Linux Mint Tips & Tricks & Tutorials  

Find the latest & greatest or even the smallest but most useful Linux Mint Tips & Tricks here.
Also find fixes, work-arounds and links to tutorials, how-to guides, reference information and documentation.

Many of these tips come from folks in the Mint Community and may or may not work for your computer setup.
Please use caution.

All tips are in one of two main categories: Official (mostly from Clem) and Community. A few tips are in both categories.
To allow fine-tune control, turn off the two main categories, and turn on only the categories you want.

From Official Community   
     
DE Cinnamon MATE Xfce KDE
     
Version LM 17 LM 17.3 LM 18 LM 18.1
  LM LMDE   
     
Detail boot codec bluetooth, blueberry, blueman
  docs font hardware, kernel, firmware
  keyboard language printers, scanners
  monitor mouse security, encryption, password
  network reference software, installer, artwork, backgrounds
  sound swap video drivers
  touchpad tutorial windows, WM, DE

Tips


Installer Needs Minimum 10.7 GB Virtual Disk Size

Install with Separate /home Partition

How to Reinstall/Configure/Remove Samba

Reinstall Samba
Blog comment dated July 7th, 2016 at 8:54 am

Configure Samba
Blog comment dated June 24th, 2016 at 10:50 am

Remove Samba as a Fix for auto-login
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 22nd, 2016 at 12:11 pm
apt remove –purge samba

Does LM Fork Ubiquity?

LM patches Ubiquity installer every 2 years.
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 15th, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Mint Backgrounds

Mint backgrounds are found in the repositories using:
apt search mint-backgrounds
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 10th, 2016 at 5:18 pm

Install all the Mint backgrounds with:
apt install mint-backgrounds*a
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 22nd, 2016 at 4:27 pm

See also the directory:
/usr/share/backgrounds

Is LM Considering New Technology Like Flatpack, Snappy, and Wayland?

Yes, LM is keeping a close watch on Flatpack and Snappy.
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 3rd, 2016 at 9:20 am
LM is watching Wayland and Snappy development, but they are not going into LM at this point.
Comment by Clem Apr 26,2016 10:18
Comment by Clem Apr 26,2016 10:32

MintBox Mini Pro

The MintBox Mini Pro is small, silent, low-power and cute.
Edit by Clem to comment dated September 28th, 2016 at 5:21 pm

If you want high performance, silent operation and a small form-factor, check out:
CompuLab Airtop

Skylake Overloads Log Files

Work-around for Skylake Overloads Log Files
See also Freezes/Crashes with ASRock Skylake motherboards section of:
Release Notes for Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon

What’s a Box Pointer?

“It’s the pointy shape coming out of the border of an applet/desklet menu.”
Edit by Clem to comment dated October 29th, 2016 at 11:20 pm

Dashed Lines on Top and Bottom of Window

How Do I Configure the MDM Login Screen for Multiple Monitors?

Disable Overlay Scrollbars

Disable overlay scrollbars in System Settings | Effects.
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 10th, 2016 at 6:09 pm

The Goal of the Cinnamon Project

The Cinnamon release cycle is designed to release a new version of the DE roughly a month before a Linux Mint release.
Comment by Clem May 16,2016 20:50

Cinnamon 2.2 Adds Full Support for GTK Client Side Decorations (CSD)

Does Blanking Other Monitors Save Power?

No, blanking other monitors is “not meant as a power-saving feature.”
Comment by Clem Oct 1,2016 11:22

Subscribe to RSS Feed for MATE Releases

How to Enable the Battery Monitor Icon
Why Isn’t the Battery Monitor Icon Enabled by Default in Xfce?
See Main Menu | Control Center | Hardware section | Power Management | General tab
Edit by Clem to comment dated July 20th, 2016 at 7:13 pm

Betsy Will Always Use Jessie

“Betsy will always use Debian Jessie…whether Jessie is at testing, stable or oldstable stage.”
Edit by Clem to comment dated March 19th, 2015 at 5:07 am

LMDE Historical Dates

LMDE had its start with an Alpha version in November–December 2007.

LMDE 1, based on Debian Testing, was released September 7, 2010.

Update Packs (UPs) became the standard way to upgrade it on July 5, 2011.

LMDE UPs went into Incoming [101] UPDATE PACK 1 FEEDBACK THREAD for testing, then to Latest for release.

