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  • A question about Linux (Mint).

    Posted on OscarCP Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Non-Windows operating systems Linux – all distros A question about Linux (Mint).

    This topic contains 75 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  Elly 5 months ago.

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    • #1149770 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      I have decided to start this thread to post here questions that crop up, now and then, when one is starting to use Linux, Mint in particular, and that not fit well in other threads about Linux already in use. I may create new, single-issue threads to ask some urgent questions, or some I see as particularly important as well as hard to find answers to. But, for most things, I think a single thread should do.

      I have Linux Mint 19.1, in dual-boot with Windows 7 Pro, SP1, x64, both OS running on an 7+3/4 year-old HP Pavilion dv6t laptop.

      At this very moment, I have no questions, but I am pretty sure I’ll have some in the not too distant future, same as I’ve been having, one after another, in quick succession, ever since I had Mint installed in the PC, less than two months ago.

      But I am giving this a pretty non-committal name, because “A question about Linux (Mint)” could easily be your very own, gentle reader! Everyone with Linux questions that wouldn’t fit elsewhere in Woody’s “Linux for Windows Wonks” is most welcome to ask them here, preferably – but not exclusively — about Mint, Ubuntu and other members of this Linux family.

       

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1175030 Reply

      LHiggins
      AskWoody Plus

      I don’t have a specific question to post here (yet) – but I do want to say that I am really enjoying getting to know Linux Mint. I have it running from a full install on USB on my Win 7 laptop, and so far, it has been great. I haven’t run into anything much that is a problem, or things that seem to be “missing” from it. My printer, scanner and all-in-one work, and so does Thunderbird. Nice to be able to have access to my Windows files through Mint, too!

      Thanks for starting this thread!

      • #1177907 Reply

        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        LHiggins, you are very welcomed!

        One problem I have with Linux Mint, but it has been a common one with different kinds of Linux I’ve had to deal with over the years, is that the objects on the desktop, including the buttons to resize the windows that one opens, are so tiny! One can enlarge permanently the letters of the names of the folders and files icons on the Desktop, but the icons themselves are microscopic, making clicking on them something of a constant hit or miss deal, even for one who has a rock-steady hand. Oh, well, one cannot ask for perfection in something that is for free, I guess… But it would be nice to know a workaround for this “little” problem (assuming there is one).

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

        • #1179452 Reply

          Charlie
          AskWoody Plus

          Reducing the desktop resolution should help make things bigger, that is if you can find a way to do it with Linux Mint.

          I personally would like to have more ability to customize Linux Mint.  I have Mint Cinnamon 19.1 now and would love to be able to make those super thin scroll bars wider!  Also, I’d like to see a way to add some more color(s) to the dull grey Mint windows, etc.

          Other than that, I’m pretty happy with Linux Mint.

          Win 7 Home Premium, x64, Intel i3-2120 3.3GHz, Groups B & L

          • #1180359 Reply

            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            Charlie, You are right: reducing the screen resolution is likely to have the desired effect, as far as making things look bigger. It could also make things look worse, or even be incompatible with my second monitor, that I connect to the PC via HDMI. I like to use it, because it has a much bigger screen than the laptop. And reducing the resolution is not very likely to increase the enjoyment of watching my favorite streamed HD videos and movies on DVD.

            Maybe, after a while, I will get to be more proficient at clicking on tiny things. Perhaps, some day, I’ll become good enough to be able to do brain surgery on flies! And wouldn’t that be something?

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

          • #1197021 Reply

            mn–
            AskWoody Lounger

            Reducing the desktop resolution should help make things bigger, that is if you can find a way to do it with Linux Mint.

            I personally would like to have more ability to customize Linux Mint.  I have Mint Cinnamon 19.1 now and would love to be able to make those super thin scroll bars wider!  Also, I’d like to see a way to add some more color(s) to the dull grey Mint windows, etc.

            Other than that, I’m pretty happy with Linux Mint.

            Well, there should be theme settings in the menu, though which one of the control themes would have properly wide scroll bars, er…

            Colors are fairly easy to find there though.

            And then there’s general interface scaling for high-DPI displays, but that doesn’t seem to have fine-grained settings at all.

            This from installing the Cinnamon desktop on top of a heavily tweaked Xubuntu so themes and such may not correspond to what’s on a Mint, but a “TraditionalOk” theme seems to be one with a decent-sized scroll handle over here.

            Haven’t found a direct display DPI override setting here yet, unlike on Xubuntu default desktop (Xfce).

            1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #1546459 Reply

          MrJimPhelps
          AskWoody_MVP

          How to change the icon size in Linux Mint

          This works with the Xfce interface – it probably works with other Mint interfaces as well.

          To make your desktop icons bigger or smaller in Linux Mint:
          * Right click on an empty area of the desktop, and choose Desktop Settings.
          * Click on the Icons tab at the top of the popup window.
          * Note the number in the Icon Size field – write it down.
          * Change the number in the Icon Size field till the icons are the desired size.
          * Click Close (bottom right).

          I suggest writing down the number in the Icon Size field in case you get totally lost and want to get back to the previous size.

          Group "L" (Linux Mint)
          with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #1549212 Reply

            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            MrJimPhelps: Unfortunately, “Cinnamon” only offers to either install or uninstall icons such as the garbage can, the computer, home, and so on. Besides getting to this by right clicking on the desktop, as you have explained, the same choices are available in Settings/Desktop, including doubling the size by choosing that HiDPI option (which makes things worse, to my own taste), but no way to make an incremental change in the shape of icons, as you have recommended.

            I am gathering from what people have been writing here that “Cinnamon” is pretty limited in the options it offers the user to customize it, compared with other choices of GUI, such as yours.

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

            • #1552918 Reply

              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              Mint gives three icon size possibilities for the desktop, listed as Smaller, Normal, and Larger.  KDE gives six choices, though the ones on the ends of the range are really too small or big to be of any use to me.

              As far as themes go, there is a lot of crossover between Xfce and Cinnamon themes, as both are based on the GTK 3 toolkit.  It’s quite possible that a theme that comes with Xfce may work well with Cinnamon.  You’ll find a bunch in the Cinnamon theme dialog (68, I think), while more can be found at gnome-look.org.

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

              1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1265694 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      In the context of this discussion, I have been looking for information that could be useful for making larger the scroll bars and window sizing buttons, etc. Unfortunately all I have found, so far, are people complaining about how small and hard to use they are (the scroll bar gets a lot of negative comments).

      Nevertheless, Cinnamon is supposed to be a significant step forward in Linux GUI user-friendliness, with several new features that were not available before. I think this Web page has interesting and practical information that some of us starting to use this particular graphical interface may find helpful:

      https://linuxmint.com/rel_tessa_cinnamon_whatsnew.php

      By the way, it looks like the theme “TraditionalOK” (or variants, such as “traditional oak”) mentioned by mn- earlier, because it helps to make the scroll bars bigger in Xubuntu, is not included in Linux Mint 19.1  Cinnamon.

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #1271490 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        I believe Mint has only a setting for standard and HiDPI, which doubles the size of everything, but no in betweens.  If your controls are really tiny, doubling the size may be just what you are looking for.

        The default setup of Mint is to have overlay scrollbars enabled.  These are the annoying ones that disappear when you’re not using them, depriving you of the “at a glance” knowledge of where you are in the document in question.  This is yet another “form over function” trend that I wish would go away, but the Mint devs did include an OFF switch for it in the settings.  That will at least keep it from disappearing all the time.

        Otherwise, the look of Mint is controlled by themes.  The default Mint theme includes, if I recall, tiny mobile-style scrollbars, the kind that are meant to show you the position in a document, but never actually gripped with the mouse pointer (since mobile devices don’t usually have mouse pointers).

        If the standard theme, is not to your liking, there are a few more included with Mint, and lots of others that are available through the themes dialog inside the main settings menu.  Alternately, you could edit the theme files yourself (which is what I ended up doing when I used Mint… and Windows, for that matter, which was a much harder task than in Mint).  They’re just plain text files, and you’ve indicated before that you have experience writing code, so picking up the syntax enough to change the themes might not be too hard for you.

        There is also the possibility of creating/using a .gtkrc file in your ~ (home) directory to override certain parameters in the theme.  You may be able to set the size of the scrollbars and such that way.  I’m out of practice with GTK, as I’ve been using KDE recently, so I don’t have any specific tips, but at least I can get you pointed in the right direction, hopefully.

