“First steps in Linux Mint” – this is a continuation of our article “Easy replacement for Windows XP part 1”.
XFCE desktop should run flawlessly with the old hardware. Once logged in, you will see displayed a fairly simple desktop. XP users can quickly orient themselves.
Located at the bottom of the Taskbar is the “Start” menu. In the “Settings | Display” adjust the screen resolution. If at this stage there were problems, it means that the automatic integration of the graphics card has failed. Do not worry. Go to the menu «System | Driver Manager», and from the list of video drivers, select the one that is marked with the word “recommended”, and then click “Apply Changes”. Reboot the system. If the driver for the Wi-Fi module was not installed automatically, it can be set through the “Driver Manager”.
The rest of the work with Mint should not pose difficulties for users of Windows XP. Access to the main program is via the “Start” menu. If you do not remember where an application is located, it has a search function. For example, if you enter query “th” you should immediately see the email client Thunderbird. Frequently used software is located in the “Favorites” folder or can be placed on the taskbar by right-clicking on the program icon and selecting the appropriate option.
To install new applications, use the “Program Manager.” Begin from the “System”, “Manager” offers, where you will find tens of thousands of applications sorted by category “Internet”, “Audio and Video”, “Graphics”, “Games”, and so on. There is also a “Search” feature available. Enter, for example, “Skype”, and you will immediately be redirected to the installation package for the client.
Most of the usual Windows-based applications have fully functional counterparts in Linux Mint. They may be named differently. To find the most suitable program for you, just like with Windows, the easiest way is to access the Internet. Enter in the search engines, for example, “Linux Mint alternative to Photoshop” or “Linux Mint better photo editor”. Numerous discussion forums may help you select the application with an optimal set of features.
Instead “Linux Mint” when searching, you can use the term “Ubuntu”. This is the second most popular Linux distribution, and a close relative of Mint, and thus has a very active community that can help you.
So you’ve found a program that you wanted. Copy the name into the “Program Manager” and set “Use Defaults” specified previously. Installation is through the manager, and not from the Internet, which has two important advantages.
First, it is the official source for checking the integrity of the package. That is to say, in the installed program there will be no malicious code or other unpleasant surprises.
Second, these applications are centrally installed applications and will be updated centrally maintained, together with the entire system. It is comfortable and important for the safety of your computer. When they are available, updates will be indicated by the icon in the lower right corner of the screen. “Update Manager” can be run manually at any time from the menu “System”.
To go to the folder where your files are stored, click on the third icon from the bottom left corner. In the menu that appears, click on the icon of the house, next to which is written your username. This opens the usual file manager window. In it you will find your home directory, with already prepared folders for different types of files such as Documents, Music, Videos, Pictures, and so on, all looking very familiar to XP users.
Access to USB, and other plug-in drives, requires the former Windows user to rebuild their perceptions slightly. Within Linux, you will not find disk drives designated by letter. Instead, Mint simply adds all the storage media to one directory tree (on the right side of the file manager). When you connect an external drive, or insert a DVD, the system automatically mounts them and then clearly states this.
Concern for the safety needed in Linux
It is said that working with Linux eliminates the need to worry about viruses and hacker attacks. This is not strictly true – it is a common misconception. Certainly, Linux is much less vulnerable to intruders than the operating system from Microsoft – and even more so than an old Windows XP installation. However, it is prudent to follow certain rules for safety reasons.
We have already mentioned two main elements of protection. First is a strong password. It must be given when installing new programs, upgrading, or performing maintenance which affects some other parts or services of the system. That password is your first line of defence to prevent an attacker from gaining control of your system remotely, and even stops someone with direct access to your PC from implementing a malicious program. The second element is regular updates. Especially in the Linux Mint OS itself, where this procedure is simple and obvious.
Additional security measures you could take would be to install a package of security applications: Firewall (required), as well as Anti-virus, Anti-spyware and Anti-rootkit.
We also recommend the applications: Gufw, ClamTK, chkrootkit and rkhunter, respectively. Note that the last two utilities work from the command line. To launch them in the “Start” menu, open the “System | Terminal | XFCE”. When that window opens, type the name of the program and press Enter.
- Linux Mint – is an elegant, easy to use, up to date and comfortable GNU/Linux desktop distribution.
- Gufw Firewall – is one of the easiest firewalls in the world!
- ClamTk – is lightweight, on-demand antivirus scanner for Linux systems.
- Chkrootkit – is a tool to locally check for signs of a rootkit.
- Rkhunter (Rootkit Hunter) – is a Unix-based tool that scans for rootkits, backdoors and possible local exploits.