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Setting up Mint 13: 2012's Best Linux desktop

Mint 13 with Cinnamon may well be the best Linux desktop of all for expert users.
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Before installing Linux Mint on your PC, run it in the live version to make sure everything works.

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If it does, then click on the install icon and make sure your PC can handle it. Any computer should be able to use Mint.

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As with any Linux, you'll need to give yourself a user name, give the PC name and set up a password. You can also set it up to automatically log you in or encrypt your home directory where your files will live. There wouldn't be any point in encrypting your files if anyone can get to them simply by turning the PC on so you can't choose both options.

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In a few minutes, you'll be asked to remove your CD or USB drive and reboot from the hard drive. Do so, and if all's gone right you'll see this login screen.

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The first screen starts by giving you icons to several useful guides and sites for new users.

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The initial Mint display is, well, dull. Fortunately, it's easy to liven it up.

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A right click on the background will let you pick a more attractive background image.

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After some adjustments, I now have a more more interesting and useful desktop. If I want to bring one of those applications from the menu button to the main desktop, I right click on the app's icon and choose to place it on my desktop. Once there, I can move them to where I like.

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To further adjust the display, I use the Cinnamon settings menu. From here, I can switch the menu panel from the bottom to the top, which I've done here and place the hot-button, for accessing other virtual desktops, to the lower-left corner.

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If I want to install a new program to Mint, the operating system's Software Manager makes that easy. There is one small bug here though. Once you've used Software Manager to install a new program, here the Chromium Web browser, Software Manager doesn't update the program's status. In this case, I actually just finished installing Chromium but it's status won't change in the Software Manager page for the program until I leave its installation page and come back to it. This could easily trick a user into thinking that the program didn't actually install.

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