        This is one area I wish was better about Mint… I’d like more settings to be exposed to the user through dialogs rather than having to do it with theme files and the like.  I imagine that this will be one area that sees some attention at some point, but for now, these are the options I am aware of.  4I know DPI scaling is one area that a lot of users want, so that may be addressed sooner rather than later, perhaps.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

        4 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1288646 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Ascaris: ” I believe Mint has only a setting for standard and HiDPI, which doubles the size of everything, but no in betweens.  If your controls are really tiny, doubling the size may be just what you are looking for.

          Thanks for the suggestion. Where is the HiDPI control in Mint 19.1? I have not found it yet, but maybe I have been looking in the wrong place.

          Doubling the size of everything will work for me (preferably, unless there is no alternative, if it does not also double the size of the wallpaper, so it no longer fits within the screen.)

          I have the default Mint theme, the only customizing I have made is to choose the “modern” look and a different wallpaper of my own choice, a classical painting I got from the “Wiki Commons” and that prefer to see all at once.

          ”  They’re just plain text files, and you’ve indicated before that you have experience writing code, so picking up the syntax enough to change the themes might not be too hard for you.

          True enough, but I also better explain my situation here: While it is true that I have been working with Unix, Linux, FreeBSD and OS X/macOS,  all versions of Windows from 95 through 7 (since the early 1990’s) and several now extinct OS before that, I have only used these to write, debug, test and sometimes do some full-blown data processing. Fiddling with the GUI, or more generally, with the OS, has been something I have preferred not to do. In the past, when it came to Unix, or to its relatives for PCs, I was using someone else’s computer (the government’s or some university’s), so there was always a System Administrator taking care of the machine. Now, with Mint, I am using my own, private machine, so I am also the SysAdmin. If I mess up, then I have to go to myself to get it fixed, which is something of a disincentive.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

          • #1290688 Reply

            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            The Hi-DPI setting is in General, then User Interface Scaling, in Mint 19.  I don’t have 19.1 to reference, but it should be in the same place.

            As far as modifying system files… you don’t have to.  The themes you install from the Themes dialog will be installed into your home folder in ~/.themes.  You can edit them there without ever touching any system files.  As for the default themes that are system themes, you can copy them from /usr/share/themes into ~/.themes and edit them there.  If you keep the same filename, the one in the home folder will be loaded instead of the one in /usr/share/themes instead of the system one, or you can give it a new filename and select it separately from the menu.  If you get it really and truly messed up, just delete the modified theme or select another one (if you changed the name), and problem solved.  You can re-download it or re-copy it from /usr/share/themes and start over.

             

             

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

            1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1282901 Reply

      Cybertooth
      AskWoody Lounger

      @ascaris:

      This is one area I wish was better about Mint… I’d like more settings to be exposed to the user through dialogs rather than having to do it with theme files and the like.

      My understanding of it is that customization is one area where distros using KDE Plasma, such as Kubuntu, are superior. I believe Plasma offers more readily accessible options in the GUI than Gnome does to tweak things to the user’s liking. Although even they have been moving in the direction of less customizability: the Plasma settings used to let you pick and choose elements from different themes to easily come up with exactly what you wanted, but newer versions of Plasma only allow you to select a specific theme as a whole package, take it or leave it.

       

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      • #1291783 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        That’s definitely true, and I had initially written that in my response to Oscar.  I’m not sure about how it used to be with KDE, as I never really used it other than briefly prior to Plasma 5, but if you’re talking about the look ‘n’ feel themes, you can still choose the widgets, color themes, window decorations, icons, and system themes independently.  The look ‘n’ feel themes roll all of those into a single package for convenience, but you don’t have to do it that way.  You can also install a look ‘n’ feel theme and then change just some parts of it.

        I started with KDE when I first started using Linux after I realized that Windows 10 was not going to be something I was going to be willing to use, but it had so many bugs and rough edges that I kept looking, and ended up with Cinnamon.  From time to time, I tried KDE again, but there was always something that pushed me back to Cinnamon.  I would probably have stayed with Cinnamon if not for the bug that I had in Mint 18.3 that caused it to consume far too much energy (and thus battery life) on laptops.  I tested Mint Xfce and KDE (Kubuntu) and found that both had significantly longer run times on battery than Cinnamon, with all else being the same.  I decided to give KDE another shot, and it was so much improved that I stuck with it this time.  I initially tried and rejected Neon in favor of Kubuntu, and I’ve bounced around between the two, but I am currently on Neon as my primary.

        KDE got a reputation for being bloated and buggy, but they’ve trimmed it down to the point that it is about the same as Cinnamon in memory use, and they’re fixing bugs pretty consistently (though not without the occasional regression).  It’s still a bit rougher than Cinnamon, but KDE is so powerful and customizable that it’s worth dealing with the remaining bugs.  A couple of my most despised bugs have already been fixed in the code for Plasma 5.16, which will roll out to the public in about a month.  The bugs are falling on a regular basis, and that’s why I like Neon… while I usually prefer the stability of a slower update cycle like in Kubuntu, I don’t want to wait for the bug fixes.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1304879 Reply

      Cybertooth
      AskWoody Lounger

      That’s definitely true, and I had initially written that in my response to Oscar. I’m not sure about how it used to be with KDE, as I never really used it other than briefly prior to Plasma 5, but if you’re talking about the look ‘n’ feel themes, you can still choose the widgets, color themes, window decorations, icons, and system themes independently. The look ‘n’ feel themes roll all of those into a single package for convenience, but you don’t have to do it that way. You can also install a look ‘n’ feel theme and then change just some parts of it.

      Maybe a concrete example will better illustrate what I’m saying. I first started flirting with Linux when it became clear that Microsoft was headed in an unacceptable direction with, among other things, its UI design choices (flat buttons, opaque window borders). After trying out a number of distros, KDE seemed to me to be the one offering the cleanest and brightest screens (most others looked grainy and dim in comparison). At that point, because I like the Vista/7 UI so much, it became a question of whether one could make a KDE desktop look like Windows. Happily, I found that there were a number of Vista or 7 lookalike themes in the KDE Store, and I started downloading them to try.

      Most of them (when they managed to install) looked very nice, but I was unhappy with the clock widget as it didn’t scale well to the size I wanted because the minute hand would stick out past the edge of the clock face. On the other hand, the default KDE clock widget was unattractive, while the Oxygen clock looked pretty snazzy. See the Settings screenshot below:

      Kubuntu-Desktop-Themes

      In earlier versions of Plasma (5.1 or something) I could select, say, the Breeze Dark theme but with the Oxygen clock. You will see in the screenshot that I had downloaded some Vista/7 themes and then played around with them, first coming up with the “Windows 7 Hybrid” and finally settling on the “New Win7 Hybrid” theme, both created by combining elements from different themes. (My theme also uses a “Window Decorations” package named “Seven Black,” which is selected via Settings –> Appearance –> Application Style.)

      But ever since Plasma version 5.6 (I’m now up to 5.12.7), that’s  no longer possible: if I want the Oxygen clock, I need to select the Oxygen theme and every other Oxygen element that comes along with it. There doesn’t seem to be any way to pick and choose.

      A couple of links to the KDE Forum where this is discussed: here and here.

      I am glad that I started playing with Kubuntu before these configurability limitations were introduced, as I had the opportunity to create my “ideal” theme. Otherwise, I would have had to choose between (for example) an ugly clock or no clock.

       

      Attachments:
      • #1324004 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        The UI to mix the elements was removed, but the fact that your hybrid theme still works as configured before shows that the ability hasn’t totally been removed.  You just have to manually edit the themes now to accomplish what you wish… or maybe someone else already has, and has uploaded the modified theme.  Or maybe you could upload yours!  It’s annoying that the devs chose to take that ability out, but at least there is a way to fix it, even if it’s more of a pain in the rump than it should be.

        The theming of the widgets independently of the rest of the system theme never even occurred to me.  The only widget I use on the desktop is the drive space monitor, and it gives me the info I need and looks decent enough, so I never really thought much about the theming.  I use one called Arctica downloaded from KDE via the built-in UI… similar to Oxygen dark.

        The theming I am using for the rest of the stuff in KDE is not really ideal aesthetically by my own standards, but I’ve made some compromises for performance.  I like the Plastik window decoration theme more than any of the others that come with Neon, but it slows things down a lot on my Swift– it even causes a significant drop in performance in benchmarks like glmark2, just by being there.  The only one that really performs well is Breeze, so I use that, even though it is flatter than I would otherwise use.

        As far as widgets, I use QtCurve, which is available from the Kubuntu/Neon repo. It has tons of customization options, as well as downloadable themes itself. A theme that can be themed– weird, right?  In KDE, though, the widget “theme” you select from the menu is actually a theme engine.  This means that the Oxygen, Fusion, Breeze, etc., widget themes that come with it are not editable the way that the GNOME themes for Cinnamon are. The QtCurve engine has a ton of configuration options!

