This is long-winded, but I wrote it as an aide-memoire.
I am running an HP-Compaq dc5100 Pentium (R)4 3.20 with 796 M of RAM.
I have been running Ubuntu 10.04 without difficulty since it came out. It has served me very well, but I was not feeling enthusiastic about the more recent changes in Ubuntu, and decided to try Linux Mint.
I installed Linux Mint 13 Cinnamon (32 bit), but found it painfully slow, and the Software Manager froze constantly. I thought this was probably caused at least in part by my limited RAM, and I did a fresh installation with Linux Mint 13 Xfce. This I found very speedy, but I found that the Software Manager was as buggy as ever. Thus when Linux Mint 14 Xfce arrived, I decided to install it at once.
I had installed 13 from a USB key without difficulty, after two or three sessions where I ran the computer from the key; I tried to repeat the process (installing the ISO on the same key). Although I was again able to run the computer from the key, when I attempted installation it hung...although it did remove 13! My good luck: for once I had been careful about my backups. Using another computer, I downloaded the ISO again and installed it to another USB key, and this time the computer refused to boot from the key at all (I had verified the Checksum). It continued to boot from the first key happily.
I burnt the ISO to a DVD, and finally was able to install Linux Mint 14 Xkfe. It is just as fast as 13 and the Software Manager works.
Now my troubles started.
Two days ago (I had been running 14 for perhaps 3 days without trouble) I opened Firefox, and found that when I clicked on Bookmarks, the menu closed as soon as I attempted to choose a particular bookmark. I assumed the problem was particular to Firefox and—once I realized I xfwm4could browse through the bookmarks with the keyboard—I tried looking for Firefox help. In the meantime I had realized that the Max/Min/Close buttons had vanished from the window, and eventually realized that the problems were the same with any file or document I opened.
Looking online I didn't see any suggestions that jumped out at me, and I had found that I could not open Window Manager in the Control Centre, and that although I could open a terminal it would not allow me to type in commands, so I simply reinstalled (from the same DVD.
The problems returned within a few hours, although for the moment the terminal accepts commands. After each application I installed Adblocker, Ghostery, and Multicolumn bookmarks on Firefox.
I found this thread:viewtopic.php?f=110&t=113058
and entered “xfwm4”, and suddenly everything worked. But I am going to be very careful with my backups from here on in—I found this extremely wearing!