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 a Windows 10 PC as possible, so I start afresh by removing all the panel items (applets) by right clicking the panel, selecting Modify panel then Clear all applets. The ones you really want can now be added back in. Right click the panel, select Panel edit mode then Add applets to the panel. A panel item can now be added by selecting it, clicking '+', and then dragging it to whereever you want on the panel. The essential ones for me are Menu and Window list (which will be invisible until a window is opened) on the left and Power Manager (only for laptop installs), Network ManagerSound and Calendar on the right (in that order)

Don't forget to switch panel edit mode off when finshed

Note: The window list may want to stay at the right of the panel. A little trick is to drag it to the far left (past the menu) and it will stay. Then drag the menu back to its original far left position

To change the panel height, right click it and select Panel settings (I like 30)

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

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

Create desktop shortcuts to files and folders

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

Another method is to click a file or folder once to highlight it (but don't open it), go to the Edit menu and select Make Link. A link will be created that can be dragged to the desktop (I don't like this as much as the Ctrl+Shift method as it has the words 'Link to' in front of the name)

Choose what items are shown in the menu

Right click the menu icon > Configure > Menu tab > Open the menu editor

Of course it's down to personal choice but Items I prefer hidden are:

Graphics > unmark Pix Image Viewer and
Simple Scan
Internet > unmark HexChat, Thunderbird Mail and Transmission BitTorrent Client
Office > unmark Calendar
Sound & Video > unmark Media Player and Rhythmbox Music Player
Universal Access > unmark

Installing new fonts

In your home directory, create a folder called .fonts and drag your fonts into it. The fonts will be available to select in all applications

Installing custom desktop icons (.ico format)

In your home directory, create a folder called .icons and drag your custom icons into it. To change a desktop icon, right click it, select Properties 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, extract the contents and place it in the previously created .icons folder. The icons will be available to select by going to Menu > Preferences > Themes  > Icons

Windows 10 style system icons can be downloaded here

Installing new themes

In your home directory, create a folder called .themes. Download a theme package, extract the contents and place it in the .themes folder. The themes will be available to select by going to Menu > Preferences > Themes > Desktop

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

More Linux Mint themes can be downloade here

Installing custom wallpaper

In your home directory, create a folder called .wallpaper and drag your custom wallpapers into it. Right click any wallpaper image you want to use and select Set as Wallpaper
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. It's handy to have a shortcut to it on the desktop

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

Themes - Change theme preferences (see below)
Privacy - Set the option to keep or remove recent history

Screensaver - Change the screensaver and computer lock timing
Mouse and Touchpad - Set the mouse double click speed and touchpad scrolling
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 - Adwaita or Mint-X-Blue
Mouse Pointer - DMZ-White (default)
Desktop - Eleganse (I highly recommend to download and install)

Add or remove startup programs

Menu > Preferences > Startup Applications (I like to turn off and remove everything but have Chrome start automatically)

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

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

Some software I like to have is:

sudo apt-get install gftp puddletag qshutdown

gftp is an easy to use FTP client (great for uploading your website to a server)
puddletag is an MP3 tag edtor (a Linux version of the excellent Mp3tag in Windows)
is a timed shutdown utility (ideal for late night radio listening)

Installing software from other sources

AnyDesk is a remote access utility (great for sorting out family member's computers). It can be downloaded here: https://anydesk.com/en
A .deb package will be downloaded. It looks like a zipped folder but don't extract it just double click it to install

EncryptPad is a secure passworded cross platform text editor. It can be downloaded here: https://evpo.net/encryptpad/
The website will tell you to add a new PPA. Paste the following code into the terminal one line at a time to install EncryptPad:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nilarimogard/webupd8
sudo apt update
sudo apt install encryptpad encryptcli

Google Chrome is available for linux if you prefer it over Firefox. It can be downloaded here: https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/
A .deb package will be downloaded. It looks like a zipped folder but don't extract it just double click it to install

If after installing Chrome you no longer want Firefox, open the terminal and run sudo apt-get remove firefox

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 and following the prompts also installs VLC. If you selected the third party software option during install, VLC will already be installed

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/
A .deb package will be downloaded. It looks like a zipped folder but don't extract it just double click it to install

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 (there may be a delay while it searches for drivers) > Apply > You can now 'Print Test Page'

Create a password protected folder

Right click and select Create New Folder (and give it a name) > right click the new folder and select Compress > in the window that opens, choose .7z from the drop down box > expand Other Options >
enter a Password > check Encrypt the file list too > click Create

A new zipped folder will be created (the unzipped original can be deleted). Now when the folder is double clicked, a password will be required to open it

Quirks: When the folder is opened there will be another folder inside with the same name which if deleted, also removes the password you've just created. This isn't really an issue though, because once you start adding files and folders to the encrypted folder, you will be able to delete the 'Ghost' folder without affecting the password

Useful Tips

If you get prompted by the 'Do you want to run "whatever", or display its contents?' pop up box when you just want something to run normally (this happened to me when trying to run a .m3u file), open any system window, go to Edit > Preferences > in the left side menu select Behaviour > under the Executable Text Files item select View executable text files when they are opened

If you come across something in the main menu called Software Sources, don't be tempted to play around in the Maintenance section. I did and it screwed the system up!

Useful 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

sudo shutdown -h +30 (shutdown in 30 minutes or change time to whatever you want)
sudo shutdown -h 08:00 (shutdown at 08:00
or change time to whatever you want)
sudo shutdown -c (shutdown cancel)

sudo poweroff (shutdown)
systemctl suspend (suspend)

To make a command easily clickable, paste it into a text file and then save it with a suitable name (Shutdown in 30 for example)
. If you prefer not to have to enter a password each time, simply remove the word 'sudo'. Right click the file and select Properties and then the Permissions tab. Finally, check the Allow executing file as program box and then Close. Now when the file is double clicked you will be presented with some options to which you should choose Run in Terminal

Windows style desktop