        That’s also how the window decoration themes are (and how ones like Plastik can be slow)… they’re actually more full-on theme engines than anything else.  Lots of potential customization power, but not realized if most of the themes you’re offered slow things down so much you don’t want to use them.  On my faster PCs, I don’t notice it, but on the somewhat ironically named Swift, I certainly do.

        I like the complete customizability of the Cinnamon themes for Mint.  There are less menu-type options for things, but you can get at the guts of the themes for everything in a way you can’t with the stock themes for KDE.  Cinnamon’s actually more customizable for me (not being adept at writing theme engines) than KDE in terms of theming… it just takes more work.

        There are binary themes for Mint too, ones that can’t be easily modified with a text editor, and I am sure they outperform the text-based ones like mine, but I never had any issues with the responsiveness in Mint with my theme, even on my severely underpowered Inspiron.

         

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1305049 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      I just followed Ascaris’ suggestion and tried “doubling” the Hi-DPI. Well, it made the folders look twice as big as before, actually too big and not really an improvement on the previous situation: the desktop looked rather untidy, and the folders were the easiest things to use when still at half the size. But the buttons on the top right corner of the windows one opens stayed as tiny as usual, and so did the width of the scrollbars. So I went back to the previous Hi-DPI setting, which was “Automatic”

      Summing up: no luck. We of the “Cinnamon” persuasion clearly have to seriously stiffen our upper lips and go on stoically bearing that which we cannot change. Maybe, some day, the gods that rule “Cinnamon” will take compassion on us and give us bigger buttons to size our windows. Then, of course, there is always Windows 10.

      Now, a  new question: As I do every few months, today, after patching up Windows 7 in the same PC where I run Linux Mint, I defragmented the HD. It went through the usual various passes (Relocate, Defragment, etc.) and finally the defragging seemed to be done. But then started again from Pass No. 1, except that it and the successive passes went through a lot quicker than before. I wonder if the instruction to do the Windows defrag included doing a subsequent Linux partition  defrag?

      And finally, a new problem I just found when I started to write this entry from the Linux side of the PC (I am finishing this on the Mac!): I hit, by mistake, the “0/Insert” key of the data entry pad on the keyboard, switching unintentionally from “insert” to”replace” mode and, suddenly, I started overwriting things I had already written when trying to insert something just before then. But there was no way to revert to “insert”! I tried hitting the 0/Insert key again, something that normally does the trick, but it was the same as if I had done nothing.

      After I finished writing the above on the Mac, I restarted the PC with Linux Mint, came back and added this sentence. The restart fixed the problem: An effective, but rather awkward solution…

       

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

      • #1314588 Reply

        anonymous

        I wonder if the instruction to do the Windows defrag included doing a subsequent Linux partition  defrag?

        The defrag process was a function of Windows. It defraged then compacted the Windows partition.
        It did not include the Linux partition.

        • #1328791 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          I thought that the defragging of both the Windows and then Linux partition was the explanation of why the defrag, as never before, was done twice: first, as usual, slowly, then the second time, much faster — because the Windows partition is several times larger and there are many more items in it than in the very new Linux partition.

          If that was not the reason, then this first-ever double defrag remains, at least for now, a real mystery.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

      • #1317345 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        When you say the folders, do you mean the icons on the desktop?  You can change those… just right click the background and set them to a smaller size.

        If this doesn’t work for you, it’s not true that you have to just stoically tolerate it.  There are tons of themes out there, some of which are surely written by someone with the same issues you have.  There’s also the option of trying other desktop environments.  If you’re looking to customize, KDE offers a lot more options than anything else.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

        2 users thanked author for this post.
        • #1328839 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Ascaris: ”  …just right click the background and set them to a smaller size.

          Thanks! I’ll try this later and we’ll see how it goes.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

      • #1596971 Reply

        Klaas Vaak
        AskWoody Lounger

        @oscarcp: Linux does not need to be defragmented because it functions differently than Windows does; in fact, it is recommended not to.

        A very useful site for Linux Mint tips, tricks, good practices, speed-ups, etc. is the Easy Linux Tips project

        It is an excellent site, kept up-to-date for all 3 versions of LM. Right now the focus is 19.1. Check it out.

        1x Linux Mint 19.1 | 1x Linux antiX

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    • #1320386 Reply

      Cybertooth
      AskWoody Lounger

      @oscarcp, if your concern is that the desktop elements are too small, AND you can live with the Windows 10 “look,” then you might want to consider this Cinnamon theme which is billed as emulating the appearance of Windows 10. Visit this page for more screenshots, including some where you can see the size of the desktop icons and window control buttons, which should match pretty closely what we get in Windows 10.

      EDIT: On further inspection, that Weebly.com site has many more themes emulating all sorts of operating systems, not just Windows 10.

       

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    • #1323328 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Plus

      I have a hard time deciding which one I like best between Mint Cinnamon, and the latest KDE on Kubuntu.

      I think both are great, and maybe I slightly favor the UI look on KDE. But then I sometimes miss a few Mint features when I go there. KDE really has improved, and seems much lighter and more stable than a few years ago!

      Pity that Mint stopped supporting KDE, as that may have been a killer combo. https://itsfoss.com/linux-mint-drops-kde/

      But I understand that supporting KDE spread Mint a bit far from their base, and re-committing development focus on their core features, is probably a logical decision.

      The main difference between Gnome based and other GTK desktops, and KDE, are the frameworks used: GTK and Qt, respectively.

      https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/difference-gtk-qt/

      http://tuxdiary.com/2016/06/06/gtk-qt/

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    • #1328457 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      Thanks for the advice and the time taken by those that have responded to my questions about the size of features on the Cinnamon desktop.

      I can live with this, of course, anybody can. I think I’ll just accept my fate is to live with tiny features and move on. The small size of the icons of objects on the desktop, including the folders, or directory icons, is not really the problem. I can hit them with the cursor and click on them just about OK. That of sidebars and resizing buttons in open windows is an annoying thing, but using the one button I find really hard to hit, the one that closes the window, can be replaced, same as in Windows, with the shortcut Alt+F4. I suppose there are also shortcuts for minimizing, maximizing and hiding a window from sight on the desktop.

      I appreciate the information on how to modify themes, but I don’t see myself as doing the work of the developers for them. Or, more to the point, I don’t really, really, really need to do it myself, because I can go on with things as they are. That’s just my way; I imagine others might benefit from the generous advice offered here. So, to you all: many thanks for giving it, anyway!

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

    • #1361373 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      I have a question about “Timeshift”, an application (or feature?) that comes with Linux Mint 19.1 (and maybe older versions?) and that looks like it could be used to restore the system, and data, to the state it was when Timeshift was last used to create an image of the hard disk (or the SSD) on an external storage medium. In other words: something like Macrium Reflect or Veeam, but built in the OS, or at least pre-installed in the software package that comes standard with 19.1.

      Looking around on the Web, I’ve gathered that it is not too different from the Mac’s Time Machine, that Neil Parker has explained recently here:  ” #1305389 “.

      My questions are: am I right in describing Timeshift as I just have? And, if I am right, how does this feature work when one have Mint in dual-boot with (in my case) Windows 7, x64?

      For example, does it restore just the Linux partition or partitions, or does it try to “restore” the whole disk, Windows included? Can one tell it what to restore and where? Thanks.

       

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

      • #1363105 Reply

        JohnW
        AskWoody Plus

        There was some discussion about “Timeshift” here:

        Software Update Problem on Xubuntu

        And here:

        A newbie's experience with Linux

        … and here:

        Leave it to Linux to get it right

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        • #1363864 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          JohnW, Thanks for those links. They answer one part of my question about Timeshift: yes, it is something like Macrium Reflect, etc.

          But I would also like to know how is it used (and if it is safe to use, without messing up Windows into the bargain) when one has Linux in dual-boot with Windows, as is my case. Those three entries you gave me the links to address the case where Linux alone is installed in a machine.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

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      • #1435911 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Timeshift isn’t meant to be a full backup program.  As it is configured by default, it makes a file-based backup of the Linux system folders, but not the personal data in a given /home directory.  It’s more like Windows system restore… if the system gets messed up and won’t run properly, do a system restore to get back to when it did work, and it won’t mess with your personal files.  It is powerful and reliable enough to completely revert things like a version upgrade, like Mint 18.3 to 19.0.  I’ve done that sort of thing with it several times, and it works very well.

