Skip menu
*LMDE User Guide - Tips & Tricks

< Home >


Tips & Tricks

1. Stop a process

Most Windows users know the usefulness of the Ctrl + Alt + Del keys combination when they are dealing with a stubborn application. It is said that a program does not respond when it is not influenced by any user interaction or when it performs unattempted functions and actions. In the Windows world there are many situations where you need to use Ctrl + Alt + Del, to start the Windows Task Manager, and enable you to close an application. This happens very rarely in Linux, but it can happen.

Good thing about Linux is that you never have to use the reset button to close applications irresponsible. There are many ways to solve this situation. Take a look at some of these ways.

1.1 Use System Monitor

First and foremost, you can use the familiar System Monitor.

Main Menu → System Tools → System Monitor

Very similar to Windows Task Manager, except that it is better. Not only gives you plenty of information about the current system state, you can use the "Processes" tab to view and control any bad application and choose to stop it, or close it. These two operations have very different meanings in the Linux world: stop means stop execution of the process, closing means closing the operation completely.
1.2 Use the "kill" command

There are conditions, however, when you can not use a graphical tool. In such situations you can take advantage from the power of the Linux terminal. You can type the following command in a terminal.
Each active process has a unique ID in Linux. If you know the process ID to quit, you can type the following:

kill processID

to make an immediate stop. This should restore health to your system.
1.3 Using "pkill" and "pgrep" commands

If you do not know the ID of the process but want to stop the process, you can do so through his name or you can analyze all the processes at work to diagnose the problem (by using commands like "top").

You can use the pkill command to "kill" a program by name. Assuming you want to stop Opera:

pkill opera

It's not necessary to know the process ID. Alternatively, you can use the pgrep command to know the process ID and then proceed to stop the process. Enter the following command:

pgrep opera

1.4 Use "xkill" command

When using a graphical interface, you can use the command xkill that turn your mouse pointer into a killer. After typing the command "xkill", press Enter, and you can click on the window of the application you want to stop and it will be immediately closed in a click!
Run Terminal and type:


A message inviting you to click the mouse on the application window you want to close. The same pointer turns into a white cross.

1.5 Using "killall" command

Last but not least, there is the command "killall". Seems to be terrifying, but does not close all the processes running on your system. It's used to close multiple instances of the same process. For example, if you have multiple windows, multiple profiles of Firefox, using the command "killall", all the windows and profiles will be immediately closed.

killall opera

2. Display hidden files

In Nautilus file manager, press:

Ctrl+ H

3. Assign a keyboard shortcut to start a Terminal

If you spend much time with a terminal, you should make it easy to launch a new working session terminal window with a keyboard shortcut.
Follow this path:

Main Menu → Control Center → Keyboard shortcuts

Scroll the window down until you reach "Run a terminal" and click on "Shortcut".
As you'll see the "New Accelerator" will be enough choose preferred key combination and this will be automatically included.
To finish setting, simply click on" Close "button.


Linux Mint comes with Brasero, and you can use it to blank a CD-RW/DVD-RW.
But in case you want to use a short way to do this using the terminal, you should follow these simple steps:

  1. Insert the CD or DVD into the player
  2. Run the Terminal and type the following command:

    umount /dev/cdrom
    cdrecord dev=/dev/cdrom blank=fast

That's all, you can use your cleaned CD / DVDs.

5. Three ways to record your desktop

There are three ways to make a movie of your Linux desktop, with the help of RecordMyDesktop, XVidCap and Istanbul. These three applications are included in all major distributions.