UP Incoming Latest
UP1 T1107.05 [102] Date listed in Update Pack Info in Update Manager T1107.05, W1107.06 or not promoted to Latest [103] UPDATE PACK 1 FEEDBACK THREAD — Forum Comment by Clem Wed Jul 06, 2011 6:27 am
UP2 R1107.21 [102] Date listed in Update Pack Info in Update Manager N1107.24 [104] UPDATE PACK 2 FEEDBACK THREAD — Forum Comment by Clem Sun Jul 24, 2011 4:06 am
UP3 T1108.30 [102] Date listed in Update Pack Info in Update Manager W1109.28 [105] UPDATE PACK 3 FEEDBACK THREAD — Forum Comment by Clem Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:17 pm
UP4 R1202.23 R1204.05 [102] Date listed in Update Pack Info in Update Manager [106] Update Pack 4 is out!
UP5 T1207.31 M1209.17 [102] Date listed in Update Pack Info in Update Manager [107] LMDE Update Pack 5
UP6 F1212.07 W1212.19 [102] Date listed in Update Pack Info in Update Manager [108] LMDE Update Pack 6
UP7 W1309.04 M1309.23 [102] Date listed in Update Pack Info in Update Manager [109] LMDE Update Pack 7
UP8 M1401.13 T1402.04 [102] Date listed in Update Pack Info in Update Manager [110] LMDE Update Pack 8

On May 27th, 2015, Clem announced LMDE 1 will reach EOL on January 1st 2016.

LMDE 2 — Betsy was released April 10th, 2015. LMDE 2 is now based on Debian Stable.

All About Debian Releases — Stable, Testing, Unstable, Versions, Names

How Many Panels per Monitor in Cinnamon?

Cinnamon allows up to 4 panels per monitor.
Comment by Clem Oct 2,2016 09:57

New Indicator Library for LM 18.1

MATE Moved to GTK+3

MATE moved to GTK+3 starting with MATE 1.16 which was released on September 21, 2016.
Edit by Clem to comment dated May 11th, 2016 at 5:54 am
MATE 1.16 released

Is Work Being Done on Input Methods?

Will We Be Able to Choose Different Colors in the Mint-Y Theme?

Why Are Some Recent kernels Not Available via the Update Manager?

The LM 18.x LTS branch uses kernel series 4.4. Some kernel series, like 4.8, are supported for only a few months and do not have certain hardware support. It takes time for a new kernel series to gain driver compatibility.
(French) Edit by Clem to comment dated December 6th, 2016 at 3:15 pm

VMWare Rendering Issue

Workaround for VMWare rendering issue for Cinnamon 3.x with LM 18 on a Mac.
Edit by Clem to comment dated October 28th, 2016 at 3:33 pm

KDE Plasma 5 Updates

KDE Plasma 5 updates are released as continuous updates.
Edit by Clem to comment dated September 9th, 2016 at 12:43 pm
LM 18.1 KDE will use the Kubuntu version.
Edit by Clem to comment dated November 13th, 2016 at 1:42 pm

Will Fixes from Ubuntu 16.04.1 Get into Mint 18.x?

Fixes from Ubuntu 16.04.1 are already included in Mint 18.
Edit by Clem to comment dated August 3rd, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Does Upgrade Change kernel?

Upgrade to 18 installs kernel 4.4 but doesn’t remove your current kernel.
Edit by Clem to comment dated July 14th, 2016 at 5:44 pm

Turn Screensaver Off While Watching Fullscreen Videos

Using Compiz, Some WM Features Don’t Work

Choosing Move to Workspace Right doesn’t move window.
Use the Marco window manager for this feature.
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 12th, 2016 at 11:02 pm

Reverse Scrolling is Enabled on Touchpads in Mint 18

Will You Port cinnamon-bluetooth to MATE?

“Going forward we’ll use Blueberry (in Mint 18). In the meantime, no, I’m sorry, the alternative is blueman.”
Segfault comment by Clem dated Nov 7,2015 12:23
“Blueberry could be given a cinnamon applet.”
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 10th, 2016 at 4:26 am

Why X-Apps?
Are They Optional?
What Software Do They Replace?
Why X-Apps?
The first two X-Apps are ready
Plus see comments by Clem and plata.