        Timeshift can be configured to back up anything else you want, including your /home, but be aware that a restore is all or nothing… you can’t use a Timeshift backup of everything to restore just the system data if that’s all you need.  Its purpose is stated in its name… so if you have it set to back up your /home, it will shift time back to where it was at the time of the backup, and that might not be what you want.  Or maybe it is what you want, in which case Timeshift will probably work nicely for you.

        Timeshift only backs up, and to, Linux volumes.  NTFS file systems have different permissions and features than Timeshift, and Timeshift (being a frontend for rsync or btrfs) makes substantial use of links that may not behave the same way in NTFS and a native Linux file system.  It won’t affect dual booting or harm Windows (it completely ignores NTFS volumes) in any way, so the articles that describe its use in a single-boot system still apply.

        One possible exception to this would be if you took a Timeshift snapshot before the dual-boot setup was in place and configured as you want it.  If you then restored that snapshot, it would revert all of the GRUB settings to what they were at the point of the backup.  This should not be an issue the vast majority of the time, as Windows usually gets installed first, then Linux, and after that, it just stays put.  Timeshift would not mess with that.  If the configuration of the dual boot is the same as when you took the Timeshift snapshot, you’re good to go.

        As you probably know, all of my daily use Linux PCs also have Windows on them still, in a GRUB-based dual boot setup, and I’ve used Timeshift quite a lot with good effect.  Windows still works… I do boot it every now and then to make sure it still works, and it always has.  Timeshift is a simple little program that works very well for what it does.  I’d rank it above System Restore for effectiveness… I’ve had System Restore fail during restoration so many times, but Timeshift has always been quite solid.

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    • #1458912 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      Ascaris, thank you for taking the time to explain the uses of Timeshift.

      About something you wrote:

      Timeshift can be configured to back up anything else you want, including your /home, but be aware that a restore is all or nothing… you can’t use a Timeshift backup of everything to restore just the system data if that’s all you need.  Its purpose is stated in its name… so if you have it set to back up your /home, it will shift time back to where it was at the time of the backup, and that might not be what you want.  Or maybe it is what you want, in which case Timeshift will probably work nicely for you. ”

      This, if I am reading it correctly, means that there is the option to use Timeshift to do the same thing as using Macrium Reflect, and create a complete image of the HD (or rather, the Linux part of it) that can then be used to recover everything in that image after a bad crash or system corruption by bad updates, malware, etc.

      If that is true, then one could make complete images of the Linux part, both data and system files, to recover everything that was there before a complete disk failure or some similarly dire event. Or, alternatively, to make just a system image to create the equivalent of a Windows restore point, in both cases on an external disk or USB flash drive. Is this right? Can Timeshift be used instead of Macrium Reflect or Veeam in most situations?

      I have a link between the Windows 7 and Linux Mint systems that I use to move files back and forth between them. On the monitor screen its icon looks like a  folder with an arrow on it. When doing a full data+system backup with Timeshift, should I do something about this link, to prevent Timeshift trying to back up also the Windows files, although they are in a different format than the Linux files, so that won’t work too well?

      Finally: If one has a restore point saved on an external hard disk, SSD or USB flash drive, and then creates a new one, does Timeshift first delete the previous restore point, or the previously saved image of the whole Linux part of the hard disk?

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

      • #1470942 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        This, if I am reading it correctly, means that there is the option to use Timeshift to do the same thing as using Macrium Reflect, and create a complete image of the HD (or rather, the Linux part of it) that can then be used to recover everything in that image after a bad crash or system corruption by bad updates, malware, etc.

        It doesn’t create a drive image.  It copies the files to another drive in the system somewhere.  You can specify an external drive which you can then unplug (though it will not work if you do scheduled updates, since it won’t be available), but not a remote network share.  It doesn’t compress the files, so a complete backup will take up more space than a Macrium or Veeam backup, and it’s not intended for bare-metal restorations. The author of the program states that it is not meant for this purpose, and says, “If you need a tool to backup your documents and files please take a look at the excellent BackInTime application which is more configurable and provides options for saving user files.”

        That’s not to say that Timeshift cannot perform this function.  It can perform a full backup or restore, but if you find that the system no longer boots and all you need is the equivalent of a Windows system restore, you can’t do that from Timeshift if you specified a full backup including the home directories.  It will restore the data files too, happily overwriting whatever you had there.

        Programs like Reflect or Veeam have rescue media that are intended to make the system bootable in the event of a catastrophic event, but Timeshift is intended to be used from the system itself.  There’s no Timeshift rescue media if things have gone so wrong that they’re not bootable.  This doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if the standard Linux startup fails… very often you are able to get to the Linux recovery mode (for Ubuntu and derivatives like Mint) from the GRUB menu and boot to the root command line.  You can use Timeshift from there, and while it does use the command line, Timeshift makes it easier than with a lot of command line tools.

        When the recovery mode starts, it gives a menu of options… attempt to make some space, check file systems with fsck, fix broken packages, update GRUB, start networking, and go to a root shell prompt.  It starts in read-only mode, so I first select the check the disk option, and it will ask if you want to mount the disks in read/write mode.  It will stay that way after fsck completes, so you can then use the root shell prompt option and not have to type any commands to go to read/write mode.

        From the command prompt, type “timeshift”, without the quotation marks of course, and it will display a list of the options available.  One of them is –list, which means to type “timeshift –list”, which will generate a list of the shapshots available, each numbered.  Decide which one you want to restore, then type “timeshift –restore n”, where n is the number of the snapshot you want to use.  Obviously, if you are using an external device to hold the snapshots, make sure it is plugged in before you ask it to list the restore points.

        After that, it will perform the restore, and all should be okay after that.

        If the entire system is borked to the point of not being bootable, it is possible to use a live session and invoke timeshift from there.  I’ve never tried this, so I don’t know about the caveats and limitations that may be present for this method.

        I do a lot of backups to a Windows network share, which is not something Timeshift can do.  It also can’t compress the backup image to save space or encrypt it to secure the data, both features that I consider important.

        I have a link between the Windows 7 and Linux Mint systems that I use to move files back and forth between them. On the monitor screen its icon looks like a folder with an arrow on it. When doing a full data+system backup with Timeshift, should I do something about this link, to prevent Timeshift trying to back up also the Windows files, although they are in a different format than the Linux files, so that won’t work too well?

        No, Timeshift won’t try to follow the link to the Windows files.  It copies only the directories in the filesystem that it is told to copy, which does not include any mount points that would be occupied by the Windows volume.  Even if you specifically tell it to back up the Windows location, it won’t do it.  I just tried it, and it did indeed ignore the mounted Windows partition even though I added it to the whitelist.

         

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

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        • #1479101 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Ascaris,

          Well… thank you again for taking the time and putting in the effort to write such a comprehensive and clear answer! I am sure that others will benefit equally from reading it as myself.

          There is one thing I think still need to understand better: It is clear to me now that Timeshift keeps the previous restore points created on the external HD (using the Windows terminology here), at least as long as there is room left in this hard disk (I bought yesterday a 4 TB one and labelled it “Timeshift”; it now makes a nice pair with the Mac’s “Time Machine” HD, also labelled accordingly). But does creating such an image wipe out other things, such as previously saved restore points (assuming there is enough space for everything still left on the external HD.) And if the answer is “no”, does a listing of the contents of the external HD, made through the Timeshift user’s interface, tell which items saved there are restore points and which are full partition images (data+system)? These might be a two naïve questions, but long experience has taught me that, surprisingly often, asking naïve questions gets some seriously informative and useful answers.

          Thanks again.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

          • #1481092 Reply

            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            Timeshift can use an external drive for the backups, but it doesn’t have to.

            Each run of Timeshift for backing up creates another “restore point,” if we were to use Windows terminology, and the date of each is clearly visible in the Timeshift interface, along with a description of the OS itself and a field where you can enter whatever comments you wish for each of them.  It doesn’t tell from there what has been backed up… there’s only one setting in Timeshift for what to back up and what to skip.  It’s not meant to be able to back up just the system in some snapshots and the full hard drive in others… it has one configuration, and that’s it.

            I’m really not sure what would happen if you did a backup just of the system directories, then removed /home from the exclusion list and ran it again, or if it would later be possible to restore the first snapshot and have your data in /home remain intact.  I think this calls for an experiment on my Core 2 Duo laptop to find out.

            Because Timeshift only copies files as opposed to creating a full drive image, you can always browse into the place where you have the backups and look at what is in each snapshot.  It’s all there, neatly duplicated, with only the first one having duplicates of all of the files that existed at the time that snapshot was taken.  Subsequent snapshots will have links to the files in the first snapshot where those files are still the same, and will copy the files into the snapshot only if they have changed or been added since the previous run.  You can still browse the files and see which ones are in there in any of the snapshots you have… the links behave like the files they link to, by design.  This is how rsync (the backend that is used by default, since most of us don’t use btrfs) works, with Timeshift just adding a nice, user-friendly interface.