5.1 recordMyDesktop

RecordMyDesktop has both a command line interface, and two graphical interfaces, GTK and Qt. You can start it in a console, recording what you want, then press the combination "Ctrl + C" to stop and wait for recordmydesktop create a .ogv video file (Ogg Theora) in the current directory.
If you need to customize the video settings for recording, you can do so either from the command line or using one of two graphical user interfaces. Per esempio per avviare l'applicazione GTK usate gtk-recordmydesktop.
RecordMyDesktop will allow you to create a recording, choosing the audio and video quality, the number of frames, including or excluding window decorations and the mouse pointer. It's easy to use and will do its job in a few clicks.
Offcial web site

5.2 XVidCap

XVidCap is another good application for recording, based on GTK. The first thing that catches the eye when XVidCap start is a red rectangle that can be moved and resized on the desktop to capture images of only a single slice of the desktop. XVidCap allows you to save the capture in MPEG or AVI formats.
Official Website

5.3 Istanbul

The previous two are not the only applications that allow you to capture your desktop. Take a look at Istanbul, which is in the major distros repositories. Although it is the easiest to use of three, is a bit slow to start and in the video coding, so you have to wait. Like RecordMyDesktop, Istanbul saves records in Ogg Theora.
Official Website

6. Eject Button on Panel

Now let we show how to put the eject button in Linux Mint panel with a few simple steps:
  1. Right-click on a blank area of ​​the panel and in the context menu click on "Add to Panel"
  2. In the window click on the option "Personal Application Launcher" and then click on "Add"
  3. In the next dialog box you have to set some values.
    1. In the input field labeled "Name", type the word "Eject"
    2. In the input field labeled "Description", type "eject disk".
    3. In the entry field below, which allows you to add the icon to the right button, enter the following path:


    4. In the input field labeled "Command", type the command "eject"
  4. Close the configuration window
  5. Give a position to the button on panel. Right-click on the button, then on "Move" context menu
  6. Drag the button in the desired location and click to anchor it.

7.Open a dialog as superuser to run applications

You probably already know that pressing Alt + F2 will open a dialog box to launch applications. Here you can enter any app name to run - often used to run gconf-editor, who did not get a menu item, for example.
However, if you type gksu in a terminal (with nothing), will open a dialog box similar, but this time will allow you to run as root.
You can combine the command gksu to a keyboard shortcut (Shift + Alt + F2, perhaps) in Main Menu → Control Center → Keyboard Shortcuts, in order to quickly show the superuser window.

8. Install packages quickly with GDebi

It is a graphical application for packages installation that you downloaded manually. Try to resolve dependencies with the repository and is a very useful feature. Although it's known for its graphical interface, it also works perfectly from the command line:

sudo gdebi pacchetto.deb

and retains the ability to resolve dependencies. Just try it and no longer feel the need to use the command dpkg-i.

10. Quickly launch LibreOffice

If you often use LibreOffice, you might get frustrated with the time required for loading it. To solve the problem go to:

Main Menu → Control Center → Startup Applications

and add a new item. In the command entry field, type libreoffice-nodefault-nologo. Then reboot the system. This will cause LibreOffice loading into the cache when the Gnome start, so that any LibreOffice application will start in seconds.

11. Eliminate the clutter on your hard

You have little space on the disk? Try typing the following commands:

sudo apt-get autoremove

and then

sudo apt-get clean

The first command remove any dependency unused (redundant) from the system.
The second remove all cached files. Both are harmless. On a system that has been upgraded several times, you may come to free more than one gigabyte of space.

12. Discover the missing file extensions

You have been sent a file without the extension? No idea what kind of file it is? (Mac users are particularly guilty in considering optional file extensions). Try "file" command. Just specify the file name immediately after.

