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Ubuntu Cinnamon makes switching from Windows to Linux as painless as possible


RV_

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Excerpt:

"I've never been a big fan of the Windows interface. But I do see the appeal. The traditional desktop layout is efficient and covers all the bases. If you want to quickly launch a favorite app, click an icon on the panel or desktop. For launching any other app, scan through the desktop menu. Do you have a folder you frequently access? Add a shortcut to the desktop. It's all there, ready to go.

The Ubuntu Cinnamon desktop menu.
If that UI sounds not only familiar but also desirable, Ubuntu Cinnamon has you covered. The desktop offers a very traditional layout with all the features you're accustomed to using… but with a decidedly open-source spin. You'll find plenty of open-source software installed by default. Click the Menu button (lower left corner) to reveal everything categorized so you can easily find what you're looking for.
 

Also: This official Ubuntu Spin might just be the perfect intro to Linux

 

Pre-installed software includes the likes of:

  • LibreOffice (office suite)
  • Firefox (web browser)
  • Thunderbird (email)
  • Celluloid (video player)
  • Rythmbox (music player)
  • GIMP (image editor)

For those who prefer to house folders on the desktop (for easy access), simply right-click anywhere on the desktop and select Create New Folder. 

Also: Want to save your aging computer? Try these 5 Linux distributions

Another very nice feature of Ubuntu Cinnamon is window snapping. With this take on the desktop, you can snap windows:

  • Splitting the screen in half vertically.
  • Splitting the screen in half horizontally.
  • Splitting the screen into four quarters.
The Ubuntu Cinnamon desktop with four apps open and snapped to corners.

Working efficiently with four apps snapped into corners.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

I'm a big fan of window snapping and use it every day. Not every desktop includes four-corner snapping and I'm here for it.

Who is Ubuntu Cinnamon for?

This is an important question to ask, primarily because the Cinnamon desktop is directly linked to Linux Mint. And given how popular and user-friendly Mint is, why wouldn't you just opt for that OS? To make this question even more confusing, Linux Mint is based on Ubuntu. So, why not cut out the middle person and use Ubuntu with Linux Mint's desktop? 

 

Also: How to replace Windows with Linux Mint on your PC

There's no hard and fast way to answer that question. The difference between Linux Mint and Ubuntu Cinnamon lies in the details, most of which really won't matter to new users trying to decide which operating system to choose. Even the file managers are the same.

From the user's perspective, the primary difference is found in the number of pre-installed software. Linux Mint includes a number of applications not found in Ubuntu Cinnamon. For example, Linux Mint includes the likes of Warpinator (send and receive files across a network), Redshift (color temperature adjustment tool), and Hypnotic (watch internet TV), Library (view recent files). One big difference is that Ubuntu Cinnamon uses GNOME Software as the app store, whereas Linux Mint offers mintinstall. 

Source with much more:

https://www.zdnet.com/article/ubuntu-cinnamon-is-for-users-who-prefer-the-familiarity-of-the-windows-desktop-but-with-the-freedom-of-open-source/

 

 

RV/Derek
http://www.rvroadie.com Email on the bottom of my website page.
Retired AF 1971-1998


When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius

 

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

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How to DIY and set up a dual boot system with Windows and Linux. This is not hard and if you don't know how to do a full system image to restore if you screw something up don't even try this. If you do then this is a great tutorial.

Excerpt:

"I've likely used more operating systems than 99% of my readers. I cut my teeth on IBM 360/OS in the 70s. Since then, I've used every Apple and Microsoft operating system you've ever heard of, and many you've never known, such as A/UX and Microsoft Xenix. I've also used well over 100 different Unix and Linux distributions. So, when I say Linux Mint 21.1, the latest long-term support (LTS) version of Linux Mint, is not just the best Linux desktop, but the best desktop, it means something.

 

Also: 8 things you can do with Linux that you can't do with MacOS or Windows

The only way you'll know if it works well for you, of course, is to try it yourself. Here's how to first give Linux Mint a spin. It's simple to try it. And, then, if you like what you see, I also explain how to replace Windows with Mint.

  • Materials needed: Windows PC, Internet connection, and a DVD-RW or USB Stick with 3 or more GBs of storage.
  • Estimated time: (2 hours). Estimated cost: $5

How to try Linux Mint

1. Download a copy of Linux Mint

Download Linux Mint
sjvn

Unlike other operating systems, Linux distros like Mint make it easy to give them a test run before installing them. 

