In the first two parts of this series of articles, we’ve explained how to choose and test Linux distros (Part 1) and have taken you through the process of installing Linux Mint Cinnamon Edition (Part 2). In this final installment, I’ll be showing you around Mint Cinnamon and explaining several GUI elements, settings, and options.
Navigating Around Mint Cinnamon
Navigating around Mint Cinnamon is both intuitive and simple. The following screenshot is of the default desktop:
As you can see, it is quite plain, with no desktop icons at all. Don’t worry though, the desktop background can be customized via a good selection of built-in options, and everything you need to access is included in the comprehensive Start menu.
Down the left-hand column from top to bottom: Firefox browser shortcut, Software Manager, System Settings, Terminal, File Manager, Lock Screen, Logout, Restart or Shutdown. When you mouse over each of those icons a description of the shortcut will appear in the bottom right-hand corner of the Start menu.
The center column provides shortcuts to a variety of software in categories and the right-hand column provides a list of shortcuts to all programs. A right-click on the Start button displays a menu including editing and configuration options.
To customize the desktop background and other settings, click the System Settings shortcut (third icon down in the left-hand column):
From here, click Backgrounds (under Appearance) to choose a desktop background from a wide selection – here is a small sample:
From System Settings, you can also customize effects, fonts, and themes, and set various “preferences”.
Cinnamon Mint comes with a selection of software already installed, including Firefox browser, LibreOffice, Thunderbird Mail, basic image viewer, and screenshot tools.
Clicking the Software Manager shortcut (second icon from the top in the left-hand column of the Start menu) will open up a large list of popular software ready to install, including titles such as Audacity, VirtualBox (a good way to run Windows inside Linux), Shutter (screenshot capture tool), VLC Media Player, Qbittorrent, Steam, and Bitwarden Password Manager.
Mint’s Software Manager (AKA the Repository) is comprehensive and if you can’t find what you’re looking for in the list, use the search feature – type the name of the software into the search dialogue box – and I’d be surprised if whatever you’re looking for isn’t available.
Mint’s Taskbar (AKA Panel) is also pretty basic but works in much the same manner as the Windows Taskbar:
Left-hand side (from left to right): Start button, File Manager, Firefox, Terminal – Right-hand side (from left to right): System Reports (including updates and setting up the system restore utility), Internet connection, Volume, Time and Date (date requires a mouseover).
Each time you open (run) a program its icon will appear in the Taskbar. Left-click the icon to minimize the program’s window, right-click the icon to display a context menu that includes an option to Pin a shortcut to the Panel (AKA Taskbar).
Mint’s File Manager is also very similar to Windows File Explorer and is pretty much self-explanatory:
I admit that I struggled a bit to present all the above information in a coherent/logical order. Still, I hope it will help somewhat with your understanding of working with Mint Cinnamon, and I’m pretty sure you’ll agree that it is all quite intuitive and Windows-like.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask away via the comments.
- Getting Started With Linux – Part 1
- Getting Started With Linux: Installation – Part 2
- Linux Mint Cinnamon: A Beginner’s Guide – Part 3 ⬅ You are here