            Things like being able to choose at restoration time what gets restored are features of regular backup programs, like Reflect or Veeam.  I’ve just discovered some disappointing info about Veeam, by the way… it also only has one configuration for all backups, in all but the server version, which costs a small fortune each year.  Even the enterprise-targeted workstation edition only has one backup job configuration for local or LAN-based backups!  The idea that this would only be needed for servers is just absurd.  I’m just a home user, and I need at least three distinct backup jobs per PC, with more preferred.

            It’s still a good tool, fast and effective, but it’s intentionally handicapped by its developer in a way that makes very little sense to me.  I can understand having a paid edition that has more features than the free one, like how Reflect free can’t do incremental or encrypted backups while the consumer-level paid edition can, but there’s no consumer-level paid product from Veeam.  The next step up is the $400 a year workstation edition, and even that doesn’t have the feature I want.  I put in a feature request on their forum, but it seems unlikely they would change this.  The dev over there seems incredulous whenever someone in the forum mentions using Linux on the desktop, like it’s something that is nearly unheard of.  I tried to get an estimate for how many PCs are in service globally, and the best estimate I could find was 1.5 billion PCs.  With 2 percent of the desktop market, that would mean there are 30 million people running Linux on the desktop.  You’re bound to run into one of us every now and then with numbers like that, even if Windows market share is 45 times greater.

            If the reason for this limitation is about trying to prevent people from using the free edition on servers, there has to be a better way.  It’s still the best Linux backup program I know of, but it does mean that my search for the holy grail goes on.

            That said, though, you can take a full backup on Veeam and choose to only restore one of the partitions.  In Timeshift, there are no restore options… you pick the restore point you want and it restores whatever was in it.

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

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            • #1482394 Reply

              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              Ascaris, Thanks again. It is good to know about that unhelpful peculiarity of Veeam you have found. It could be that its developers are focused mainly on software for use in servers because, as Willy Sutton once famously (did not) say about robbing banks: “That is where the money is”?

              In any case, I think that I am going to use Timeshift to make restore points for the Linux Mint side of my dual-personality PC, and Macrium for making and saving disk images of both its Windows and the Linux side. That, of course, means getting one more external storage medium to take care of Macrium.

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

            • #1492785 Reply

              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              Okay, I’ve done some more testing on my Core 2 Duo (Mint 19) laptop.

              I created a Timeshift backup with the default settings, so it didn’t back up the /home folder.  I then changed the settings so that it would back up my /home (only my home, not all users’ home) and performed another backup.  I changed the desktop wallpaper to mark the home folder, so to speak, then performed a restoration of the first snapshot (note that I am using “snapshot” a little loosely, for want of a better term… it’s a file-based snapshot, not a snapshot in the sense of a LVM snapshot).  The wallpaper was still the same as the one I had changed it to, meaning that it did not do anything with my /home folder, which is what I would have thought would be the case, but I couldn’t be sure, as Timeshift was not meant to be used in that way.

              I restored again with the second restore point, the one that had /home backed up, and the wallpaper was back to the original, so it had restored /home.

              It’s a pretty rough test, using only one wallpaper setting to signify whether the home directory had been restored, but there’s no reason to believe it would not be that way, given how well Timeshift has worked before for me.

              What this means is that it should be possible to use Timeshift to create backups just of the system and also full backups of the system and home directories.  You’ll need to set a comment to remind yourself which is which, ideally right after the backup is made, but it looks like you will be able to use it in the manner you wish.

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

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            • #1495708 Reply

              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              Ascaris,

              Thanks for clarifying, via experiment, the extent of what can be done with Timeshift.

              As you, and everyone here already knows quite well, I am an antisocial individual, so I only have created a home directory for myself, and no one else is welcomed to join me in my computer. Or even to get too close to it.

              So, again based on your experimental results, I’ll probably be able to use Timeshift to make a full system + data files backup to restore with it the Linux side of my Windows 7 + Linux Mint 19.1 machine, in case of some dire failure of the operating system and, or the hardware — or at least so I hope based on how I understand what you wrote.

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

            • #1502330 Reply

              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              Yes, it looks like it should work, but don’t get mad at me if it doesn’t!  I’m on record suggesting other backup programs for that purpose, and I’ve never tested Timeshift from a bare-metal perspective.  The author of Timeshift himself says that it is possible to restore a Timeshift backup from the live session if it is not possible to boot the existing Linux, and it can be set to restore /home, so one can conclude that such a restoration is possible, but there could be unknown factors that complicate it that we’re not seeing ’cause we haven’t tried it yet.  Veeam is free and easy to use, so you could always use it in addition to your Timeshift-based “main” strategy, or if you’re going to be using Reflect in Windows anyway, just do the Linux volumes too (which is what I think you said you wanted to do anyway).  That way, you’ve got redundancy in backups, which is always a plus.

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

              2 users thanked author for this post.
            • #1503627 Reply

              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              Ascaris, about Veeam you wrote a while ago: ” I’ve just discovered some disappointing info about Veeam, by the way… it also only has one configuration for all backups, in all but the server version, which costs a small fortune each year.

              Does this mean that with the free version one can either create only recovery points or only images of the Linux partition, the data and system files, but not both on the same hard disk or SSD?

               

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

            • #1516317 Reply

              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              Does this mean that with the free version one can either create only recovery points or only images of the Linux partition, the data and system files, but not both on the same hard disk or SSD?

              No, you can set it to back up as much or as little as you want in the one profile you are allowed to make.  You just can’t create more profiles (or “jobs,” as Veeam calls them).

              Each backup job consists of the volumes that will be in the backup (which can be all of the Linux partitions across multiple drives if you wish), the place they will be backed up to, the options (like having encryption enabled, for example), and whether it will be done on a schedule or just when you manually start it.  On any other backup program I’ve seen, you can set as many of these as you wish.

              When I was using the free version of Aomei Backupper for Windows, I had one such profile for backing up all of the Windows and Linux volumes to my backup server on my SMB network, and another with the same volumes in the backup, but where my external USB HDD was the target.  I had a third profile where I only backed up the Linux volumes to the SMB server, since I was not using Windows much, and the older Windows backup would suffice.

              In Veeam, you only get one such “job.”  It doesn’t mean you can’t do what I’d done with the three profiles, but it would be necessary to go in and edit the settings of the backup job each time rather than just select the one you want and go.  That might not be so bad if it didn’t also preclude making incremental backups… it appears only to remember the existence of existing full backups or backup chains for the last job that was completed, so if you edit the job characteristics and point it at an existing full backup, it still “can’t find” the full backup and so it creates a new full backup, which wastes space and time.

              As soon as I got done writing that paragraph above, before I submitted this message, I decided to check back at the Veeam forum to see if my request had an answer, and it did!  The Veeam project manager responded that he’d (guessing he; he goes by a first initial, so I can’t be sure, but the writing style seems male to me) just tried it and got incrementals each time, but that the name of the target folder (the hostname and backup job name) had to be the same, or it would not be able to find it.  I’d changed it, so that was why it created a new full backup each time.

              What this means is that you still only get one profile (job), but you can edit it each time you want to change something, and as long as you keep the name of the job the same, it will recognize and use the full backups.  That makes this limitation a lot less painful.

              The Veeam person said he’d mention it to the dev team, so maybe they will agree that this isn’t a feature that necessarily goes with enterprise servers only.

               

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    • #1475210 Reply

      JohnW
      AskWoody Plus

      Here is a helpful description from Acronis regarding the difference between file level backups and disk images. I believe this info would apply to any major imaging solution:

      A file backup is a copy of files. A disk or partition image is a snapshot of the drive

      This article applies to:

          All Acronis backup products

      Description

      A backup is a copy of selected files, folders or information stored on disks.

      When you back up files and folders, only the data and folder tree are compressed and stored.

      Disk/partition backups are different from file and folder backups. Acronis product stores a sector-by-sector snapshot of the disk. This includes the operating system, registry, drivers, software applications data files, and system areas hidden from the user. This procedure is called “creating a disk image,” and the resulting backup is often called a disk/partition image.

      By default Acronis product stores only the hard disk parts that contain data (for supported file systems).

      https://kb.acronis.com/content/13474

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    • #1475956 Reply

      Rick Corbett
      AskWoody_MVP

      In the context of this discussion, I have been looking for information that could be useful for making larger the scroll bars and window sizing buttons, etc.