To do this, first, you must download a copy of Linux Mint. Unlike Windows, when there's only one desktop interface, you get your choice of three different Mint desktops. These are MATEXfce, and its default desktop, Cinnamon. If you have a 2012 or newer PC, go with Cinnamon. If you have an older machine, try Mate, and if your PC is really old or doesn't have much horsepower, use Xfce.

Also: Want to save your aging computer? Try these 5 Linux distributions

Depending on your internet speed, downloading Mint could take a long time. The distribution now weighs in at 2.5 gigabytes. 

 

2. Make sure your copy of Mint is the real thing

Download Linux Mint ISO Check
sjvn

Next, you should make sure that the image file you just downloaded is the real McCoy. You do this by downloading the sha256sum.txt and sha256sum.txt.gpg files. You should be able to find them in the same place you downloaded the ISO image. When you download them, do it with your browser's "right-click->Save Link As…" command. 

In the next step, head to the GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG) page. Once there, download and install the Windows installer, download.sig. Then, run the installer. It doesn't matter if you run it as an ordinary user or as an administrator. Either way works. 

Also: The best Linux distros for beginners

Now head over to the Download folder. Once there, hold Shift while right-clicking your download folder and open a command window. When done, run the following command

CertUtil -hashfile filename.iso SHA256

Eventually, it will return an alphanumeric sequence that's called a hash. If this hash is identical to the one listed in your sha256sum.txt, then the integrity check passed, and your ISO file is good to go. If not, delete the ISO file and download a copy. 

 
 

3. Burn Mint to a DVD-RW or USB Stick

Burn Linux Mint ISO Image
sjvn

Now, you're ready to burn the image to either a DVD disc or a USB stick.  If you have an old copy of Windows, you may not an ISO burner program. In that case, you must download one. I recommend freeware programs ImgBurn for optical drives and Yumi for Windows for USB sticks. Other good choices are LinuxLive USB Creator and UNetbootin. All of these are free programs.

Also: How to get started with Git on Linux

Windows 11 users can just use the operating system's built-in ISO burner functionality. To burn your ISO file to a blank DVD-RW or USB stick, insert the disc into your DVD-RW burner drive or USB stick into a USB port. Then, open the folder containing your ISO file in Windows File Explorer. Typically, that's the Download directory. Next, click on your Mint ISO file. On the top of File Explorer, you should see the Burn option. Select it and burn the image to your DVD or USB stick.

If you're using a USB stick, set it up with persistent storage. With this, you can store your programs and files on the stick. This way, you can carry Linux and use it as a walk-around operating system for hotel, conference, and library PCs. This is very handy, and there's always at least one Linux Mint stick in my laptop bag.

Finally, if you used a DVD, check your newly burned disc for errors. Over the years, I've had more problems with running Linux and installing Linux from DVDs from bad discs than all other causes combined.

 
 

4. Reboot

imgp0009.jpg
Image: J.A. Watson

Next, place your disc or USB stick into your PC and reboot. During the reboot, stop the boot-up process and get to your PC's UEFI or BIOS settings. How you do this varies according to the system.

Look for a message as the machine starts up that tells which key or keys you'll need to press in order to get to the BIOS or UEFI. Likely, candidates are a function key or the "esc" or "delete" keys. For a recent list of the major OEMs, see How to Enter the BIOS on Any PC: Access Keys by Manufacturer. If you don't spot it the first time, don't worry about it. Just reboot and try again.

Also: Emmabuntüs is a Linux distribution geared toward those who don't know Linux

Once you get to the BIOS or UEFI, look for a menu choice labeled "Boot," "Boot Options," or "Boot Order." If you don't see anything with the word "boot" in it, check other menu options such as "Advanced Options," "Advanced BIOS Features," or "Other Options." Once you find it, set the boot order so that instead of booting from the hard drive first, you boot from either the DVD or USB drive.

Once your PC is set to try to boot first from the alternative drive, insert your DVD or USB stick and reboot. Then, select "Start Linux Mint" from the first menu. And, from there, you'll be running Linux Mint.

 
 

5. Start Linux Mint

Linux Mint 21.1 First Boot
sjvn

Once your PC is set to try to boot first from the alternative drive, insert your DVD or USB stick and reboot. Then, select "Start Linux Mint" from the first menu. And, from there, you'll be running Linux Mint.

