Some questions about Linux Mint

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Some questions about Linux Mint

Postby GoblinGuy » Tue Sep 19, 2017 7:04 pm

Hi, Goblin Guy here, and salutations from Brazil. I'm a long time Windows user since the "Windows '95" times. (I guess it's now that the trolls come saying how much M$ sucks and how much idiotic I am, right ?)
My "short" introduction is inside the code tag below:

Code: Select all

I've recently became interested in installing a new OS after seeing how much Windows 10 is a still quite young OS with some worrying issues worth of a "beta" software, like forced updates wiping the system clean, hardware incompatibility, random BSODs, controversial security and telemetry, little to no advantages over Windows 7 and 8 and other very annoying problems which made me refuse the "free upgrade" back in 2016 and stick with my Windows 7 OS.
Therefore, I decided to give a try to Linux, and look for something that could "initiate" me on this new world, however, while also having a familiar environment of sorts which would allow me to "get used to it", you know.
So, I read about distros that look like Windows, googling for a Linux OS which would be good to Linux beginners and "average" users like me, who don't know jack about programming and "cringes" to Command Prompts like Windows' own prompt and the Terminal. *shudders*

Anyway, I've recently downloaded Linux Mint MATE 18 x64 Bits and passed it to an USB pen drive with Rufus.
I admit it'll take awhile for me to learn since once I install I have to "unlearn" almost everything I know about Windows and dive in into unknown terrain, which I shamefully berated in a distant past (A computer that my brother had at the time came with apparently a "GNOME" based distro installed on it, since it had a green and woody appearance, and after I tried it out I told him how much that OS "sucked" and advised him to install Windows XP on its place).

For a long time I thought Linux to be something like a mystery unrevealed until modern days, only reserved to the "pros" and "not for the faint of heart", you know. Because of Windows' simplicity and practicity, I have a lot of wrong perceptions about the other side, combined with the first frustrating experience I had in the past and whenever I saw references of a Linux OS the darn Terminal was always there to mock me and there was no proper GUI to be found. *shudders*
To a Windows user like me, all that was unacceptable.
"How in the world someone can install their favorite programs or do stuff like writing and editing pictures without executables ? Or explore folders with such clumsy and unorganized appearance ? Home folder ? User folder ? What the heck are these ? Where's My Documents, My Pictures, My Videos, My Everything ? Where's good ol' Windows Media Player ? Man, this OS is so weird! It feels like it came from another world!"

That was me back then, thinking that there was no life outside Windows. Until nowadays, where I ironically come back to give a second chance to Linux, this time with Linux Mint MATE, and willing to learn the basics, even venture myself with the Terminal. *shudders*
And remember myself from these two things: "Mint is easy, but it's not Windows!" (from and "Unix isn't a scary monster or a spellbook full of traps and daemons ready to eat the unwary. It is simply a massive program that tells the PC what to do with smaller programs, an Operating System. Just like Windows or the OS that runs your watch or video machine." (from

Anyway, enough introductions for today. Let's go to my questions:
1) My plan is to leave Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 for gaming and other entertainment purposes and install Linux Mint on my second HD which has 465GB of space to use it as a productive tool.
My BIOS is Legacy Mode, BTW.
I've read about some tutorials on how to do so but the thing that always get my head scratching is the "partition" part (/home, /swap, the works).
What would be the recomended partitions sizes for my case ? Do I really need all of these partitions ?
Also, can I use EasyBCD instead of GRUB, which I'll install along Linux Mint to avoid screwing up my supposed Windows bootloader ?
Here's my PC specs:

Code: Select all

Operating System
         Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1
         AMD A4-6300   
         Richland 32nm Technology
         8,00GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 798MHz (11-11-11-28) [2x 4GB Memory Sticks]
         ASRock FM2A55M-VG3+ (CPUSocket)   
         20EN33 (1600x900@60Hz)
         1024MB ATI AMD Radeon HD 5500 Series (ASUStek Computer Inc)[1GB DDR2]    
         465GB SAMSUNG HD502HI ATA Device (SATA) [Secondary HD with nothing in it]
         931GB Seagate ST1000VM 002-1SD102 SATA Disk Device (SATA) [Primary HD with Windows 7]   
      Optical Drives
         HUAWEI Mass Storage USB Device [this is my 3G Modem]
         Realtek High Definition Audio

2) I'll use Linux mostly to do the following tasks:
    - Write and edit texts and stories;
    - Edit and manipulate images;
    - Edit and manipulate videos;
    - Read documents and texts in PDF, EPUB, TXT and other readable formats;
    - Browse the Web;
    - Listen to music and watch videos.