      I had the same issue and found that the problem is two-fold: 1) the Window border controls (the ‘min/max/exit’ buttons) are fixed-size SVG images rather than resizable objects and; 2) the default Cinnamon install includes only 3 styles of buttons in the default themes.

      You can increase the visibility of the buttons easily just by increasing the text size:

      1. Click Menu > Preferences > Accessibility.
      2. On the Visual tab, slide the Large text switch to ON:

      cinnamon-text-size

      This will increase the size of the title bar text but will also slightly increase the size of the buttons.

      If that’s not sufficient then the next easiest method is to download additional themes that include different style Window borders and – specifically – larger buttons.

      You can test your own install by:

      1. Click Menu > Preferences > Themes.

      2. On the Themes tab, click on the picture in Window borders to see the default 3 Window borders styles:

      cinnamon-default-buttons

      Now compare these with the following additional Window borders styles, especially the Atlanta and Mint-Y-BB styles (the BB stands for Big Buttons):

      cinnamon-additional-buttons

      Getting these additional Window borders styles is incredibly easy, can be accomplished in minutes and takes only 3 commands in Terminal to download and install these particular additional themes. If you would like them, do this:

      1. Exit the Themes utility, if running.

      2. Open Terminal from the panel.

      3. Copy/paste/enter the following 3 commands in turn:

      wget https://github.com/smurphos/Window_Borders_Mint_19/releases/download/v.0.7/metacity_for_mint19_cinn.zip
      
      unzip -o metacity_for_mint19_cinn.zip -d ~/.themes
      
      rm metacity_for_mint19_cinn.zip

      (the 3rd command is just to tidy up by removing the ZIP file downloaded by the first Terminal command).

      4. Re-open the Themes utility and click on the picture alongside Window borders to see the additional button styles.

      That’s it.

      If there are styles that you just don’t like then you can open Home from the desktop, make sure Show Hidden Files is on (from the View menu… or just use CTRL+H) then navigate to  the .themes folder. Inside the folder you will see folders for each of the new themes you just downloaded. Delete any you don’t like… or to revert to the default Cinnamon install just delete them all.

      Hope this helps… sorry I can’t help with the size of the scrollbars.

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      • #1482805 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        SVG images are vector images that are designed for scaling.  If you change parameters within the theme that increase the height of the titlebar, the images will probably be rendered larger.  It just takes editing the theme, which not everyone is going to do, of course.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

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      • #1548913 Reply

        Charlie
        AskWoody Plus

        Thank you very much Rick. Those Window Borders are what I was looking for.  I especially like the “Metabox”.  It all worked like a charm.

        Win 7 Home Premium, x64, Intel i3-2120 3.3GHz, Groups B & L

    • #1479541 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      Rick Corbett,

      Many thanks for taking the trouble of providing such a clear and comprehensive guide to bigger and better windows-sizing buttons — and maybe also fatter, nicer scroll bars? (Actually that is only a problem in those windows open on the Mint Desktop, those open on Web pages, such as the Woody’s one I am typing this in now, still have their own nice scroll bars available, in case someone might be reading too much into this issue of thin (and even jumpy) scroll bars.)

      Your entry should be of universal interest among all Linux Mint users (and probably of Linux users in general, I might also add; this is not a new issue in Linux, by any means) suffering from the tiny size of objects on the Desktop, of which, obviously from what others have written here, I am not the only one

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

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    • #1480523 Reply

      Rick Corbett
      AskWoody_MVP

      @oscarcp – to help make the scrollbars of Cinnamon’s windows more visible, try this:

      1. Click Menu > Preferences > Effects.

      2. Slide the Overlay scroll bars (logout required) switch to OFF:

      cinnamon-scrollbar-overlay

      This will turn off the overlay effect that slims the scrollbar to pencil-thin when not being used.

      2. Log out then back in again to see the difference.

      Hope this helps…

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    • #1515724 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      And now for something completely different:

      I was testing some Linux software I got from a colleague in Germany. First try, it didn’t run, because it was for an x32 architecture and my PC is x64. Then I got the x64, and it run OK.

      I then decided to go back to my Mac, that I use to do my mails these days, to send the colleague the news about this success.

      When I was done and picked up the PC again, I shook it a bit (not hard at all) and…

      The  Mint Desktop flipped 180 degrees clockwise!!!

      There was no widget in sight for “turning Desktop 180 degrees counterclockwise” (but, really, there should be!). So I decided to restart the machine to see if that fixed the problem. Then I had a really interesting time moving the pointer, first to the Mint 19.1 equivalent of the “Start” button, then in there to click “Restart”. Because I had to move to the left to get the cursor to move to the right, and up to make it move down, etc. And, as it turned out, I am not very good at doing that.

      After I, eventually, managed to restart the machine, everything was back to normal, with the Desktop in its usual orientation once more.

      Question: Anyone has any idea of why this happened?

      The machine has some kind of inertial sensors to detect sharp movements and protect the HD, so they must have been involved, somehow. But the Windows 7 Pro, x64 side of this PC has never done this in the nearly eight years I’ve been using Windows. So this looks like a Mint thing.

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

      • #1516492 Reply

        anonymous

        Hi Oscar. That is interesting. Go to your keyboard and try Ctrl, Alt and the arrow key (left, right or down) and see if it changes the screen. Could that be what happened?

        What PC or tablet are you using? Could you have a orientation aware monitor?

        Nice going Oscar. Keep us informed.

        • #1518133 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Well, yes, I thought so too (“interesting”) Now I have the PC in question nicely asleep in its place on its rug, so I don’t want to disturb it. It’s been through enough already, today.

          I’ll keep in mind your suggestion, in case this ever happens again, but I really hope it is not necessary. And in answer to one of your questions: Yes, as I wrote above, the machine has inertial sensors to detect sharp movements that might potentially harm the spinning platters of its hard disk.

          In answer to your other question: The PC is an HP Pavilion dv6t laptop that was top of the line in 2011, when I bought it, with 3/4 TB of HD, 8 GB of RAM, a big 16″ or so screen, x64 architecture, four-core (8 virtual processors) Intel I-7 CPU, etc., etc. It has been running Win 7 Pro, SP1 since I bought it, and it still does, but now in dual-boot with Mint. So it has had to shed some of the HD space it had occupied for so long, to let Mint fit in there as well.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

          • #1519998 Reply

            anonymous

            Hi Again Oscar, Thanks for answering. Yes I didn’t look “7+3/4 year-old HP Pavilion dv6t laptop.”

            “the machine has inertial sensors to detect sharp movements that might potentially harm the spinning platters of its hard disk.” That is nice.

            “Now I have the PC in question nicely asleep in its place on its rug, so I don’t want to disturb it. ” Are you sure it is asleep? You might want to go over and kick it and find out. But wait, I remember a situation or story from some guy ohhhh let’s see I think it was a guy named Gary Larson (C) that had a story of a guy in the hospital and it went something like this.

            A guy bandaged from head to toe and his friend are in the hospital with the Doctor. The man eluded that he was walking through the woods and saw this big gorilla that appeared to be either dead or sleeping. So to find out he kicked him.

            So Oscar be forewarned that if you do kick that laptop to see if it is asleep you better be ready to run!

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            • #1522653 Reply

              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              Well, Anonymous, since you asked, I am answering you here, in full expectation that your entry and this answer will be both swiftly deleted by the SysAdmin on patrol, because of lack of relevance. So I hope you are back soon enough to read it before it is gone to wherever entries go when they get wiped out here.

              Answer: My PC, dead or alive, is always very nice and I would never kick it in a million years.

              I like my PC and my PC likes me. So we’ve always got along just fine and I want to keep it this way.

              There: how is that for an answer?

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

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            • #1544220 Reply

              anonymous

              Hi Oscar, That is a good answer. And good attitude. I was hoping for a bit more comedy such as “I will keep the back door open to run through” or similar but good answer.

              Seriously, the next time it happens, or if you start experimenting, try Ctrl, Alt and the arrow key(s) (left, right, up or down) and see if it changes the screen. UP should be normal mode.

              “There was no widget in sight for “turning Desktop 180 degrees counterclockwise” (but, really, there should be!).” I did see some HPs have that sensor.

              Disable rotation sensor on laptop
              https://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Notebooks-Archive-Read-Only/Disable-rotation-sensor-on-laptop/m-p/6044467#M222202

              Control panel – Appearance and personalization – Display – Screen resolution – Check the box near the bottom that says “ALLOW THE SCREEN TO AUTOROTATE.”

              See if you have that setting.