13. Keyboard Shortcuts

Some of these shortcuts are specific to the desktop environment or window manager.
• Ctrl + Alt + Delete
This is the absolute command. When all else fails and you need a system reboot, you can apply this combination to instantly start the reboot process. All data will be lost, so should be used with caution. This combination works with all desktop environments and all window managers.
• Alt + Tab
This convenient shortcut allow switching through the open windows, stopping on the window highlighted. To go through the windows, press the Alt key and press the Tab key to reach the window you want. This shortcut works in most desktop environments and window managers.
• Ctrl + Alt + F*
This is one of those shortcuts that you need to use. This allows you to switch to various virtual terminals. The default terminal on which you are working are 6. You can then switch to another terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt and F1, F2, F3, F4, F5, F7, and so on. These are virtual terminals, so if you already have a working graphical interface, you will only be able to work on a terminal window in text mode. This is particularly useful for debugging works with the desktop or to terminate a frozen application when you don't want end X completely.
• Alt + Arrow key
If you are using Linux, you'll probably know the pager that allows you to have multiple desktops simultaneously. Instead of moving the mouse to select the desktop, you can press the Alt key along with left or right arrow buttons to switch between desktops. This works on all desktop environments and window managers.
Note The following shortcuts apply only to the terminal (also called the console).
• Ctrl + a and Ctrl + e
If you are working with a text editor such as Nano (from a terminal window), you can go to the beginning of a line with Ctrl + a and at the end of the line with Ctrl + e. This does not work on applications with a GUI. In a graphical application (like OpenOffice), this combination works differently. (For example, Ctrl + a will highlight all the text on the page.)
• Ctrl + c
When you have a process that works from a terminal window (such as connecting to the network), you can close the process with Ctrl + c.
• Ctrl + z
This will make zombie a process. If you have a process that works through the terminal and want back to the terminal without stopping the application, you can make Ctrl + z to start the application in the background. To back to the process, just type fg.
• Freccia Su e Freccia Giù
The up and down arrow keys, when you are in a terminal, shows commands history given in the same terminal window. This is useful for two reasons: first you do not have to retype the usual commands every time you need, and second, you can call up commands that you used most recently.
• Ctrl + r
This is a handy tool to search for commands. When you press Ctrl + R, you're ready to insert a character. You will see the previously used command which contains that character or combination of them. When the command is displayed, just press Enter to execute it.

14. Change permissions with Nautilus

Change files and folders permissions with Nautilus is very easy, but very delicate. follow these steps:
  1. Open the command launcher Alt + F2 keys. Paste the following command:

    gksudo nautilus

    and press ENTER
  2. Type the root password in the next window
  3. This opens Nautilus with root privileges, and with a particular aspect


  4. Look for the file or folder whose permissions you want to change by pressing the Ctrl + f
  5. Type the file / folder name in the search bar and press Enter. You will see the file or folder you choose
  6. Click on the file with the right mouse button and click on "Properties"


  7. Go to the "Permissions" tab


  8. Click on the drop-down menu found under the "Owner", "Groups" and "Other" headings, and set for each one, the permission you like.
  9. At the end press "Close" botton

15. Change sudo password timeout

When run for the first time a command with "sudo", it asks the root password, but when you restart a command with "sudo", it asks the password again. This is because "sudo" has an expire password, after which you must type the password again.
There is a way to change this expiry time. Open Terminal and enter this command:

sudo visudo

Then scroll down the file until the line:

Defaults env_reset

and change it like this:

Defaults env_reset , timestamp_timeout=X

Where 'X' is the minutes number, after which the password expires, then put the value you want. If configured to 0 (zero), the password is always required.
Once done. press Ctrl + X to save, press the "y" (yes) to confirm, then press ENTER to quit.

16. Automatic Login

Although LMDE has a graphical tool for setting the login screen and auto login, it does not work. However, there is a way to set auto login. Follow these steps:
  1. Open the command launcher with Alt + F2 keys
  2. In it, paste the following command:

    gksu gedit /etc/gdm3/daemon.conf

  3. Below the line [daemon] insert these two lines:

    AutomaticLoginEnable=true AutomaticLogin=username
    where 'username' is your name
  4. Save and close Gedit
  5. Reboot the system
To remove the autologin, just reopen the file as described and change true to false

17. Adjust time

After the LMDE installation you need to make a substantial upgrade, and it may happen that there are problems with the time. If you use a computer with other operating systems (Windows or Ubuntu, or whatever), set up time with UTC is not a good idea, so from Terminal:

sed -r 's/^UTC=yes/UTC=no/ig' /etc/default/rcS | sudo tee /etc/default/rcS
sudo apt-get install ntp

This will disable UTC and enable time synchronization with NTP servers. Set the time with the tool provided and reboot.
It may happen that a restart is interrupted.
This starts the kernel, but not the grub, then from Terminal:

sudo apt-get remove kexec-tools

Reboot and everything should be fixed.

