast, with many users eager to assist. You can post your issue on Linux Mint forums or other Linux-focused platforms.

8. Are there any tools to automate the troubleshooting process?

  • There are some diagnostic tools available, but troubleshooting often requires a manual approach due to the unique nature of each issue. Over time, with experience, diagnosing problems becomes more intuitive.

9. How do I ensure the stability of my Linux Mint system?

  • Stick to the stable releases, avoid adding too many PPAs or third-party repositories, regularly update your system, and back up before making significant changes.

10. Can these solutions be applied to other Linux distributions?

  • While Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu, and many of these solutions can be applied there, each distribution has its quirks. It’s always a good idea to find guides or solutions specifically tailored for the distribution in question.

Concluding thoughts

While exploring the extensive landscape of Linux Mint, we have encountered a wide range of common errors, explored numerous solutions, and answered many frequently asked questions. As it is evident, no software ecosystem is free from peculiarities and glitches, but that is exactly where the beauty of Linux becomes apparent. The community-driven nature of Linux Mint, combined with its flexibility, ensures that solutions are always readily available.

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