              Thanks Oscar.

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            • #1546938 Reply

              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              Hi there, and thanks for those tips. I’ll see what I can do using them.

              As to “ALLOW THE SCREEN TO AUTOROTATE”, I think that is already off (it should be set “off”, right?), but I’ll have another look after I get off the Mac. Where I take care of my daily emails and do other things, such as my daily pontificating at Woody’s, or even writing code (I like the keyboard of the Mac better, and the fact that macOS is Unix, sort of)

              So, until then, the PC shall continue to sleep, comfy on its rug.

              I promise to keep you posted at unpredictable times.

              Well, that was a while ago. Now the PC is fully awake and I have started it on Linux Mint. Tried your suggestions, but no luck: when pressing Ctrl+Alt+Arrow (Left, Right) the machine made a “Hooosh!” sound and one of these two watermark-like legends, in large letters, came up: Left arrow: “Work Space No. 1”, or Right arrow: “Work Space No. 2”, whatever that means. Then all went back to normal. When I tried the same, but using the “UP” key, nothing at all happened. Disappointing, yes; but there you have it.

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

            • #1555051 Reply

              anonymous

              Hi Oscar, “pressing Ctrl+Alt+Arrow (Left, Right) the machine made a “Hooosh!” sound”
              Well … WOW. That was an unexpected result. Everything is different.

              “Work Space No. 1”, or Right arrow: “Work Space No. 2″, whatever that means.”

              Found a site that may help out, keyboard shortcuts mint.

              https://www.lifewire.com/complete-list-of-linux-mint-4064592

            • #1557666 Reply

              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              And there you are again! I just clicked on your link and went in there to see what that was all about. And discovered that Cinnamon has clicks to do all sort of fooling around with the windows on the desktop. Interestingly, if what is says there is true, one can even make a movie-like recording of what is on the screen — like the latest Netflix video you are sent to Siberia if you ever dare make a copy of just a single frame in your computer? Really? Tell me more!

              But when it comes to making those tiny screen buttons and skinny scroll bars more human-sized? Nothing!

              Well, I’ve read somewhere that “Cinnamon” is some disguise of GNOME. I saw a GNOME desktop for the first time some twenty plus years ago and thought to myself: Man, those buttons are so TINY! And those scroll bars are so SKINNY!

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

    • #1554408 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      On the topic of desktop environments, some of which have been mentioned repeatedly here, I think this is a link that may not have been made available already in some previous post:

      https://www.lifewire.com/best-linux-desktop-environments-4120912

      It is to a site that might have some reasonably up-to-date information on the various types of Linux desktop that have been discussed here. I think it might be useful to those that, like me, are not yet familiar with this subject.

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

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    • #1644483 Reply

      OscarCP
      AskWoody Plus

      This is about those hyperthread bugs and their possible exploitation by bad actors, that has been just revealed, although they have been known to be around since last year, as it turns out. They affect Intel chips, that are the ones used in all computers running Windows, macOS and Linux. Both MS and Apple have released updates (patches) for their respective systems to protect against these threats.

      I have this question, and the hope someone here might know the answer: What is being done on the Linux front (Mint in particular) to deal with these threats?

      Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

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      • #1644647 Reply

        LHiggins
        AskWoody Plus

        Good question! I’ll be looking forward to an answer. Hopefully Linux is not affected by it! Thanks for asking!

    • #1645257 Reply

      anonymous

      ? says:

      i dunno what “mint,” does, this is another reason i run “ubuntu,”

      https://usn.ubuntu.com/

      just had kernel security patches and one on the 14th specifically  for “intel,”:

      https://usn.ubuntu.com/3977-1/

      all easily handled through “synaptic-package-manager” customized with “deborphan.”

      • #1646359 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Mint (like the distro I use, Neon) does exactly what Ubuntu does for the low-level stuff like this, as it uses the Ubuntu repositories for the updates.  When Ubuntu pushes out a new kernel, a microcode update, a GRUB update, or any other thing like that, Mint and Neon (and any other distro that uses the Ubuntu repos) get it at the same time as Ubuntu.

        I received the microcode update on May 14th:

        Muon update screenshot

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      • #1646597 Reply

        OscarCP
        AskWoody Plus

        Yes, those are the patches for the hyperthread bugs.

        Compare the CVE-related patches released for Ubuntu, from the link in previous post by anonymous: https://usn.ubuntu.com/3977-1/

        To these listed here:

        https://www.csoonline.com/article/3395458/the-second-meltdown-new-intel-cpu-attacks-leak-secrets.html

        • CVE-2018-12126 — microarchitectural store buffer data sampling (MSBDS)
        • CVE-2018-12127 — microarchitectural load port data sampling (MLPDS)
        • CVE-2018-12130 — microarchitectural fill buffer data sampling (MFBDS)
        • CVE-2019-11091 — microarchitectural data sampling uncacheable

        Has anyone here already patched Linux and noticed a 40% decrease in the speed of their machine that I have seen mentioned in relation to the “suppression of hyperthreading”, supposedly the ultimate remedy for these bugs — and perhaps also the remedy implemented with the new patches for Linux?

        The following article, for example, although it is specifically about dealing with the bugs in Apple’s macOS, is relevant to Linux, because it is about the effect of applying the ultimate remedy regardless of OS, the  “nuclear option” of disabling hyperthreading (intended to make computers run faster and also at the root of the present problems) in the Intel chips in any computers that run at least one of the three most widely used systems: Windows, macOS or Linux:

        https://www.tomsguide.com/us/apple-disable-hyper-threading-zombieload,news-30088.html

        Another view, more reassuring — or more sanguine? — here:

        https://www.pcworld.com/article/3395439/intel-hyper-threading-zombieload-cpu-exploit.html

        Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

        • #1654888 Reply

          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          Well, duh. Yes, it’s not unexpected that anything which causes hyperthreading to be suppressed might cause a performance penalty of about that magnitude on Linux, for some workloads – after all, it was about that much of an increase in performance for some workloads back when the feature was new and unoptimized, already…

          But extreme cases aren’t really that interesting for a general-purpose user. Average numbers are rather harder to find as of yet, though…

          And I also note that aside from specific details, all this is last year’s news. https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=OpenBSD-Disabling-SMT

          … or even older if you’d happen to listen to certain other people…

          • #1661403 Reply

            OscarCP
            AskWoody Plus

            Well, that is pretty drastic action of the freeBSD developers. It surely shall remove any possibility of the hyper-threading vulnerabilities being exploited if there is no hyper-threading allowed (“nuclear option”).

            Now, any news of what is available, or brewing on the Linux side (Ubuntu/Mint/Kubuntu, etc. in particular)?

            A couple of weeks ago I installed a number of updates that showed up for Mint 19.1, and among these were several for “kernel” this or that. I wonder if at least a subset of these were to take care of Intel chips’ hyper-threading vulnerabilities? Does anyone know something about this?

            Whatever those updates were for, I have not noticed any performance slow downs. But, then again, I am not yet doing anything requiring high performance on the Linux side of my PC (with dual boot in Win 7 or Mint).

             

            Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

            • #1662207 Reply

              Fred
              AskWoody Plus

              Mint 18 (18.3, I believe) 32bit at a very slow netbook with the limit minimum of ram, was lowed down too much; had to restore the kernel driver.

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            • #1714346 Reply

              mn–
              AskWoody Lounger

              Not FreeBSD.
              OpenBSD is the very much security-focused member of the BSD family (“It’s not paranoia when you can prove they really are out to get you”…)

              That kind of thing is very much in character for OpenBSD.

              On Linux – I did notice a line about MDS mitigations being active on last reboot, but haven’t had time to run benchmarks yet myself. Phoronix does have some though. https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=mds-zombieload-mit
              (Funnily enough, on some benchmarks the latest i9-9900 processor was the worst affected, even when for real-life loads it should be one of the Intel processors where the differences should be least visible.)

            • #1718947 Reply

              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              Thanks mn- , but I might confess that I find the bar plots with the results of the “phoronics” tests pretty confusing: It would seem that with no mitigations results are pretty good most of the time, even better than the “unmitigated” scores, assuming a lower score means a better result (does it?)

              It is also a pity that it starts with 7 cores and goes up to 9, so I might guess that my “hyperthreaded” 4-core old “sandy bridge” CPU probably is somewhat worse than those CPUs tested, but by how much?

