New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

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motoryzen
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New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

Post by motoryzen »

I'm not an expert in the Linux world by any stretch of the means, but I've noticed a few things that I think every new Linux user should first practice and really make as a part of his or her daily or at least weekly usage habits if at all possible.

1. Linux Mint install: ** note I am NOT including a dual booting scenario what so ever for this as I don't believe in it...as in Linux and Windows into the same storage drive together. I've read and seen way too many scenarios where things go south too easily, and it's just not worth the hassles, complications, nor data loss. I recommend keeping the Linux and Windows worlds in separate storage drives and when booting into one of them, ensure the other is completely disconnected. This keeps things simpler and lets you learn Linux at an easier pace. When you need a break from Linux and must get back to your Windows desktop, power the PC down properly, disconnect the Linux installed drive, reconnect the Windows installed drive ( you may need to press whatever keyboard hot key to access bios aka uefi..aka "setup" screen and tell it to boot to that drive again or as first boot device), and you're back to where you were.

Personally, I've found easier success in having one drive for Linux Mint and another drive for everything else. This way if there is ever a time something goes wrong and temporarily kills your ability to boot into Linux Mint, using a timeshift restoration will go much faster and be more simple. When you restore, most often, things are back to the way they should be.

Don't worry about manually doing partitions. Let the Linux Mint installer handle it. Just in case the installation wizard doesn't give the option of " remove any installation media and then press enter to restart", select " Continue Testing" at the end of it. This way you can power down the PC, then you can know when to remove the thumb drive instead of guessing when it's powered down enough and barely just begun powering back on beginning the P.O.S.T process.

Sometimes unplugging the drive slightly too fast before P.O.S.T during the auto reboot part will mess things up and your system won't recognize the grub booting part of it and act like there isn't a linux distro TO boot into.

*** However, there is no true substitute for a solid real...full system image backup such as using Foxclone ***

2. Timeshift:
Rsync method ( I won't cover btrfs since I have no experience with that one and I've heard odd results out of it).

Grab a spare external drive ( if you can afford a SSD and the sata to usb adapter cord you can find all over ebay and amazon for 5 to 15 bucks..this is more ideal speed wise), Select that Location tab to select that drive as the backup location, turn off the automated scheduler aka the one that makes timeshift do automatic backups. You'd be surprised at how fast that drive will fill up when you don't anticipate it, and for some reason unknown to me....timeshift backups and restorations take longer if you have more than 4 or 5 snapshots already available.

For Linux newbies, I recommend doing a Timeshift backup " snapshot" any time before the following: Grub2 update, Linux Kernel major update ( such as going from 5.4.whatever to 5.8.whatever...etc I've never seen a time to where going from 5.4.1 to 5.4.2 or even slightly small incremental updates than that have caused any booting or other major problems since I've used Linux Mint off and on since 2011) video driver updates for Nvidia gpus, or ethernet or wifi cards - basically any major components like those.

Mounting options?
Grub file editing?

I don't recommend messing with that at all ..even under guided help.UNTIL you've done a Timeshift backup first right before trying them. You'd be surprised how easily you can end your ability to boot into Mint desktop as easily as just one character out of spot or changing just one of the values that you'd think wouldn't matter.


3. Your panel customizations dealing with Cinnamon desktop:
If you're like me and love having all the stuff you normally do daily or weekly right there ..one-click access to right on the panel. Keep this next part in mind.

The " traditional" or " modern" panel options found in the Welcome Screen, First Steps, Panel layout choices ( when you toggle them to a different choice than what you have) will basically reset/erase all the things you've added to them and you'll have to start over re-adding and tweaking things including your applets.

Thus when you first start out experimenting, just add a couple of things and see how you like one choice over another.

I have all my panel items ( aka the items I "add to panel" in the " panel launcher" thing pinned to the center part. You can do this by accessing Panel settings via cinnamon menu and " panel " without quotes, or right clicking an empty section of the panel if it isn't hidden, and selecting " Panel Settings", at the bottom right is " Panel Edit mode" . Now you'll see it change color. Now you can left click on the selection of stuff at the far left end and drag it into the center carefully watching how the mouse icon's cursor changes and then you'll know to let go. Then toggle of panel mode when you're ready to be able to just simply " add to panel" whatever you want and it will be added from the center area from now on. You can change this back to whatever the same settings method.


*** Remember anytime you add any items using a different method like : Right click any item already on the panel, select " Add" ( such as adding more than one directory /folder you want quick individual access to like I do for docs, pictures, videos, etc), ensure the panel is "Always Show panel" setting. IF it's set to "Always Auto hide" or " Intelligently auto hide" and you add something this way, it will stretch the icons. you'll need to re show the panel, then select which zone those panel items occupy that you need to correct, then dealing with " Colored Icon size" toggle that to and from whatever size you prefer back and forth and it will fix it.