So far, you haven't installed anything on your PC, but you are running Mint. Use this opportunity to play with Mint to see if you like it.

Review: Private Internet Access: A cheap, powerful, open-source VPN

Using a DVD drive, Mint will run slowly, but it will run quickly enough to give you an idea of what it's like to use Mint. With a USB stick, it runs fast enough to give you a good notion of what working with Mint is like. Indeed it's fast enough I use Mint USB sticks for work, sometimes on office PCs.

 

6. Fix Nvidia graphic problems

Some Nvidia graphics cards don't work well with Mint's open-source driver. If Linux Mint freezes during boot, use the "nomodeset" boot option. You set this to the Start Linux Mint option and press 'e' to modify the boot options. Then, replace "quiet splash" with "nomodeset" and press F10 to boot. On older PCs using BIOS, press 'tab' instead of 'e.'

Mint will run slower this way, but it will boot and run. If you decide to install Mint, you can permanently fix the problem with the following steps:

  • Run the Driver Manager
  • Choose the NVIDIA drivers and wait for them to be installed
  • Reboot the computer

7. Back up your system

Like what you see? Want to use Mint?  Now, you're ready to install Mint.

First, make a complete backup of your Windows system. Installing Linux in the way I'm going to describe shouldn't hurt your Windows setup at all, but why take any chances?

Also: How to easily back up your Mac onto a USB drive (and feel like James Bond doing it)

It used to be that installing Linux on Windows PCs with UEFI and Secure Boot was a major pain. It can still be an annoyance, but Ubuntu and Mint have made booting and installing with Secure Boot systems a non-issue. All pre-built binaries intended to be loaded as part of the boot process, with the exception of the initrd image, are signed by Canonical's UEFI certificate, which is implicitly trusted by being embedded in the Microsoft signed shim loader.

If, for some reason, you can't install Mint with Secure Boot running on your PC, you can always turn off Secure Boot. There are many ways to switch off Secure Boot. All involve going to the UEFI control panel during the boot process and switching it off.

8. Install Linux Mint

Linux Mint Language
sjvn

Next, make sure your PC is plugged in. The last thing you want is to run out of battery power during an operating system install! You'll also need an internet connection and about 8GBs of free drive space.

That done, reboot into Linux again. Once you have the Mint display up, one of your icon choices on the left will be to install Mint. Double-click it, and you'll be on your way.

Also: The absolute best Linux distros for programming

You'll need to walk your way through several menu choices. Most of these decisions will be easy. For example, the language you want Mint to use and your time zone. The one critical choice will be how to partition your hard drive.

9. Partion your hard drive

Linux Mint Drive Partition
sjvn

Partitioning a hard drive can become very complicated, but fortunately, there's an easy choice to enable you to dual-boot both Windows and Mint. Simply pick the first option on the Installation Type menu: "Install Linux Mint alongside them."

Also: The best external hard drives you can buy

This procedure will install Linux Mint next to your existing Windows system and leave it totally untouched. When I do this, I usually give half my PC's remaining drive space to Mint. You'll be asked to choose which operating system you want to boot by default. No matter which one you pick, you'll get a few seconds to switch to the other operating system.

If you want to, you can also specify exactly how you want your hard drive to be set up. Only power users should try this. If you go this route, I suggest you use Ext4 for your main Linux file system.

10. Add Linux Mint finishing touches

Finishing Linux Mint Touches
sjvn

You'll also be required to give your system a name, pick out a username for yourself, and create a password. You can also choose to encrypt your home directory to keep files relatively safe from prying eyes. However, an encrypted home directory slows systems down. It's faster, albeit counterintuitive, to encrypt the entire drive after you have Mint up and running.

Mint's setup menu enables you to automatically create a system snapshot with Timeshift. This way, if something goes wrong later, you can restore your system files and get back to a working system. It does not, however, save your documents and the like. It just saves the system files needed to run Mint. While you're at this, set up a regular Timeshift schedule. Timeshift can save your bacon if something goes awry. 

Also: How to install Linux on your Raspberry Pi

Next, you can have it check to see if your computer needs any additional drivers. I highly recommend you run this. After this, you can choose to install proprietary multimedia codecs, such as drivers to watch DVDs. I think you should do this, as well.

You should then update your system to the latest software. Unlike Windows patches, when you update Mint, you're updating not just your operating system but all the other programs such as the default web browser, Firefox; office-suite, LibreOffice; and any other programs you've installed from Mint's Software Manager. This is very handy.