X-Apps don’t need to be adopted by any other distribution to succeed. They’re already succeeding.
Comment by Clem Sep 30,2016 18:52

They are optional on LMDE. The software they replace includes ”totem, gthumb, eog, eom, pluma, gedit, atril and evince. To some extent we also consider MDM, blueberry and nvidia-prime-applet xapps.”
Edit by Clem to comment dated November 13th, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Mint is Based on Ubuntu

Clem explains how Mint is based on Ubuntu which is based on Debian:
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 12th, 2016 at 6:37 pm

Upgrades Take More Space Than Clean Installs
How to Regain HD Space After Upgrade
apt clean
and
apt autoremove
But be careful with the latter; review the list of packages before confirming the command.
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 3rd, 2016 at 5:31 pm

LM KDE 17.3 Can Not Be Upgraded to 18

LM KDE 17.3 can not be upgraded to 18 since KDE Plasma 5 is considered a different desktop than KDE 4, so LM KDE 18 requires a fresh installation.
Edit by Clem to comment dated September 12th, 2016 at 8:16 am
Edit by Clem to comment dated September 12th, 2016 at 10:07 am
Edit by Clem to comment dated July 15th, 2016 at 9:16 am

Does the Swap Get Encrypted?

When using the installation option to encrypt, a work-around to an upstream issue in LM 17.3 required that the swap not be encrypted. LM 18 now encrypts the swap.
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 18th, 2016 at 7:17 pm

Building xed

Basic steps to build xed in, e.g., Mint 17:
Comment by Clem Oct 19,2016 11:15

Getting Cinnamon 3.0 in LM 17.x

Cinnamon 3.0 is compatible with 17.x, but Cinnamon 3.2 won’t be.
Comment by Clem Apr 26,2016 10:11

Cinnamon 3.0 will not come to LM 17.3.
Comment by Clem Apr 26,2016 10:14

However, here are the basic steps to build Cinnamon 3.0 in LM 17.3:
Comment by Clem Apr 26,2016 10:16
gwendal's PPA:
Comment by Clem Apr 27,2016 10:18
Comment by Clem Apr 27,2016 10:20
Be sure to note Clem’s warnings if you try this.

Where Can I Find Documentation for Command Line Commands?

Try:
info command
or:
man command
or online at:
The Linux man-pages project

When Locking the Screen, Mouse Pointer Disappears

Are These Start-Up Errors Preventing Me from Logging in?

initctl:Unable to connect to Upstart: failed to connect to socket /com/ubuntu/upstart: Connection refused
mdm(2463): Glib-CRITICAL: g_key_file_free: assertion ‘key_file!=NULL’ failed.

No, these are fine.
Edit by Clem to comment dated July 16th, 2016 at 12:35 am
Edit by Clem to comment dated July 16th, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Long Boot Time

Try tracking the cause with:
systemd-analyze blame
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 21st, 2016 at 11:45 pm
Or troubleshoot with:
systemd-analyze critical-chain
Edit by Clem to comment dated December 12th, 2016 at 3:54 am

What Are the Different Ways to Install the Codecs?
How Do I Install the Codecs from the Command Line?
How Do I Install the Codecs Offline?
You can install them from the following: Edit by Clem to comment dated June 3rd, 2016 at 2:51 pm
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 4th, 2016 at 9:38 am
Edit by Clem to comment dated July 1st, 2016 at 8:56 pm

Installing Multimedia Codecs Offline

Look in
Tips | Installing multimedia codecs offline
in one of these:

Codec Rationale

Why are the codecs set up the way they are in LM 18?
Edit by Clem to comment dated June 3rd, 2016 at 2:58 am

Why Sponsorship Minimums?

To stop spamming and because of PayPal fees.
Edit by Clem to comment dated October 30th, 2016 at 11:28 am

How Do I Install the OEM Version?

Choose the OEM option in the boot menu of the Live ISO.
Edit by Clem to comment dated May 9th, 2016 at 12:24 pm

How to Mirror Linux Mint

Subscribe to Linux Mint Blog RSS Feed

Lenovo Thinkpad Keyboard Light and Screen Brightness Resets to Maximum

With every reboot, keyboard light comes on at maximum until I switch it off. Manual setting is not preserved.
With every reboot, the screen brightness also resets to maximum, and I have to manually adjust it down.

Check the values for org.mate.power-manager kbd-brightness-on-ac and org.mate.power-manager brightness-ac.
Edit by Clem to comment dated December 12th, 2016 at 8:11 am

Debugging System Menu

Menu editor crashes randomly.

