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Old 17th February 2015, 09:14   #1 (permalink)
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Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

I believe a couple of members have downloaded & possibly installed Linux Mint XFCE.
As I am well versed with both Mint and Ubuntu XFCE desktop environments I though I would offer the benefit of my experience to anyone who may be interested.

As this introduction to one of Linux finest operating systems will be somewhat lengthy and detailed I intend to break forum etiquette and double, triple post. I feel it will help with clarity to do so in this instance.

If any experienced Linux users think I have missed anything important or (Heaven forbid) got something wrong please feel free to jump in and put me right.

Naturally I am happy to answer any questions or clarify things along the way.

So lets get started . . . . . .
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Old 17th February 2015, 09:25   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Linux Mint XFCE - Install & Setup
So you have downloaded Mint XFCE Lets get it installed and setup well.

Download the User Guide for reference.
Unfortunately the XFCE one is only available in Hungarian at this time but the Mate and Cinnamon versions are close enough. Here is a direct link to download the Mate User Guide http://www.linuxmint.com/documentati...glish_17.1.pdf

Burn the ISO to a DVD or flash drive.
Instructions on how to do this are in the User Guide Page 9.

I would suggest before doing the actual install you boot up from the DVD or flash drive you have burnt the ISO on, doing this allows you to ensure all the hardware on your PC will work without the need for additional drivers and you can also get your internet connection going, this is needed for install.
Boot from the LiveDVD or flash drive.
User Guide Page 11.

Connect to the internet.
If you usually connect using a cable to your router all you should need to do is plug it in, if you use wireless you will need to setup your connection with your Password. Assuming Mint has detected your wireless card all you should need to do is setup your connection.
The image on this page http://www.linuxmint.com/pictures/sc...becca/xfce.png shows you the default desktop. Look at the bottom right, you will see a connection icon next to a volume and clock. Click the icon and you should see your routers name, click it & enter your password. You are now connected to the internet.

Install Mint
User Guide Page 12.
This method is pretty much the same for most flavours of Linux.

After you have had a play with the LiveCD it is time to install.
Double click the icon on the desktop which says “Install Linux Mint”
Do not remove the DVD or flash drive.
The system will walk you through the installation process, it is fast and easy.
If during the install you have the option to install updates tick the check-box it will save doing it later.

After the install is finished you will be prompted to remove the DVD from the drive and press Enter. There is a bug in this action on some machines, if nothing happens after pressing enter don't worry the install is ok, just press & hold the power button on your PC to force a shutdown and then boot up again.
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Old 17th February 2015, 09:29   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Now lets make it look good
If you are happy with the way it looks out of the box that's fine but we can do some customisations to improve things if we want. XFCE is sooo customisable your imagination is the only limitation.

Desktop Settings - Lets change a few things.
There are several ways to access settings for the desktop and other settings in general. Lets use the “Right Click” method this time.
Right click on a blank area of the desktop.
From the dropdown menu select “Desktop Settings”.
In the window that opens you have 3 tabs.
Background
Here you can choose from several desktop wallpapers or any solid colour you wish. If you have an image you wish to use you can either navigate to it from here or locate the file using the file manager right click the file and select “Set as wallpaper”.
Menus
The defaults are quite acceptable here but make changes if you wish.
Icons
Adjust the size of desktop icons and the tooltip text that accompanies them.
Choose single or double click to activate icons (my preference is single).
Default Icons – What icons appear on the desktop by default. I would leave these for now, later we can get rid of all of them if we setup one or more additional panels.
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Old 17th February 2015, 09:32   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

The Whisker Menu and Applications Menu
These are menus that contain links to apps and other places, a bit like Windows Start Menu. I suggest using the default “Whisker Menu” it is more customisable.

You have many options to customise the Whisker Menu.
Right click on the icon and select “Properties”.
Under the “Appearance” tab you can change several things, check them out.
The “Behaviour” tab has 3 options at the top which may be of interest.
I would leave the other options here and the “Search Options” tab as they are unless you have specific requirements.

Now lets look at customising items in the menu itself.
Click on the Whisker Menu.
Favourites should display by default.
If there are any items you don't want here just right click and select “Remove from favourites”, don't worry you are not deleting anything, they will still be in the menu under their respective categories.
Look through the various categories and add any you want to Favourites by right clicking and choosing the option. In the same way you can add any to the Desktop or a Panel.
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Old 17th February 2015, 09:41   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Panels
Panels contain launchers for apps and other actions. The bar across the bottom of your screen is a Panel, they can be any length, height or width, horizontal or vertical, any position around your screen, any colour or design, transparent or semi- transparent, automatically show & hide if desired and can contain one-click launchers for any apps etc. you wish. Panel launchers are so handy for access to your regularly used apps and items. Here's a screenshot of a personalised version of mine http://www.akbukturkey.com/top/linux/xubuntu.jpg (see the panels to the left & right).

