(UPDATE) The desktop problem was "Hot corner" was on by default and apparently the Top left corner extends well below and to the right of the center of your screen.
Menu - Cinnamon Settings - Hotspots
You can either show where the hotspot is, change it or remove it.
That's what I like also about using Virtual Machines. You can install different desktops etc and have a play with them. I was (am still am to a high degree) a KDE user because I like the ability to change things. Gnome is (to me) the equivalent of Mac, where it's a bit more user friendly but in the old days, it took a bit more to tweak. Of course, you can install different desktop distros through the repository, I use KDE full because I want to take advantage of everything it has to offer.
The KDE desktop also utilises Plasma, and in the early days, like most things, it had its fair share of bugs. I see it's a lot better now. KDE also offers a heap of applications embedded as an immediate application rich desktop. As long as there is healthy competition between the desktop environments, it's no problem.
I also have an Elastix box that utilises a lightweight xfce desktop so that I can schedule and view backups without command lines. That's under a CentOS back end. These days, in my honest opinion, I see the command line as redundant unless I need to do some heavy admin work. Everything should be as simple and user friendly as a couple of clicks to get where you want to go. A computer is 90% a visual experience, so the ease of getting around is what will draw more people to it.
I hope I've helped. Really, every desktop has its own pros and cons, depending on how "heavy" you want to use visual effects. To date, I've used the following (and probably left some out):
Fedora, Red Hat, Mandrake (Mandrivia, and some spinoffs), Knoppix, Puppy, Slackware, DSL, PCLinuxOS, Lycoris Desktop LX, Ultimate edition, SimplyMephis, Debian, Slackware, SuSE, OpenSuSE, Ubuntu (and Kbuntu), Gentoo, BSD and a heap of spinnoffs, such as:
Asterix/Elastix (from CentOS)
OphCrack (to get back corrupted Windows files from a nasty on someone's PC)
...and run Ultrastar from an Ubuntu-like back end
Each of these had combinations of KDE, Gnome, XFCE and others. All run for various reasons, mainly that I like to mess around with distros.
I'd run Mint 13 on a laptop that once had Vista on it (the one that I'd put Android x86 on once) and it collected my emails without a hitch for over 2 years. In the end, the hardware gave in before the OS did.
That's what led me to Mint14 on this PC.
There was once a time where the installation of Mandrake (Mandrivia? I forget, one replaced the other) that was a total of 20 steps to get it installed! The beauty of Mint is that it asks you questions while it is installing - where you are, your user name etc. When installing Mandrake, I went to sleep, came back to it the next morning and it was sitting there wanting to know who I was. I gave it a username, and found that it was only about half way through the installation! What's your network connection? What's your monitor? The list goes on...
If you had a bad experience with any distro, you can usually quickly find if it's just you or everyone (and if everyone, what the fix is). It's like years ago someone said to me "I hate Fords". I said "Yeah? I have an XE Falcon and it runs like a dream, so what's your excuse?" He said he drove someone's XC Falcon once (a car about 10 years before mine) and didn't like it.
If you see a cow in the field with 3 legs, as a computer guy I don't immediately read that as "All cows have 3 legs".
Honestly, if a hotspot in the top left corner that can be turned off is the reason you're willing to uninstall rather than keep playing with the distro you have, I think you're about to spend the rest of your life uninstalling distros because of such small things.
In every Windows 7 installation I've ever done, I do the following:
- Change the quick launch buttons so I can see them all on the taskbar rather than have a stupid upward facing arrow that hides stuff I want to see, and
- Change that stupid "Keep all programs on top of each other on the taskbar so people who don't know about computers open the same thing 5 times". In essence, instead of one icon that moused-over shows the last 20 things you opened and forgot to close, just put the damn thing on the taskbar and if it fills up, maybe the end user might be inclined to close a few, rather than call me and tell me their computer is slow.
So if I said to MS, "I'm going back to XP because it never did that, or worse still, 98", they'd probably laugh at me. I'm not having a go at you, I'm just stating that you should take it on board that the makers of each desktop environment want to give the end user an experience, and in the case of Cinnamon, it's a quick mouse gesture to do one of the things Linux does best, and that is to display multiple desktops.
Even better for you, if you don't use multiple desktops, just make it so it has one. If you REALLY want more than one desktop and hate the hotspot, turn it off and do this:
Start - Cinnamon Settings - Applets
Then find this, and turn it on:
I think desktop producers and programmers take a lot of feedback into account, so by just saying "Do this or I'm going somewhere else", they probably will look at the 95% of people who like it the way it is... they must have asked for it. As a programmer and software support specialist, I always looked at what would please the masses and create (and charge for) something if someone wanted something just for themselves. I hope that you can understand this. I'm not affiliated with any desktop programmer, but I've seen people ask for things before. I can guarantee 100% that if Cinnamon turned off the hotspot by default, the programmers would get a flood of emails asking "Where did the hotspot go? I liked that".
As a business owner as well (in the past), I've read the 80/20 principle. I'm not saying they won't listen to you, but from the perspective of pleasing the masses, they've probably read it too.
Keep going - there's a lot to learn. If it takes you 2 minutes to change (or remove) the hotspot and place applets on the panel that will let you change workspaces instead, that's all the more reason to spend the next good part of an hour having an enjoyable experience with Linux Mint.