This odd bug has been present in Linux Mint Cinnamon for many years easily. I'm unsure why the team either hasn't noticed or have not found a way to program it to where it doesn't happen, but oh well. It's a minor nitpick of mine. Not a dealbreaker.

4. Adding file manager one click shortcuts to panel or desktop area:

Speaking of adding items, if you're trying to add a shortcut of a folder located on a different drive than the one Linux Mint Cinnamon is installed into, you'll need to know how it's mounted.

Chances are if you haven't editing any mount options in Gnome Disks ** aka just " Disks " **, it could be mounted as the path /media/yourpc'sname/

So if you wanted to plug in an external drive that has movies on it for the first time and you plan to leave the mounting " path " alone, then right click on the desktop, "create new launcher", the command window is where you'll type without quotes and the single spaces between quotes " nemo '/media/yourexternaldrive'sname' " Remember those apostrophes. Yes..it matters otherwise Mint will act like it can't find the drive/path. Name it whatever you want. Unless you want all of those items looking the same with the same icon, left click on that upfacing rocket and browse where ever and pick whatever icon you want.

When adding such a shortcut to the panel. you right click on an item you already added, click " Add" and you'll see the exact same pop up. Everything else is the same.



5. Custom Keyboard shortcuts:
Some versions of Linux mint ( such as 19 or 20, but I don't think 20.1 shares this bug) have this odd bug to where when you create a custom keyboard shortcut ( such as super key + i to open the System Info program aka "cinnamon-settings info" command without quotes, you close out of the keyboards shortcut window and try to use the new keyboard shortcut, but it doesn't work. ** IF ..this is the case , relax. Just either log out of Cinnamon desktop or restart the PC. This has always fixed the issue and on previous versions, I'm on 20.1, it has always fixed it the first log out or reboot. When creating any new custom shortcuts afterwards, the need to log out or reboot was never there.

6. Update Manager vs. Sudo apt update aka sudo apt-get update:

Update manager = gui buttons version of dealing with updates and other coherent what nots
The latter involves terminal commands.

I've noticed that unless you know to issue certain terminal commands before and/or in the middle of about to do an update in the Terminal Window method, you could install stuff you didn't intend to. This is where the " apt-mark" command comes into play

http://manpages.ubuntu.com/manpages/tru ... ark.8.html Old..reference but still pretty applicable here

Just know if you do see a list of programs/apps you don't want to install/upgrade that appear and you're about to type " sudo apt-get upgrade" or " sudo apt upgrade"...stop. And manually either follow the apt-mark hold whatever packages/programs you don't want..or exit that terminal window and do the updates or upgrade via the Update Manager if applicable.

Again...Timeshift restorations are your friends..learn to use that program often. Make it a part of your experience. It will be worth it.

Others feel welcome to chime in an add other stuff. Let's build a good list here. Cheers --
Last edited by xenopeek on Tue Feb 23, 2021 2:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: not a support request or tutorial; moved to chat
AnonymousFighter
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Re: New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

Post by AnonymousFighter »

You suggest to new users foxclone????
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AndyMH
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Re: New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

Post by AndyMH »

AnonymousFighter wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:21 am
You suggest to new users foxclone????
And your problem?...
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DraganTheMighty
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Re: New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

Post by DraganTheMighty »

AnonymousFighter wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:21 am
You suggest to new users foxclone????
I agree. foxclone and cloning in general is not suitable for new users.
And it's not really needed for a home user. If you have a simple backup you can reinstall. It's so fast with hardware after 2015 with 100% success. Cloning it's full of traps.
Disk cloning is useful in other cases. If someone needs a cloning however yes foxclone it's the most fiendly.
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AndyMH
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Re: New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

Post by AndyMH »

Disagree. Foxclone is primarily a backup tool intended to provide a way for a user to get back a working system they have set up with the minimum of effort.
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antikythera
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Re: New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

Post by antikythera »

AndyMH wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 4:55 am
Disagree. Foxclone is primarily a backup tool intended to provide a way for a user to get back a working system they have set up with the minimum of effort.
So do I even though I'm yet to use your Foxclone program. Cloning is not an outmoded means of recovering a system and Menard would also attest it can be the most reliable way.