To do this manually, click on the shield icon in the menu bar. By default in the Cinnamon desktop, the bar will be on the bottom part of the screen and the icon will be on the right. It will then prompt you for your password and ask if you really want to update your system. Say yes, and you'll be ready to give your new Mint system a real tryout.

The setup routine also lets you look at system settings and find new programs with the Software Manager, but since you're probably a new user, you can skip those for now.

That's all there is to it. I've installed Linux hundreds of times, and it usually takes me about an hour from starting my download -- the blessings of a Gigabit fiber internet connection -- to moving from booting up to customizing my new Mint PC. If you've never done it before, allow yourself an afternoon or morning for the job.

Have fun, get work done, and enjoy.

FAQs 

What are Linux Mint's system requirements? 

If you have a computer from the last decade or so that still works, it can almost certainly run Linux Mint. Technically, Linux Mint requires: 

  • 2GB RAM (4GB recommended).
  • 20GB of disk space (100GB recommended).
  • 1024×768 resolution (on lower resolutions, press ALT to drag windows with the mouse if they don't fit on the screen).

You can probably buy an old PC from a junk shop, and it will run Mint. I've done that very thing. 

Is there any problem with running Linux Mint and Windows on the same PC?

No. It will take about ten seconds, plus the boot time, to switch from one operating system to the other, but that's it. 

If you want to run them at the same time, that's a different thing entirely. To do that, you should look into running one in a virtual machine (VM) such as Oracle VirtualBox or running Linux under Windows using Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) 2.0. In these configurations, both operating systems will run a bit slower. But unless you're editing video or playing complex games, you shouldn't see any real slowdowns.

Can I run Microsoft Office on Linux?

Microsoft 365 on Linux Mint
 
 

sjvn/ZDNET

Yes. There are complex ways to do this using programs such as WINE, Crossover Linux , and WinApps for Linux but the easiest by far is to simply run Microsoft 365, formerly Office 365. 

You can, of course, also run many great Linux desktop programs such as GIMP for photo editing, LibreOffice for office work, and Chrome or Firefox for web browsing. 

 

https://www.zdnet.com/article/how-to-replace-windows-with-linux-mint-on-your-pc/?utm_source=pocket_saves

Edited by RV_

RV/Derek
http://www.rvroadie.com Email on the bottom of my website page.
Retired AF 1971-1998


When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius

 

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

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  • 2 months later...

I made the switch to Linux Mint Cinnamon a couple of years ago.  I have dual boot on my new laptop, but almost never open up the Windows 11 side.  I don't miss Microsoft one bit!

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2 hours ago, rvrev2 said:

I made the switch to Linux Mint Cinnamon a couple of years ago.  I have dual boot on my new laptop, but almost never open up the Windows 11 side.  I don't miss Microsoft one bit!

Great feedback on doing it. I need to dual boot it on mine too.

RV/Derek
http://www.rvroadie.com Email on the bottom of my website page.
Retired AF 1971-1998


When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius

 

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

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  • 2 weeks later...

I think I mentioned I installed Lunux Cinnamon, dual-boot with W10. Well, I wasn't happy with the way Linux Cinnamon works, so I have now switched to Ubuntu Desktop 22.04.The more I use it the better I like its design. It is more like a Windows OS, thus easier to understand and work with for this old man.

The introduction is the same, you can download it and try it without installing first.

BTW, that first screenshot picture is of Ubuntu Desktop welcome screen as downloaded, with the jellyfish on an orange background.

 

Edited by Ray,IN

 

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Whenever I get time I'll check it out Ray. I need a good alternative for my local friends when 2025 comes and support is dropped for Win10.

 

RV/Derek
http://www.rvroadie.com Email on the bottom of my website page.
Retired AF 1971-1998


When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius

 

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

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Ubuntu desktop is a long-term support version.

Ubuntu desktop Pro is much more secure it says, and supports up to 5 machines.

 

2000 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom USQ40JD, ISC 8.3 Cummins 350, Spartan MM Chassis. USA IN 1SG retired;Good Sam Life member,FMCA ." And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you--ask what you can do for your country.  John F. Kennedy 20 Jan 1961

 

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Personal use for 5 machines is free too!

RV/Derek
http://www.rvroadie.com Email on the bottom of my website page.
Retired AF 1971-1998


When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius

 

“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

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