Lets set up a new panel.
We can do this from either the Whisker Menu, the Settings Manager or by right clicking a blank area of an existing panel. This time we will use the Whisker Menu.
Open the Whisker Menu.
In the “Settings” category select “Panel”. A window will open (see attachment below).
By default your existing panel settings will be displayed, we don't want that and there are no other panels to select yet so click on the + sign next to the box that says Panel 1.
A new little panel will appear on your screen and it will be automatically selected.
You have 3 tabs.
Display
Lets make this one vertical just for the hell of it. Select that option.
The other options here are self explanatory, experiment with them to your satisfaction, if you set height at 100% you will need to reduce the length of your bottom panel or they will overlap. I like my side panels to be 46 pixels wide, single row, not automatically hide or increase length.
Appearance
Choose your style (3 options).
Items
To add an item click on the + sign. A new window will open.
Look at the options. Lets add a Wastebasket Applet. Select it & click add. (Note by adding access to the rubbish bin from a panel we can dispense with the desktop icon, see “Desktop Settings” previously covered).
Now how about a “Dictionary” always handy, add that.
Time for a “Launcher”, a Launcher fires up whatever app or apps you assign to it. Add a few of those we will assign them shortly.
Maybe you want to space or separate one more of your icons, if so add a separator or two (we will return to these in a minute.
OK now close that window and back to the Panel window.
You will see all the items you have just added.
Click on one, move it up or down with the arrows.
Separators can be expanded to fill empty spaces (see image in web link above), double click the item or use the “Edit” button at the side.
Many items have customisable options, use the “Edit” button or double click the item to see.
Select one of the “Launchers”. Editing this opens a new window where you can add your app.
Click the + in the new window. Yet another window will open where you can choose the app you want to assign to this launcher, use the search box if you know the name.
Add the app,
The window will close and you will be back to the last window. You have more options here if you want to use them, such as choosing a specific icon or the text comment that appears when you hover over the icon.
When you are done close the “Add New Items” window.
The Panel you have just created can be moved around your screen by grabbing the top or bottom and dragging.
Items can be edited or moved by right clicking and selecting the option, in the same way you can move items between different panels.
Finally return to the still open Panel window and tick “Lock Panel” under the “Display” tab.

Voilà, you have created a fast launch panel. To remove the panel right click a blank area & select Panel Preferences or use the main menu. The red X at the side of the panel number will delete it.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg panel.jpg (8.9 KB, 5 views)
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Old 17th February 2015, 09:50   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Main Settings
I won't attempt to go through all of these there are just too many but I will refer to some as we proceed. You can get to the main settings via an icon link at the bottom or top of the Whisker Menu (depending how you have previously chosen the layout) or by the link you placed in one of your panels (if you chose to add such a link).

Go to the Settings and have a look around, you can change sooo much in here. window layouts and colours.
Themes.
Text sizes.
Icon themes.
Notification displays.
Preferred default applications.
Mouse, Keyboard and Touchpad settings.
Display.
Screen Savers and Power Management.
And much more.

Windows users might equate this area to their Control Panel.

There are a few other items whose settings are accessed via the Whisker Menu. I think that was a bit of laziness on the developers part and they should have been included in this area. Oh well, maybe in the next release.
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Old 17th February 2015, 10:12   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Customise Your Apps
Many apps can be customised for ease of use, for example the default text editor known as “gEdit”.

Launch gEdit.
From the top toolbar click “Edit”.
Select “Preferences”.
Try a different Theme under “Font & Colours”.
Enjoy!

The famous Linux Terminal
What can you do with a Terminal? The answer is everything.

Many new users find the Terminal somewhat daunting or frightening but it is a great asset and can be a big time saver. Most things can be done the GUI way but the Terminal is often faster & easier. A good user will always have a one click link to open a Terminal, launch one and customise the look and font if you like (I like a solid black background).

We will use the Terminal later when we come to some special tweaks but for now try this simple test.
Launch a Terminal.
Type in the name of any app you have installed eg gedit
Hit Enter – gedit will launch.

The Terminal is also a convenient way to add or remove software, access and alter things which require elevated permission, purge things from the system and in some cases get you out the pooh.