I know about a handful of GNU and Open Source software: LibreOffice, WPS Office, Audacity, VLC, OpenShot, Firefox, Sea Monkey, GIMP, qBitTorrent and Foobnix (an alternative to foobar2K, my favorite audio player). But for other tasks I have no idea, which I'll probably end up googling later.
Does Mint can handle these tasks well without any issues or errors ? Or I should stick with Windows 7 ?

3) Will I have to use the frigging CLI/Terminal all the time to do stuff around Linux Mint ? *shudders*

4) Do I have to download a new ISO distro everytime a new release arrives, like in Ubuntu ?

5) Can Mint updates accidentally "brick" the OS like what happens with certain Windows updates every once in a while ? How to avoid "bricking" my own Linux OS for that matter ?

6) Will Mint recognize my printer ? Mine is a "HP Deskjet Ink Advantage 3516 e-All-in-One" multifunctional printer.

7) Will Mint have issues with my external HDs ? They're all in the "NTFS" format, and I read somewhere that Linux OSes doesn't support external "NTFS" HDs by default.

8] Will there be trouble if I don't install the third party stuff along with Mint ? I don't have Wi-Fi/Ethernet/whatever at home but only my humble 3G Connection through my modem, which obviously won't work during the installation. How can I install this stuff later ?

9) Is installing and uninstalling programs an easy task in Linux ? Do I need additional software to do so ? In Windows all I need is to click the executable to install programs and to uninstall them, I use a program called "Geek Uninstaller".
Also, I've heard that you need to compile stuff from scratch in Linux in order to install certain programs. Is it complicated, or not necessary in Mint ?

10) Is it possible to change themes and appearance in Linux Mint MATE like you do in Windows, or I can only do this in other distros ? In Windows 7 I use a program called "UxCore" to change themes installed in the "C:\Windows\Themes" folder.

I think that's all. Have a nice week, folks, and take care.
Sorry for the long post. And if it's in the wrong place, the mods are free to move or delete this thread, since I think these are newbie/beginner questions before I install Linux Mint on my HD.

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Re: Some questions about Linux Mint

Postby vladtepes » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:04 pm

G'day - I'm new at all this too, and can't guarantee the accuracy of my answers BUT its the impression I have got from my recent experiences :)

1. I asked about a dual boot setup and the consensus was that it's not a good idea for beginners. YMMV of course.

2. Linux can do all of those things (or rather free programs available for Linux can). Googling is a good idea and there are some youtube videos 'best / recommended linux programs etc) which may give you some ideas.

3. All the time? No. Rarely in fact.

4. No you don't have to. Many people are still running very happily on 17.3. The old "If it ain't broke, why fix it?"

5. I can't say for sure, elsewhere (in my question thread) it was mentioned that one set up, do a backup with 'pinguy' so if things do go spear shaped you can easily do a restore. But I've not heard of Linux having any particular problems in that department.

6. Possibly. Yes, I know that's not the answer you want. But if Mint doesn't on fist install then you should be able to bet some drivers that will make it work. So let's say 'Probably'.

7. You can't boot into Linux using NTFS etc - it's not compatible in that sense, but Linux Mint can - so I gather - read and write to NTFS partitions on drives, once you 'mount' them. This is not something I am familiar with, no doubt someone else here will be able to help.

8. It's quite safe to install the 3rd party stuff bundled with Mint.

9. Yes, and by far the safest if done via the inbuilt installer / repositories rather than downloading from the net and installing - until you are used to how it works. No need for additional software. In fact, better NOT to use 3rd party software.
There is so much available I can't see a situation where you'd need to compile anything, unless you have very specialised needs.

10. I've not used MATE desktop (I use Cinnamon) but there is a degree of customisation available in every desktop option.
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Re: Some questions about Linux Mint

Postby vladtepes » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:06 pm

You may find some of the answers you seek in my thread too viewtopic.php?f=180&t=244280&p=1306719#p1306719
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Re: Some questions about Linux Mint

Postby phd21 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:59 pm

Hi "GoblinGuy",

Welcome to the wonderful world of Linux Mint and its excellent forum !
Phd21: Mint KDE 17.3 & 18.1, 64-bit Awesome OS, Ancient Dell OptiPlex 780 Core2Duo E8400 3GHz,3gb Ram,160gb hdd, Video: Intel 4 Graphics, DVD Lightscribe. Why I use KDE?:

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Re: Some questions about Linux Mint

Postby Bolle1961 » Tue Sep 19, 2017 11:15 pm

If you're a gamer I would suggest NOT to ditch Windows7 but make a dualboot system.
Laptop : Linux Mint 18.2 MATE x64 / Xubuntu 16.04.3 x64
Desktop : Linux Mint 18.2 MATE x64 / Xubuntu 16.04.3 x64 / ubuntuMATE 17.10 x64

Install recommended packages to avoid problems

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Re: Some questions about Linux Mint

Postby michael louwe » Wed Sep 20, 2017 6:30 am

@ GoblinGuy, .......

