Notes on Installing Xubuntu 14.04 LTS

The following is a rough guide to setting up Xubuntu on an ASUS S200E VivoBook (also sold as the X202E) but most of it also applies to other types of netbook, laptop or desktop PC. Everything here is really my own personal preference and I openly admit that I like things to look and behave as close to a Windows installation as possible, the reason being I actually like Windows and find it pleasant to use and
there's nothing wrong with that. This particular 11.6" notebook (mine is the Celeron version) supports Xubuntu 'out of the box' with just a small amount of tweaking required to get it just right. It's fair to say you don't get the best touch screen experience, but after all it's a laptop not a tablet! Some simple fixes (workarounds really) are shown at the bottom of the page. The S200E requires the 64-bit version of Xubuntu which can be downloaded here: http://www.xubuntu.org/

Internal DVD drives are becoming a thing of the past but that's no problem. Xubuntu can be installed from a USB stick, by using a utility called Unetbootin which can be downloaded here: http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net. The procedure of copying an ISO file onto a USB stick is covered on the Unetbootin website so won't be repeated again here. The PC has to be set to boot from an external USB drive instead of it's own hard drive by pressing the F2 key just as it starts to boot, and then selecting the correct boot order (again not covered here but lots of info on the net). Xubuntu can be run as a 'Live CD' which means you can try it first without changing anything on your PC, or it can be installed to your hard drive, in which case it will guide you through the installation process. Whether you decide to dual boot with a currently installed Windows installation or wipe the hard drive and start fresh is entirely up to you, but installing a different operating system to the original will invalidate the machines warranty

Tip: If you find that your USB stick doesn't work, it may need to be set as 'Active'. A free utility that can check if this is the case and correct it is EasUS Partition Manager

During installation...

If you are the only person who has physical access to your PC and prefer not to enter a password to log in during startup, select Log in automatically during the installation process. It's on the password entry window. You will still need to provide a system password for other things though

After installation...

Connect to the internet by clicking on the network icon in the top panel (up and down arrows) and select your wireless network. You will be prompted to enter your wireless network password as you would with any computer. Do this and click Connect

Now that you have internet access, download any system updates that are required. You may be prompted to do this anyway, but if not, go to Applications Menu (top left mouse icon) > All > Settings Manager > Software Updater. Any new updates (if found) can be applied by clicking on the Install Now button. After completion of the updates, you can click OK and continue customising the install to your own taste. The following are my own personal preferences. You can of course do whatever you want

Customising the panel:

I like to have the panel at the bottom of the screen rather than at the top. To achieve this, right click on the panel and select Panel > Panel Preferences. The panel configuration window will open in the Display tab. Untick Lock panel, place the cursor at the top of the screen and drag the upper panel down to the bottom of the screen. Tick Lock panel. While still in the panel configuration window, items (icons) can be added to or removed from the panel by selecting the Items tab. Existing items will be listed, which can be removed if not wanted by clicking the ' - ' button, or others added by clicking the ' + ' button. The items I use are shown below in the order they appear on the panel:

Applications Menu
Window Buttons
Indicator Plugin

The order that items appear on the panel can be changed by using the up and down arrow buttons... up to move left and down to move right. Items can be positioned at the left or right end of the panel by placing the separator just before the items that you want to appear at the right (as I have done in my list above) and then double clicking on the Separator item in the list and placing a tick in the Expand box. Icons to the right of the separator will now be pushed to the right hand end of the panel

Items on the indicator plugin can be hidden or repositioned in a similar way to the main panel items. Double click Indicator Plugin in the panel list to open a sub menu showing items displayed on the indicator plugin. Items can be hidden by placing a tick in the box to the right of their name, or moved using the up and down buttons... up to move left and down to move right

To make the panel semi transparent, still in the panel configuration window, select the Appearance tab. In the 'Style' drop down box, select Solid colour and then click the 'Colour' button and select #00000 (black) > OK. Adjust the 'Alpha' slider for the desired amount of transparency > Close

To change the Application Menu icon, right click on it, select Properties, then click on the Icon to select an alternative. The Button title (name) can also be changed here as well (leave blank if you prefer to have only the icon displayed)

Add system shortcut icons to the desktop:

Right click the desktop and select Desktop Settings > Icons tab. Tick the system icons that you want to appear on the desktop. I have Home, Wastebasket and Removable Devices. While here, the icon size can be altered if desired

Add application shortcut icons to the desktop:

Right click on the desktop and select Create Launcher. In the window that opens, type the Name of the application that you want to appear on the desktop. For example, if you type 'firefox', a listing for it will appear in the Comment box below (it will autocomplete). Now click inside the comment box. The name you originally typed will change to the full name of the application... in this case 'Firefox Web Browser'. You can leave it as it is or rename it to something else. The default application icon can also be changed here by clicking on the icon symbol and browsing to another of your own choice (icons should be in .png format). Finally, click Create

Note: When the desktop icon is first double clicked, an Untrusted application launcher message appears. Click Mark Executable and from now on the launcher will work normally

Change desktop wallpaper:

Right click on an image file and select Set as wallpaper

The Settings Manager... Your best friend:

To open the settings manager go to Applications Menu > Settings Manager. Some of the items within the settings manager and what they do are listed below:

Appearance > Style tab: Change the desktop theme (Greybird default is fine)
Appearance > Icons tab: Adjusts Icon style (Humanity-Dark is nice)
Appearance > Fonts tab: Change Custom DPI setting (I like 116)
Power Manager: Sets power button and laptop lid behaviour, screen timeout etc.
Mouse and Touchpad: Sets mouse double click speed etc.
Workspaces: Set the number of workspaces required (I only use one)
Window Manager > Style tab: Change the window theme

Installing software:

Software can be downloaded and installed by opening the terminal (Applications Menu > Accessories > Terminal Emulator) and entering the following command: sudo apt-get install followed by the name of the software. Multiple items of software can be installed at the same time by separating their name with a space. The following applications are my personal favourites:

gksu: Provides graphical administrative access to certain programs (required for Samba)
gthumb: Photo editor
libreoffice: An excellent full featured office suite
samba: Required to enable networking between Linux and Windows
synaptic: Synaptic Package Manager lists all downloadable software
system-config-samba: GUI for managing Samba
vlc: The best media player & utility available (in my humble opinion!)