Quite often copying & pasting scripts or commands off the internet into a Terminal can be a great help, even if you don't understand what it means.
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Old 17th February 2015, 10:20   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Things to do after installation
Now you've got it looking great we should make a few alterations for best functions, performance and security.

Firewall
Mint has a firewall pre-installed but it is not turned on by default. We will do this now the GUI way at the same time introducing the Software Centre.
Open the Software Manager (find it in the Whisker Menu). Because we will be making changes to the system you will be asked for your password.
In the search box type gufw and press enter.
Double-click on the search result.
You will see the app (see attachment gufw1 below).
Click Install.
Congratulations you have just learned how to install software in Linux Mint and Ubuntu.
To remove an app the install button would change to “Remove”.

What you have just installed is not a Firewall because as I said Mint already has one, this is a GUI to use it. This job could easily be done without this GUI but for the sake of ease of use in the future we are doing it this way.

Close the Software Manager.
Go to your main settings or select Firewall Configurations from the Whisker Menu.
You will be asked for your password.
In the window that opens all you need to do is turn it on (see attachment gufw2). The pre-configured settings are ok for most users, unless you have special requirements from the firewall don't change anything else.

In addition to the Software Manager apps can also be installed & removed via the Terminal or a powerful feature called Synaptic Package Manager.

Other important things to do or consider
in this section I can take a breather and point you to a web page where someone has already done a fine job of guiding readers through what I consider to be important and worthwhile tweaks and advice. Bookmark the page and deal with the issues mentioned except Firewall because we have just done that.
https://sites.google.com/site/easylinuxtipsproject/8
If you have any problems with following anything on the web page post back here.

I will be back later with some of my special tips and advice.

Pheeew!
Attached Images
File Type: jpg gufw1.jpg (15.5 KB, 4 views)
File Type: jpg gufw2.jpg (9.2 KB, 4 views)
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Old 17th February 2015, 21:21   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Lets start to make our new system more usable
What do we need?
Some of our existing files from our old system would be a good start and how about any music & video files we have.

Windows can't read Linux partitions and drives without special software but Linux can read Windows (and Mac). This makes importing your folders and files easy. If when you installed Mint you chose to install it along side Windows all you have to do is open your File Manager and you will see the drive listed. You will need to “Mount” the drive before you can get in there, but good news, Mint File Manager does that automatically if you click on the drive you want to access (see attached image). If you access another drive or partition via a “Places Applet” you will need to right click and “Mount” or “Mount & Open”.

Now you can navigate your Windows folders and files & copy over what you wish. The procedure for copying data from an external hard drive or memory stick is pretty much the same, when you plug it in it should auto mount unless you have set it to do otherwise.

Do you need Bluetooth?
In this version support for Bluetooth is not present by default. Fortunately we can fix that in a flash.
Use the Software Manager to install “Blueman” or if you fancy using a Terminal open one up and use this command sudo apt-get install blueman
Every time you boot up Blueman will start and sit quietly in the System Tray until you need it. Unless you choose to disable it from Startup.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg partitions.jpg (20.1 KB, 3 views)
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Old 17th February 2015, 21:35   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Linux Mint XFCE – Install & Setup

Playing music and videos
Your new Mint XFCE comes with VLC Player pre-installed and will play virtually everything you throw at it. Unfortunately also pre-installed is another media player called “Totem” (refereed to in the menus as “Videos”) and this is a pile of poo. You also have a default music player/organiser called “Banshee” but this should have been removed if you followed the instructions to remove Mono on the web page I gave you earlier. Either way lets say you want all your music and videos to open with VLC by default . . . .

Here's How.
If you open a music or video file and it does not use the player you want, close it again.
Right click on the file and select “Open with”.
Ignore the option to click on “VLC Player instead chose the bottom option which is “Open With Other Application”.
A little window will open and you will see VLC Player listed (see attached image).
But note the tick at bottom where it says “Use as default for this kind of file”.
If you leave that checked files with the same extension will open with that app in the future.
So every time a file does not open with your preferred application you now know how to change it.

Note: There is faster more direct way of achieving this by hacking the mime types but if you are still reading this I am guessing you are not as experienced as me and I don't want you to come back & blame me for something you might screw up, so I am playing safe on this one. Enjoy your music & videos.

A quick word about software
If you don't like a particular application or you fancy trying something else, go for it. I am currently seeing 719,910 packages in my Software Centre, almost all are free, safe and available at the click of one button. There must be something in there to do whatever. You have easy access to all of the best (and worst) free “Open Source” software on the planet. Take advantage, I do!
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