For a computer with two internal hard-drives, it is advisable for you to unplug the Win 7 drive, keep the other 465GB drive plugged-in and install LM on it. Then re-plug the Win 7 drive and boot the desired OS through BIOS setup.
... The other alternative is to keep both internal hard-drives plugged-in and install LM on the other 465GB drive by using the manual "Something else" install method. In this case, a Grub menu will be displayed after computer start-up for you to choose the desired OS to boot.
Please refer to ... viewtopic.php?t=113922

root or / or system partition = Windows C:/ drive = system, settings and program files.
home partition = Windows D:/ drive = for data file storage.
swap partition = Windows hiberfil.sys and pagefile.sys files = for Hibernation and supplementary virtual memory.

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Re: Some questions about Linux Mint

Postby Pjotr » Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:28 am

Just "dive in"; you'll find out the answers to many of your questions automatically. Boot from the Mint DVD / USB, play a bit with the live session, and then install it by clicking the appropriate desktop shortcut. Go with the flow.... :)

By the way: nothing wrong with a dual boot. In fact, that's what I recommend for every Linux beginner. The Mint installation program is smart and assumes you want to keep Windows next to Mint as well, so that's another reason to simply go with the flow.

If you run into any problems, ask for help here....
Tip: 10 things to do after installing Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya
Keep your Linux Mint healthy: Avoid these 10 fatal mistakes
All in all, horse sense simply makes sense.

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Re: Some questions about Linux Mint

Postby Hoser Rob » Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:47 am

Bolle1961 wrote:If you're a gamer I would suggest NOT to ditch Windows7 but make a dualboot system.

Agreed and I completely disagree that dual boot is a bad idea for beginners. That's actually ridiculous.

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Re: Some questions about Linux Mint

Postby GoblinGuy » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:31 pm

Woah, thank you folks for all the replies. Wasn't expecting this, haha! :D

vladtepes wrote:

Thanks for sharing your experience with me.
It took a lot of doubts and uncertanity away. I'll make sure to follow'em up.

And thanks for linking one of your thread. I'll take a look at it. :)

phd21 wrote:

Couldn't agree more, and thanks. :)

Bolle1961 wrote:

That's what I wanna do. One OS for the distractions and another for productivity.
And who knows, in 2020, change to a refined and "fixed" Windows 10. Or not.

michael louwe wrote:

I'm more eager to try the second alternative, since I don't wanna screw up my hardware due to improper management.
Thanks for the links and clarification. :)

Pjotr wrote:

Hi! I've read some of your tutorials in your page and I gotta say how organized and straight to the point they are.

Thanks for coming by my thread and for the advice. I'll surely go with the flow and come back here once I need some help. :D

Hoser Rob wrote:

Yeah. I don't think it's that hard, you know.
Like I said, I just want each OS on its own HD. Thanks for coming. :)

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Re: Some questions about Linux Mint

Postby Termy » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:13 pm


I'm afraid I can't fully and precisely answer that, because I'm not you. Only you can know how much space you might want for things. Plus there's so many differing opinions. Tell you what though, if I had 8GB RAM, and if I didn't care for hibernation, I'd use 512MB to 1GB for a swap file or partition. My preference and recommendation is to have a separate /home partition, which makes upgrading and recovery really easy compared to the alternative.

Before I started using tmpfs (RAM for temporary files), for /tmp, I also used a separate /tmp partition which I do recommend, as it avoids issues down the road, such as a program going nuts and filling it up, screwing up the rest of the system which can't save settings properly because no space and aaaah, that's not fun. xD Has happened to me a couple of times. -_-

You needn't worry about having a separate /boot partition. It's fine and dandy to do, but you needn't worry about that, IMO. Unless you want to install a metric crap-ton of bulky software, you would probably make do just fine with 12-20GB of space on /. Mine is 12GB, but I still only use 6GB. My setup is however a very light one, focused almost exclusively on terminals.

Think of your /home partition as Users in Windows, if that directory is even still used. If you plan to store a lot of music, videos, pictures, and documents, then give yourself plenty of /home space. Me? I set mine to 40GB, and still only use 1.9GB. I do store most of my stuff on various other drives totaling over 2TB, though. /home for me is what I'm actually going to use on a regular basis. Makes for quicker and smaller backups.


I can't speak specifically for Mint as I don't use it as a primary, however, since it's based on Ubuntu (on which my setup is also based) and I do check Mint out from time to time (mostly to test my programs, and for helping others), I will say that the majority of it will probably work. Where Linux can really struggle, is sadly video editing. I love openshot, but it lacks, even with the PPA hooked up. I love kdenlive (what I use for YT videos), but it crashes often; luckily, it has good crash recovery, making it just about viable.