18. Adjusting Synaptic

It's possible that after the system update, Synaptic - the package manager - may not work well. Fix this way:
  1. From terminal run this command:

    sudo apt-get install apt-xapian-index

    press ENTER and wait for software installation
  2. Still in Terminal, run this command:

    sudo apt-get install apt aptitude synaptic --reinstall

    press ENTER and wait for the conclusion of installation
  3. Reboot Synaptic and quick search will be enabled

19. Emerald

If you like Emerald, here's how to get it:
  1. From terminal enter this command:

    sudo apt-get install build-essential libxcomposite-dev libpng12-dev libsm-dev libxrandr-dev libxdamage-dev libxinerama-dev libstartup-notification0-dev libgconf2-dev libgl1-mesa-dev libglu1-mesa-dev libmetacity-dev librsvg2-dev libdbus-1-dev libdbus-glib-1-dev libgnome-desktop-dev libgnome-window-settings-dev gitweb curl autoconf automake automake1.9 libtool intltool libxslt1-dev xsltproc libwnck-dev python-dev python-pyrex libprotobuf-dev protobuf-compiler python-sexy wget

    Press ENTER and wait for software installation
  2. Still in Terminal, enter this command:

    tar xvzf emerald-0.8.8.tar.gz
    cd emerald-0.8.8
    ./configure --prefix=/usr LIBS=-ldl
    sudo make install

    Press ENTER and wait installation.
  3. Now you will have many themes, try them!

20. Adjust Fonts

It's possible that there are problems with font rendering, especially in Mozilla and other web browsers, including Komodo and other Mozilla applications. The subpixel rendering is incorrect, producing color artifacts around the fonts. Here's how to fix it.
From Terminal enter the following commands one at a time:

sudo rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/10-hinting-slight.conf

sudo rm /etc/fonts/conf.d/10-no-sub-pixel.conf

sudo ln -s /etc/fonts/conf.available/10-hinting-medium.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d/.

sudo ln -s /etc/fonts/conf.available/10-sub-pixel-rgb.conf /etc/fonts/conf.d/.

sudo dpkg-reconfigure fontconfig

Restart Firefox (or other browser).

21. Remove system "beep"

You do not like the beep at boot? Disable the pc-speaker!
From terminal enter this command:

echo "blacklist pcspkr" | sudo tee -a /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
sudo rmmod pcspkr


22. Adjust audio (64 bit)

Have you found any problems with flash? You have distorted sound with Skype or Mplayer?
The solution is to open Terminal and enter this command:

echo /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/libc/ | sudo tee /etc/

23. Awaken LMDE with your mouse

Would you like to wake up your PC with the keyboard or mouse? It's easy.
In the terminal paste this command:

((echo '#!/bin/sh' && sed -rn 's/^.*(USB[0-9E]+|EUSB).*$/echo \1 > \/proc\/acpi\/wakeup/pg' /proc/acpi/wakeup) | sudo tee /etc/pm/sleep.d/05_usb && sudo chmod +x /etc/pm/sleep.d/05_usb)

24. Restore kernel headers

If you are using the 32bit version of LMDE, upgrading the kernel leads to the use of the PAE kernel, but this prevents the update of the headers, which need to run some software such as VirtualBox.
To fix this, launch Terminal and enter this command:

sudo aptitude install linux-headers-2.6-686-pae

and press ENTER.
Wait until the end of the installation, then close the terminal.

25. Ailurus

If you want to use Ailurus for some extras arrangements, here's how to install it.
From a terminal enter these commands one at a time:


gdebi-gtk ailurus_10.10.1-0maverick1_all.deb

rm ailurus_10.10.1-0maverick1_all.deb

When you start it you will be given a new version, ignore it, since it does not work on LMDE.