              If the performance with my old PC’s hardware is anywhere close to that, then I probably could live quite well with most of the slowdown  percentages shown there, as they are mostly about socket/ports access and user/application interactions. The programs I write, I launch them, they mostly run all by themselves without my having to interact with them at all, other than, maybe at the very start, to give some of them the name of a file with data to be processed, let’s say, and often even with no user interaction at all. Also mostly they have nothing to do with making TCP/IP connections with other users, to the Web or, more generally, to the Internet. The only exceptions are software I use to download data from university or government Web sites, or to do real-time processing of data received from distant sources (as far as Antarctica).

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

          • #1708520 Reply

            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            It would also depend on the hardware in question.  If you have a dual-core i3 with hyperthreading, resulting in four virtual cores, it would quite possibly have a significant impact to eliminate two of the virtual cores.  For an i9 with 8 cores (sixteen virtual cores with HT on), it would probably not be noticeable for most people.  It would depend on whether the workload in question was “embarrassingly parallelizable,” which most aren’t.

            Things like video editing, protein folding, or cryptocurrency mining would be highly parallelizable, but most people who do the latter two at least would be using GPUs or dedicated hardware for such workloads.

             

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            • #1709601 Reply

              OscarCP
              AskWoody Plus

              Ascaris, tanks for your comments.

              My PC has a 2.3 GHz, x64, I-7 CPU ca. 2011 with four cores and 8 virtual ones. So that might help if one of those recent Mint “kernel” updates I mentioned were to eliminate hyperthreading. However, my true heavy-duty runs are mostly of the highly “parallelizable” software I write (even when I do that mostly in sequential form — brain and time available being really insufficient for more), when using the compiler’s “parallelizing” option to optimize the executable’s run time.

              And while we are at it: Are there any Mint (or Mint-usable Linux) updates that are intended to immunize against all those possible future hyperthreading malicious exploits we have been, and still are, told to maybe worry about if we have “Intel Inside”?

              Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

            • #1723136 Reply

              mn–
              AskWoody Lounger

              Well… actually most workloads are parallelizable enough to be noticeable, nowadays.

              I mean, things like filesystem access can often involve multiple kernel threads already, even before you add disk encryption (at least one more thread per, and it’s a compute-intensive one too. Kernel thread if it’s the standard LUKS, userspace if it’s a fusermount implementation.)

              Or graphics access… you have the application, then the display server (X or Wayland), then possibly compositor, then there’s a renderer thread, and…

              If you’re playing sound, it’s a minimum of 2 threads too – one in the driver (kernel), one in the application – but more likely you have an audio broker in the path too, possibly more than one. (Pulseaudio is the usual one, but if you’re doing anything more demanding there’s probably jackd in there as well.)

              Ascaris, tanks for your comments.

              My PC has a 2.3 GHz, x64, I-7 CPU ca. 2011 with four cores and 8 virtual ones. So that might help if one of those recent Mint “kernel” updates I mentioned were to eliminate hyperthreading. However, my true heavy-duty runs are mostly of the highly “parallelizable” software I write (even when I do that mostly in sequential form — brain and time available being really insufficient for more), when using the compiler’s “parallelizing” option to optimize the executable’s run time.

              And while we are at it: Are there any Mint (or Mint-usable Linux) updates that are intended to immunize against all those possible future hyperthreading malicious exploits we have been, and still are, told to maybe worry about if we have “Intel Inside”?

              Assuming Mint gets approximately the same kernel updates as Ubuntu, Hyperthreading doesn’t get disabled by default but the less drastic methods do get enabled. And mitigation controls were documented for the kernel command line, including the one to disable HT…

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            • #1725226 Reply

              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              Well… actually most workloads are parallelizable enough to be noticeable, nowadays. I mean, things like filesystem access can often involve multiple kernel threads already, even before you add disk encryption (at least one more thread per, and it’s a compute-intensive one too. Kernel thread if it’s the standard LUKS, userspace if it’s a fusermount implementation.)

              Certainly I am not suggesting there’s no benefit in multicore CPUs… but while all of the above is true, it doesn’t mean that such processing can just continue in parallel infinitely on such tasks.  It is often the case that given processes or threads have to wait for the result of another thread or process before it can continue. It doesn’t negate the benefits of multiple cores, of course, but limits the benefit of just piling more and more cores in there compared to tasks that are extremely parallel by nature.

              As for Luks and file I/O, the CPU utilization I’ve seen is so tiny that I can barely see any difference between doing reads and writes on my encrypted data volume and my unencrypted one, both Ext4, and that’s on my Intel Atom-based Pentium N4200 in my Acer Swift, hardly a barn-burner in performance.  I had initially been using the self-encrypting function of the SSD in the Swift with the SATA password, until I realized that the abysmal Insyde firmware has a “feature” where it gives the attacker the keys to discovering the password if they enter it wrong three times.

              I was reluctant to go to a software encryption setup, but the impact is really quite small.

              Remember that my example for “most people probably won’t notice” HT being off was an octocore i9… you already have eight actual cores at your disposal in that case, and that’s still overkill for the majority of day to day tasks.  In my own case, I don’t notice any difference in perceived speed on my Sandy Bridge i5-2500k (obviously, 4 core, no HT) in my desktop and my i7-8750H (six-core, HT, 12 logical cores) in my Dell G3 in everyday CPU-bound tasks (same OS, same amount of RAM, both with SSDs for the root device, though the i7 has NVMe x4, while the i5 has SATA).

              I/O bottlenecked tasks, of course, are noticeably faster on the i7 because of its speedy SSD, but even then, the “seat of the pants” speed boost from the NVMe drive as opposed to the SATA drive was less than I expected it to be.  The real difference is that accessing the rust spinner on the i5 makes me feel like a mouse trying to run through a glue trap. People tend to focus on the peak throughput numbers on SSDs, and while they are impressive, it’s the 4k random r/w I am more interested in, and the hard drives having to physically seek all the time when doing random I/O is the big performance killer.

              My i5 is overclocked conservatively (in terms of voltages added) to 4500 MHz, but the IPC on the Coffee Lake is higher, and it can reach 4100 for short periods (it’s in a gaming laptop with a decent cooling system as laptops go, but it does throttle under sustained heavy loads like Prime95 with 12 threads).  On the highly parallel workloads used in CPU benchmarks, the 8750H mops the floor with the 2500k, but they both feel the same to me in regular use.  The ironically-named Swift, on the other hand…

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.17.0).

            • #1726801 Reply

              mn–
              AskWoody Lounger

              Actually happened to run into an issue yesterday that caused [dmcrypt_write] to show silly load numbers. Not much actual writes to disk though but plenty of i/o queue on LUKS and nowhere else…

              Turned out to be a particularly badly behaved application on top of btrfs on top of encrypted LVM, on a SSHD.

    • #1726118 Reply

      access-mdb
      AskWoody MVP

      Isn’t it time that this thread was closed and that every question has its own thread with a meaningful subject? The subject on this is ‘a question…’, but there’s now been many questions. It doesn’t help to search for specific subjects when there’s no reflection of them in the subject.

      Just my two pennyworth

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      • #1726796 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        Indeed, that was my intent when I suggested posting a new topic from another thread. It’s always a good idea to post any question under a new title so that it can be differentiated from the rest and easily found in the topics list of the forum, rather than having a single topic that acts as a catch-all.

        On the other hand, though, “organic” discussions that appear like this still appear in search results that search the text of the message, and may end up at times having some info that might not have appeared otherwise, since no one would have thought to ask it directly had the topic not “gone” there.  I know I’ve searched the web for help with many topics in the past, and a lot of the time the “topic creep” answers were the ones I was looking for.

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        • #1727877 Reply

          OscarCP
          AskWoody Plus

          Ascaris and access-mdb:

          I am open to suggestions on the “one thread or many” question. Since, so far as I can remember, at least, I have been the one initiating a new discussion with a new question, maybe the thread could be renamed: “OscarCP questions about Linux (Mint)?

          Hmmm… On second thought: if it was called that, probably no one, other than me, will ever come visiting.

          Windows 7 Professional, SP1, x64 Group B & macOS + Linux (Mint) => Win7 Group W(?) + Mac&Lx

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          • #1729012 Reply

            Elly
            AskWoody MVP

            New questions, unless they involve clarifying or directly expanding the original topic, are better posted separately… and they should have a title that is specific to that particular question, in order to assist people who are searching for a particular solution or discussion of a particular topic of interest… whether they are using the Lounge Search, or another search engine.

            Discussions can be nice, but there is a lot of frustration in trying to understand what went wrong and how to fix it, where people are in no mood to ramble off topic… (been there, needed specificity, and needed it quick)… and in general, if the title reflects the question, it is a lot easier to spot and utilize it for reference in the future.

            There is some really detailed, good info in this thread… but harder to find… just saying…

            Win 7 Home, 64 bit, Group B

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