Run it from the command line to see why it crashes:
cinnamon-menu-editor
Edit by Clem to comment dated December 7th, 2016 at 11:32 pm

Downgrade Foreign Packages

How to Downgrade Foreign Packages, e.g., if you updated before removing the Landing PPA (for testing KDE 5.8.4).

Once you removed the Landing PPA and refreshed the APT cache, you can go to Software Sources, click on the maintenance tab, and from there you can Downgrade Foreign Packages.
Edit by Clem to comment dated December 23rd, 2016 at 9:15 am

Mint-Y Won’t Be in LMDE

Mint-Y won’t be in LMDE since it’s tied to GTK 3.18 in LM 18.x. LMDE 2 uses GTK 3.14.
Edit by Clem to comment dated December 16th, 2016 at 3:26 am

LMDE 3 and systemd

It’s very likely LMDE 3 will switch to systemd.
Edit by Clem to comment dated April 14th, 2015 at 5:37 am

Which init System Does Linux Mint Use?

Linux Mint 17.x and LMDE 2 use sysvinit (with upstart in Mint), consolekit and logind.
Linux Mint 18.x uses systemd.
It’s very likely LMDE 3 will switch to systemd.
Edit by Clem to comment dated April 14th, 2015 at 5:37 am

Update (to LM 18.1) Option is Not Showing in Mint Update Manager

The update option is not showing in Mint Update Manager 5.1.0.3 on Mint MATE 18.

You need to update both mintupdate and mint-upgrade-info and make sure your edition of Mint 18 is Cinnamon or MATE. (This is specified in /etc/linuxmint/info.)
Edit by Clem to comment dated December 18th, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Debugging Cinnamon-Settings-Daemon Plugins

CLI Upgrade LM 18 to 18.1

More than just an upgrade from LM 18 to 18.1, this command line procedure will apply all available updates as well, including kernel changes.
Edit by Clem to comment dated December 20th, 2016 at 2:57 am

LM 18.1 Upgrade Error Processing Package install-info

Random Freezes After Upgrade

Remove all 3rd party extensions and applets.
Edit by Clem to comment dated December 21st, 2016 at 10:03 pm

No Personal Data is Collected; No “Ring Home” for Counting Done

History of APT Events in /var/log/apt/history.log

Fixing Security Bugs Over 5 Year Support Period

Kernel Update Info

Have certain kernel vulnerabilites been patched?
Should I advise people to upgrade the kernel?
Should one kernel be removed once another kernel is active?
Edit by Clem to comment dated December 29th, 2016 at 4:19 pm
Edit by Clem to comment dated December 29th, 2016 at 9:34 pm
Edit by Clem to comment dated December 29th, 2016 at 9:39 pm

Debug cinnamon-screensaver with cinnamon-screensaver –debug

Backport Repo for Debian Stable Kernels

Debian maintainers don’t push new upstream kernel versions to the stable release of Debian, but there is a separate backports repo where you can get them.
Link to Debian Backports
Debian Backports

github Tutorial (Starting Guide for Writing Cinnamon Spices)

Installing Only Security Related Updates

Difference Between Level 1 and Level 2 Updates

Fix When Liferea Appears Not to Start

Liferea probably started minimized. To get Liferea to start non-minimized, use:
liferea -w shown
Liferea Appears Not to Start
Why Doesn’t Liferea Start Anymore

Low Speed When Downloading Through Steam

Issues with kernels 4.4.0-28 or 4.4.0-31 on a Dell Inspiron 1545 Laptop

Logitech H360 USB Headset Microphone

Disks Are Not Spinning Down After Sleep

Atheros Wifi Firmware Did Not Load on Acer Laptop

ACPI Backlight

Fix for Thick Black Borders Around GTK3 and CSD Apps When Using Compiz

Dropbox Icon Does Not Show in Top Panel

Screen Tearing with HD-Graphics 4600

Video Tearing with i915 Driver

Screen Tearing on Sony VAIO Laptop

Using an Additional Monitor as the Main Screen on a Laptop

Cinnamon Panels Disappear Using Kodi with 2 Monitors

How to Base the KDE Repositories on Neon

Basing the KDE repositories on Neon rather than Kubuntu backports:
Using the Additional Repositories Tab
Pin the “base-files” Package

Sleep Problems in Cinnamon on Macbook

Do Horizontal or Vertical Panels Gets Priority in Cinnamon?

