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Notes on Installing Linux Mint 19.2 Cinnamon





The following is a rough guide to setting up Linux Mint on a netbook, laptop or desktop PC (my installation was on an ASUS S200E VivoBook also sold as the X202E). 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 that Windows is easy to use! This particular 11.6" notebook (mine is the Celeron version) supports Linux Mint 'out of the box' with just a small amount of tweaking required to get it just right, and the touchscreen works quite well too. The S200E requires the 64-bit version of Mint which can be downloaded here: http://www.linuxmint.com

Internal DVD drives are becoming a thing of the past but that's no problem. Linux Mint 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 and so won't be repeated here. The Asus 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, and then selecting the correct boot order in the BIOS menu. Mint can be run as a 'Live CD' which means you can try it first before permanently installing it onto your hard drive. The live trial has an install icon on the desktop which when clicked will guide you through the install process. Linux can be installed alongside a current Windows installation (dual boot) but I always prefer to wipe the hard drive and start fresh. 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 Master

Note: If you find when trying to connect to a wireless network that it keeps asking for authentication it could be because your wireless router is set to WPA/WPA2 mixed mode instead of WPA2 mode only

During installation

1) Select Connect to this network and log into your wifi to download additional software during install
2) Select Install third-party software to add extra support for hardware and common multimedia file types etc.
3) Select Erase disk and install Linux Mint to completely wipe the hard drive for a clean install (if you want to of course)
4) Select Log in automatically when you get to the name and password entry window (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 this option, but you will still need a password for other system related things though)

After installation

Make sure you have an internet connection. If not, click on the network icon in the lower panel (right and left pointing arrows) and select your wireless network. After entering your network password, click Connect. Go to Menu > Administration > Update Manager to download any system updates that are required. On the window that opens, click the Refresh, Select All and Install Updates buttons. This may have to be done several times to install level 1, 2 and 3 updates (your system password will be required). When you see the message 'Your sytem is up to date' you are ready to start customising things to your own taste. The following are my own personal preferences but you can of course do whatever you want



Customising the panel

I like the panel to look clean and as close to my Windows 10 desktop PC as possible. First I remove all the panel items (Applets) that I don't want by right clicking them and selecting the remove option. All I want showing are Menu on the left along with Window list (which will be invisible until a window is opened) and Power ManagerNetwork ManagerSound and Calendar on the right (in that order). To add these, right click the panel, select Panel edit mode and then Add applets to the panel. A panel item can now be added by selecting it, clicking '+', and then dragging it where you want on the panel. Don't forget to switch panel edit mode off when finshed

To change the panel height, right click it and select Panel settings

To modify the Menu icon, right click on it and select Configure. Click Use a custom icon and label then browse to the location of your wanted icon image (see '
Installing custom desktop icons' below). If you just want the icon without the word 'Menu' then simply leave the 'Text' box blank

Add system shortcuts to the desktop

Menu > Preferences > Desktop. In the window that opens, select the system icons that you want to appear on the desktop. I have Home, Rubbish Bin and Mounted Drives. Finally, right click the desktop, select Customise and then untick Auto-arrange

Create desktop shortcuts to files and folders

Method 1: Click a file or folder once to highlight it but don't open it. In the Edit menu select Make Link. Drag the link to the desktop

Method 2: Hold down Ctrl+Shift and drag the file or folder to the desktop. A link will be created automatically

Add application shortcuts to the desktop

Go to the menu and right click the application you want to appear on the desktop. Select Add to desktop



Installing custom wallpaper

Go to your Home directory, create a folder called .wallpaper, then drag your custom wallpapers into it. Right click any wallpaper image you want to use and select Set as Wallpaper

Installing custom desktop icons (.ico format)

Go to your Home directory, look for a folder called .icons, then drag your custom icons into it. Right click on a desktop icon, select Properties and then click on the icon symbol. An explorer window will open where you can browse to the .icons folder

