“Can you help explain the Linux Mint 18 System Settings?”
Linux Mint 18 is turning out to be a fantastic Linux distribution. Stable. Secure. Simple to grasp. I am enjoying it.
If you want to customize your Linux Mint 18 installation, then the System Settings dialog provides a convenient location from which to tweak your system from a GUI interface without the need to enter commands on a command line.
It works well, and each version of Linux Mint brings welcome improvements and refinements that make it a joyful experience.
To help others become familiar with the system settings in Linux Mint 18, here is a brief description and an image map showing the dialogs that the various settings icons lead to.
Finding System Settings
From the Mint menu, click the System Settings (Control Center) icon located in the left side.
In this example, I am using a custom icon theme called Vibrancy, so the icon might vary according to the chosen theme.
A dialog appears that looks like this:
System Settings is divided into four categories: Appearance, Preferences, Hardware, and Administration.
- Appearance – (User) Customize your desktop theme, wallpaper, icons, and fonts.
- Preferences – (User) User-specific interface tweaks.
- Hardware – (User/System) Involves hardware configuration.
- Administration (System) Affects the entire system. Requires superuser access.
Appearance, Preferences, and Hardware apply to a user’s session, and each user may have his own configuration. However, Administration settings require superuser privileges because they affect all users and the system itself.
To show how these icons relate to the settings they affect, here is a large (6046×11217), 3 MB JPEG image for downloading.
Appearance customizes your user interface. All users begin Linux Mint with the same default look and feel, but each can adjust Linux Mint to his liking independent of other users.
- Backgrounds – Change the wallpaper or add your own.
- Effects – Change the interface effects like window fading and other graphical effects.
- Fonts – Adjust how text appears across the system. Change sizes and font families.
- Themes – Oooh, the fun setting! Themes is where you can mix and match icons, controls, and visual styles to your liking. There are limitless combinations.
Adjusts user-related preferences. Each user may have his own settings. A few items here, such as installing additional languages, will require superuser privileges since they affect the entire system. However, most are open to the user.
- Accessibility – Do you have trouble viewing the screen? Fix that here.
- Account Details – Who are you? Add your name and picture.
- Applets – Cram more stuff onto the Cinnamon panel.
- Date & Time (System) – Set the date, time, timezone, and format options.
- Desklets – Everyone likes distracting widgets on the desktop, right? …right?
- Desktop – Specify what icons appear on the desktop and on which monitor.
- Extensions – Addons for the desktop environment. Wobbly Windows and Desktop Cube, for example. Not all will work with Cinnamon, so be prepared for trial and error.
- General – A few miscellaneous settings not categorized anywhere else.
- Hot Corners – Too lazy for a keyboard shortcut? Hover the mouse over a corner!
- Input Method – Specify how to switch keyboard entry for different languages. IBus is a good choice.
- Languages – Do you need to change the default language of your Linux System? Add another language? Install as many as you like here. Works with Input Method.
- Notifications – Customize Cinnamon’s notification bubble.
- Panel – Add more panels and customize those that already exist.
- Preferred Applications – When you double-click a text file, what program should open it? What happens when you insert a USB?
- Privacy – Remember your recent list of accessed files or turn it off.
- Screensaver – Chose from several eye-catching screensavers and customize!
- Startup Applications – Specify programs that run when you log in.
- Windows – Adjust basic window appearance and behavior. Do you prefer minimize/maximize buttons on the left or right of the title bar?
- Window Tiling – How should windows tile and snap next to each other?
- Workspaces – Linux is known for its multiple workspaces. Set the on-screen display and control cycling and behavior here.
Configure hardware settings for any connected devices, such as printers, the keyboard, the mouse, tablets, network devices, and more.
- Bluetooth – Configure detected Bluetooth devices.
- Color – Adjust monitor color calibration using color profiles like the pros!
- Display – Arrange the monitors and set the resolution. Essential for multi-monitor displays.
- Graphics Tablet – Configure the graphics tablet so drawn circles do not appear as ovals.
- Keyboard – Change the speed, repeat, delay, and layout.
- Mouse and Touchpad – Pointing device adjustments. Good for laptops and netbooks.
- Networking – Configure your network devices and set IP addresses.
- Power Management – When should the computer go to sleep?
- Printers – Add printers here.
- Sound – Turn the system sounds on and off or add your own.
- System Info – Not sure what version of Linux you are using or how much RAM you have? Find out here!
All of these settings affect the entire system, so only users with superuser privileges may access them.
- Driver Manager – Specify which hardware drivers to use for certain hardware. Usually applies to proprietary drivers for graphics cards from NVIDIA and AMD, but other devices might appear.
- Firewall – Gufw Firewall is now available by default with Linux Mint 18. Provides an easy way to configure firewall rules within a user-friendly GUI. This is far more pleasant for new users to use than iptables.
- Login Window – Adjust how the login screen appears. Change login themes and more!
- Software Sources – When Linux Mint updates or downloads software, what repositories should it connect to?
- Users and Groups – A user-friendly GUI for adding new users and groups to the Linux system and configuring their permissions. Can also change passwords and delete users.
The GUI is simple but informative, and rules, reports, and logs are easy to view. There is even a colorful shield icon that shows the current firewall status, and the switch controls provide an easy way to enable or disable incoming and outgoing traffic.
Sure, Gufw Firewall has been available for manual installation in past releases, but by including this with the standard installation, it makes firewall awareness more obvious.
Need quick a quick overview about Linux Mint 18’s system settings? Perhaps this article will help. Shown here are the basic System Settings from a fresh installation of Linux Mint 18. As you install extra programs, you might find that they will add extra icons to the System Settings dialog, so the end result might appear different from what is shown here.
The best way to become familiar with Linux Mint’s configuration is to experiment for yourself, so have fun!
Related: Linux Mint 18 Installation Tips