A horizontal panel gets priority over a vertical panel and will extend the full horizontal width of the screen.
Panel Priority in Cinnamon

Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon on a 8GB Pendrive

Fix for Speakers Starting Muted

sudo dpkg-reconfigure alsa-base
Fix for Speakers Starting Muted

Scrollbars with Top and Bottom Arrows

Cinnamon Takes Longer to Boot

Suspend on Inspiron Laptop

Inkscape Tutorials

Brother Scanner Not Working

Can Not Install Epson XP-415 Printer Driver

Fix for Mouse Cursor Disappearing After Switching Users with 2 Users Logged in

Fix for Kodi Responding Erratically

Getting VLC Files from NAS

No Internet Connection with Sphairon DSL Modem

Install Another Language as the Default Dictionary

Broken Locale When Adding PPA

Fix for Headphones Not Working After Suspend

No Input Sound with Skype

Une Documentation en Français pour Installer et Paramétrer Linux Mint MATE 18
French Documentation for Installation and Configuration

Why the Linux Mint Index Exists

Here is one reason why the Linux Mint Index (that you are using now) exists.
The commentor said a resource on one of the Linux Mint websites is “a good resource, but it is kinda hard to find (without a link) even when you know it exists.“
Why the Linux Mint Index Exists

Among other things, LMI helps to:
find LM blog posts quickly, compare information among different LM versions,
see all the major links into the various LM sites, and provide a full LM FAQ.

Hotkey for Save All in Pluma, xed and gedit

Use Shift-Ctrl-L to Save All the open files when using Pluma, xed or gedit. Note, however, that all files are saved even if they have not been changed.

How-to: cat Listing with Filename Header

How to Find Link Targets

How to Create a Numbered Line (Ruler) on the Command Line

SSD & HDD with /var and /tmp Partitions

How Much Swap Space Do I Need for My Desktop?

Some people consider swap space obsolete on a modern system with a lot of RAM (4-8+ Gigs). [118] Desktop with 8GB RAM Will Never Use Swap [119] With 16 Gigs RAM, You Don’t Need Swap Unless You Hibernate [120] With 4+ Gigs RAM, Swap is Useless Unless You Hibernate And with a lot of RAM (even 4 Gigs), swap on Linux is rarely, if ever, utilized. For other systems, swap space is essential for a properly tuned, efficient system.

If you want to hybernate (also called suspend-to-disk), then have a swap partition the same size as your RAM (or just a little bigger). This is usually the case for laptops. Simply putting the computer into a standby state (also called sleep or suspend-to-RAM) does not use swap. [121] ACPI — Advanced Configuration and Power Interface — Power states

Otherwise, consider the following limits for swap space:
  • Have swap space equal to your RAM, maybe just a little more.
  • Have at most 2 Gig. A normal desktop should not need more than this.
  • Have at least 256 Meg.

Creating Secure Passwords

  • Use random passwords. Remember that password crackers know all the tricks; do not use any tricks to construct your password.
  • Use a different password for each use or website. Never reuse passwords.
  • Use passwords with uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Use a password at least 13 characters long (15+ characters is better, more is better).
  • Change your passwords every 3-12 months for frequently used sites or important use cases.
  • If you use random words (such as from Diceware), use at least 7 words.
  • Remember that cracking techniques get better all the time, so increase your security every year.
  • Remember that passwords are just one aspect of security. Do some research. Use common sense. You do not have to be a security expert to do these things. It is worth a little of your time.
See:

Reenabling Wireless

Reenabling Wireless
systemctl restart network-manager

Network Link Starts Without Crashing Nemo

Install Codecs After LM Install to Use Quicker, Local Server

A Different Opinion Than “Don’t Upgrade Unless You Have a Reason”

Fix Krusader 2.4.0-beta3 “Can't Clear New Directory” Bug with PPA

Practical Desktop Security Explained

Keyboard Issue with Acer Laptop

UEFI Tutorial

Displaying Seconds on Clock to Use as a Stop-Watch with MATE

With MATE, to display seconds on your clock to be used as a stop-watch:
Right click date/time (usually in lower right corner).
Choose Preferences.
Choose Show seconds.
Choose Close.
Repeat above to turn off seconds.

Reader Supplied Reviews for Linux Mint on DistroWatch