I use cloning via shadow copy with Windows Machines via Acronis True Image all the time but am tempted to try Foxclone too for my Linux hardware. I know foxclone will work with Windows file systems too but I'm not going to stop using Acronis until the day I stop using Windows as I know it works flawlessly with W10 with fastboot enabled and my slightly convoluted drive setup in case it doesn't like the storage controller and nvme drive mode in use.
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AndyMH
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Re: New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

Post by AndyMH »

antikythera wrote:
Fri Feb 26, 2021 5:05 am
with fastboot enabled and my slightly convoluted drive setup in case it doesn't like the storage controller and nvme drive mode in use.
I've never tried it :D In all my testing on win10 dual boot systems the second thing I do after installing win is turn off fastboot (the first is turn off auto updates). I must test it.

Can you elaborate on nvme drive mode in case it's something I need to be aware of and modify foxclone for? I have tested it with a pcie nvme drive in my desktop and for day-to-day testing use an SD card as a surrogate (same part numbering format).
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Re: New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

Post by antikythera »

Its an AMD B350 board in AHCI mode but I'm using AMD's StoreMI with a Samsung Evo 970 500GB (Samsung nvme driver, not Microsoft or AMD one) and a 1TB Crucial MX500 SATA SSD.
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Re: New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

Post by mikeflan »

foxclone and cloning in general is not suitable for new users
It's hard to argue with that. But I would encourage them to do it later on. It's comforting to know you can restore your OS even if a Timeshift is not available, or if Timeshift ever fails. I take an image about every 2 months, and clearly I need to start deleting the ones from 2019 and early 2020, since I have 1.3 TB of images :shock:
motoryzen
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Re: New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

Post by motoryzen »

AnonymousFighter wrote:
Tue Feb 23, 2021 3:21 am
You suggest to new users foxclone????
1. Well is a heck of a lot more user friendly than clonezilla
2. The first thing any PC user ( regardless of level) should practice and learn well of is doing a system image backup, and Foxclone works with backing up and restoring both Windows and Linux the same ways.

It's not like it requires a software development course to do so. It's pointing and clicking. I'll happily walk someone through it. :D No problem. It's saved my bacon a few times weeks ago.

So has Timeshift too. With anyone new to Linux, Timeshift and doing system image backups or clones using Foxclone is definitely something I'd recommend they learn first. That way, when they inevitably accidentally mess something up ( which..let's face it..most of us are curious human beings. We make mistakes. It's natural. It happens) they can put things back to the good working state they once were in.

Must learn how to crawl before you can walk. Must learn how to walk before you can run. The problem I see so many new Linux users encounter on here and other forums is they try something new before they've, often, understood how it works and always ......always...forget to do some sort of backup.

Doing a system backup should be, and for me, is a foundation to never be ignored before doing anything new that my gut is telling me " hmm...I wonder if doing this will mess something up." We should be encouraging new users to think like this and to practice being prepared.

Just like anything else in life. Life and facts don't care about my or your feelings. An ice storm when the temperatures plummet and remain the correct numbers WILL freeze the roads and concrete payments. Last week was a perfect example of that in my area ( MS USA ) for basically the entire week. Water+ freezing temperatures ..for long enough = ice forming and staying on ground. It doesn't care if I wanted that to end any faster than it did.

My point is Forest Gump put it best in that part of the movie where he gave the guy the t shirt idea and you see a pickup truck involved in an accident immediate in or around that scene. It WILL eventually happen, and it's best to go ahead and practice being prepared.

It's no different than in the Windows world either ( an update..-- for example -- literally deleting an end user's data just because he or she linked a library folder to an external storage drive), crap happens in Windows world too even when the end user has done absolutely nothing to accidentally provoke it.

It's not complicated, although anything can seem that way at first if it's brand new to deal with. Let's be helpful to our new users in helping them learn how to back up their systems. If they keep getting over that first learning hurtle, then the rest isn't so bad at all and they will feel more confident using Linux for the longer haul and there will be less chance of them needing to return to Windows out of frustration. --
motoryzen
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Re: New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

Post by motoryzen »

mikeflan wrote:
Sat Feb 27, 2021 10:40 am
foxclone and cloning in general is not suitable for new users
It's hard to argue with that. But I would encourage them to do it later on. It's comforting to know you can restore your OS even if a Timeshift is not available, or if Timeshift ever fails. I take an image about every 2 months, and clearly I need to start deleting the ones from 2019 and early 2020, since I have 1.3 TB of images :shock:
People always exaggerate how difficult a new thing can be.

Would I recommend Clonezilla? No because I can definitely level with someone who is new to doing system image backups/clones using ..that ...software since it's basically a little more..convoluted-looking and less gui and thus less new user friendly. That's why I always mention to new users get used to using Timeshift and Foxclone. There should always be more than one backup type or method in place ready to guarantee one can get his or her stuff back up and running again. :) --
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AndyMH
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Re: New-to-Linux my recommendations/tips

Post by AndyMH »

I would add backintime or luckybackup to your list.
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