So... All the above can be installed by opening the terminal and pasting in the following:

sudo apt-get install gksu gthumb libreoffice samba synaptic system-config-samba vlc

Flash player is no longer supported in the Linux version of Firefox and so it is recommended that Google Chrome (which has inbuilt flash capability) is used instead. It can be downloaded here: https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/

Skype can be downloaded as a .deb file from their website here: http://www.skype.com/en/download-skype/skype-for-computer/

Uninstalling software:

Software can be uninstalled by opening the terminal (Applications Menu > Accessories > Terminal Emulator) and entering the following command: sudo apt-get remove followed by the name of the software. Multiple items of software can be uninstalled at the same time by separating their name with a space. To uninstall the original office utilities, media players, image editor and CD/DVD burner, open the terminal and paste in the following:

sudo apt-get remove abiword gimp gmusicbrowser gnumeric imagemagick parole xfburn

Installing fonts:

Go to your home directory, create a folder called .fonts, then drag your fonts into it. Any folder with a . at the beginning of its name will become hidden. To see hidden folders, press Ctrl+H

Enable networking (samba must be installed):

Open the terminal and enter sudo smbpasswd -a username (username being your own username of course). After being prompted for your system password, you will be asked to enter a New SMB password. This is the Samba password that will be used to access Xubuntu from another computer. You can now close the terminal

Create a folder in your Home directory called 'Shared' (or whatever) then go to Applications Menu > Settings Manager > Samba. After entering your system password, the Samba Server Configuration window will open. Click on the green + button to open the Create Samba Share window. Select the Basic tab (default) and put a tick in the Writable and Visible check boxes, then Browse to the shared folder that you just created and click OK. Still in the Create Samba Share window, select the Access tab and put a tick against the username that you want to have access. Click OK to finish. The Shared folder will now be available to other computers

Note: To reset the Samba password, open the terminal and enter sudo smbpasswd -x username (username being yours of course)

Wireless printing (USB printer connected to a wireless Windows PC):

Go to Applications Menu > Settings Manager > Printers > click +Add > in the left hand pane expand Network Printer > select Windows Printer via SAMBA > click Browse and navigate to your network printer (printer must be set to shared and switched on) > OK > Verify > on the 'Print Share Verified' window click OK > Forward > after a pause, on the 'Choose Driver' window select the printer make > Forward > select the printer model > Forward > Forward > if everything looks good click Apply ('Print Test Page' appears)

Note: If the printer makes noises like it's going to print but then doesn't, on the Windows PC go to Control Panel > Devices and Printers > right click on your printer and select Printer properties > Ports tab > untick Enable bidirectional support > OK

Xubuntu Tips

Note: The following are terminal commands

Show system information:

sudo lshw
sudo lshw -html > SysInfo.html (this creates an HTML version in your home folder)

Show hardware information:

sudo dmidecode

Free up some hard drive space:

sudo apt-get clean (nothing appears to happen but that's normal)
and then
sudo apt-get autoremove (lists and removes unused software packages)

Shutdown Commands (change the time values to whatever you want):

sudo shutdown -h +30 (shutdown in 30 minutes)
sudo shutdown -h 08:00 (shutdown at 08:00)

sudo shutdown -c (shutdown cancel)

sudo poweroff (shutdown instantly)

Remove the horrible borders around desktop icon text:

Note: The default Greybird theme does not have these borders

Open the terminal and enter
mousepad ~/.gtkrc-2.0 (Mousepad will open)

Paste the following into Mousepad:

style "xfdesktop-icon-view"
XfdesktopIconView::label-alpha = 0
base[NORMAL] = "#ffffff"
base[SELECTED] = "#ffffff"
base[ACTIVE] = "#ffffff"
fg[NORMAL] = "#ffffff"
fg[SELECTED] = "#ffffff"
fg[ACTIVE] = "#ffffff"
widget_class "*XfdesktopIconView*" style "xfdesktop-icon-view"

Save, then log out and in again to make the changes

Gain root access to system folders:


gksu thunar (gksu has to be installed)

Fixes for the ASUS VivoBook S200E

Goes into suspend mode if the lid is closed even when set to 'Do Nothing' (and other strange lid/power issues):

Open the terminal and
enter: sudo mousepad /etc/systemd/logind.conf (Mousepad will open)

Change the line #HandleLidSwitch=suspend to
HandleLidSwitch=ignore and then save/reboot

Brightness setting not remembered after reboot (comes on at maximum):

Open the terminal and enter: sudo mousepad /etc/rc.local (Mousepad will open)

Add the line echo 40 > /sys/class/backlight/acpi_video0/brightness just above the last line (which is exit 0) and then save

Note: '40' represents the brightness percentage (0-100%) and can be changed to whatever you want

VLC only has left audio channel on some radio streams:

Open the terminal and enter: sudo apt-get remove vlc-plugin-pulse

Laptop shuts down after 10 minutes of no use (even when set to never do this):

Turn off Light Locker: Menu > Settings Manager > Light Locker Settings > set 'Enable light-locker' to OFF > Close