Desktop icons can be downloaded here

Installing custom system icons

Download an icon package and place it in the .icons folder. The icons will be available to select from Menu > Preferences > Themes  > Icons

Windows style system icons can be downloaded here

Installing new themes

Go to your home directory, create a folder called .themes, then drag your download themes into it. The themes will now be available by going to Menu > Preferences > Themes > Desktop

A theme that gives a nice dark panel and doesn't mess with the desktop icons is
Eleganse

More Linux Mint themes can be downloade here
 

Installing new (Microsoft) fonts

Go to your Home directory, create a folder called .fonts, then drag your fonts into it. The fonts will now be accessible to all applications

Note: Folders with a . at the beginning of their name will be hidden, but they can be unhidden by simply pressing Ctrl + H



System Settings

System Settings is a nice 'One Stop' place to access most things. Making a short cut to it on the desktop is even even more convenient

To open system settings, go to Menu > Preferences > System Settings. Some 'Must Change' settings are listed below:

Themes - Change theme preferences (see below)
Screensaver - Change the screensaver and computer lock timing (Never)
Mouse and Touchpad - Set the mouse double click speed (Long) and touchpad scrolling (Reverse)
Power Management - Set the screen timeout, laptop lid and power button behaviour

Theme preferences

Window borders - Mint-X
Icons - Adwaita (or Windows -10-master if you downloaded and added it)
Controls - Mint-X-Blue
Mouse Pointer - DMZ-White (default)
Desktop - Eleganse

Add or remove startup programs

Menu > Preferences > Startup Applications



Removing unwanted software

Software can be removed by opening the terminal (Menu > Administration > Terminal) and entering the following command: sudo apt-get remove
followed by the name of the software. Multiple items of software can be removed at the same time by separating their name with a space as follows:

sudo apt-get remove firefox gimp gnome-calendar hexchat pix rhythmbox simple-scan thunderbird transmission-common xplayer

The above software packages I simply don't need. Remember this is all about personal choice so do whatever you want!



Installing software


Software can be installed by opening the terminal (Menu > Administration > Terminal) 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 as follows:

sudo apt-get install gftp gthumb qshutdown

gthumb is a good basic photo editor (best of the 'available from the repositories' bunch)
gftp is an easy to use FTP client (great for uploading your website to a server)
qshutdown is a timed shutdown utility (great for late night radio listening)




Installing software from other sources

Google Chrome is available for linux if you prefer it over Firefox. It can be downloaded here: https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/

Note: If you keep getting prompted for a password when opening Chrome,  go to Menu > Accessories > Passwords & Keys > right click Login > Change Password > enter your password > Continue > ignore and click through the remaining password prompts

VLC media player is really all you need for media playback. 
In the menu under Sound & Video there is an entry called Install Multimedia Codecs. Clicking on this will also install VLC

XnView MP is probably the best, most user friendly photo editor available for linux. It can be downloaded here: https://www.xnview.com/en/xnviewmp/



Installing a printer

Plug a printer in and go to Menu > Administration > Printers. Highlight your printer and click the + Add button. In the window that opens, select your printer and click Forward > Apply. You can print a test page now if you want



Enable networking

Samba must be installed to network between a Windows PC and Linux. To install samba, open the terminal and enter: sudo apt-get install samba

Samba requires its own password. To set one up, open the terminal and enter sudo smbpasswd -a username (username being your own of course). After being prompted for your system password, you will be asked to enter a New SMB password (this will be your Samba password needed for accessing Linux Mint from another computer). After verifying it again, press 'Enter' on the keyboard and close the terminal

Create a folder in your Home directory called 'Shared' (or whatever) then right click it and select Sharing Options. In the window that opens, set 'Share this folder' to ON. Click Create Share 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 your own of course)



Useful Terminal Commands

Show system information

sudo lshw
or
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)

Gain root access to system folders

WARNING: YOU CAN POTENTIALLY DAMAGE YOUR SYSTEM IF YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING. PLEASE TAKE CARE!

gksu nemo (gksu has to be installed)




Windows style desktop