Listening to music, watching videos, dealing with text; I do these things and much more on a daily basis without any dire issues that come to mind. That said, I do that with the terminal, so I'unno if that's much use me saying. xD


Lol No. Mint isn't really for me because I'm one of those "advanced" users, which should tell you right away that Mint is a good choice if you don't care for the terminal. One of the things Mint has in its corner, is that you needn't run the terminal to get things done. That being said, Linux in general is pretty good with that these days, except of course distributions like Arch, Gentoo, and projects like LFS which of course are intentionally terminal-based, to allow full control.

However, if things break, you'll be primarily given terminal commands; that's the nature of the beast I'm afraid. I used to rage about it back in the day, but the fact is, the terminal offers you complete control, for better or worse. But it's as complicated as you want it to be, within reason. If you want to dig deep, dig deep, if you don't, don't. It's just that when things break, you'll want to take an efficient route to get things done, lest you be forever searching through forums to find instructions to click here, click there, select this, select that, move here, scroll here, scroll there, move there, etc. :P


I believe so. You can keep 18.2 for a long time before you need to look at another ISO, same with Ubuntu, on which Mint is based. Ubuntu 16.04 is an LTS release, meaning it gets 5 years of support; it's good-to-go for 5 years; Mint I imagine follows this release cycle, as do most distros which are based on Ubuntu. The next Ubuntu LTS is I think 17.10, but it's still in beta, so I think you're good for now. This might be interesting:


Lol Oh I get you. Been there, done that. Yes, any OS can break. Any update can cause issues. Is Linux (and in this case, Mint) less likely to break? I would say hell yes! Is it easier to recover from? I'd say absolutely! YMMV, though.


You're better off looking that up yourself. Pretty easy task, to be fair. :P


They will work, and probably just fine at that. I myself have external drives which are formatted in NTFS. However, if the filesystem breaks, fixing it might be more of a pain; then again, you have Windows, so you could repair it with chkdsk on that, so you're probably fine. Just, I would not install Linux on NTFS or even FAT32. Windows won't read Linux formats, unless they changed that at some point. Up to you what you wanna do there. I ditched Windows a year or so ago and haven't looked back since, so I'm probably too biased to give you a fair answer.


It may or may not cause issues. Depends on your hardware and needs, I guess. For me, I don't have issues leaving out third-party software during installation of Ubuntu-based setups, including Mint.


Yes, a very easy task. You can use a couple of quick commands in a terminal, but I know you won't want to. So what you can do is just use the Software Center, or whatever equivalent you see. Just think Playstore on Android, but drastically superior, and free. You get something called package managers in Linux, and with that, packages. In Ubuntu (based on Debian) and therefore Mint, you get .deb packages, which are akin to setup.exe files in Windows. They're awesome. Not everything will use that, but a whole crap ton do.

I've done a lot of advanced stuff in Linux, always writing code and stuff. The only times I can recall needing to compile is when I dabble in writing C stuff, or when messing around in something like Arch. It's just rarely necessary to compile yourself. It seems to have improved a lot of the last few years. Is it hard? Many will say no, but the reality is that it can be tricky. It's all very well and wonderful when it works, but compiling can fall flat, leaving you to search for and install dependencies (packages it requires), before you can compile it. Then there's the compile-time settings. Yeah, it can get complex if you choose to go that route. As I say, it's rarely necessary, at least in my experience.


Yes, and far, far more configurable than in Windows. You're also encouraged to change things around, yet in Windows you have to get workarounds and patches to be able to do it. Linux is versatile also where aesthetics are concerned. It can be more hands-on, but then I'd argue so can sorting out theming in Windows, especially in 8.1, and I can't say I'm impressed with Windows 10.

Best of luck to you.
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Re: Some questions about Linux Mint

Postby jsb » Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:21 pm

Regarding 3, being terminal phobic, myself, this was a worry of mine. But, when I've used terminal it's pretty much always been by copying and pasting commands from someone else's instructions and the few times when not doing it that way, it's reading them and typing them in. The only thing I ever needed to learn...well, wrote on a post-it, was a way to open terminal and tell machine to shutdown when I was having an issue with Xubuntu hanging.

I started with linux about 5 years ago. First with Peppermint, then Xubuntu, and now Mint XFCE. Back then it was Windows 8 that I wanted to avoid a future with. Some said it was easier for a windows 7 user to learn a linux version like Mint than to learn Windows 8.

I did a dual boot for a while. Did it with 2 HDDS by unplugging windows drive, as someone suggested above. On another machine with one drive, I just used the installer...which asks something like "do you want to install mint alongside windows". Never got into partitioning.

Installing a new distro maybe 6-8 months after I started, I made a mistake and wiped out windows. I didn't really care since I was very rarely using it and never reinstalled it since.

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