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*LMDE User Guide - For Windows® users

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Linux Mint for Windows® users

Welcome to the Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) User Guide.
Click on the below icons to get basic information about this operating system.
Happy reading :-)

Quick Info
* What's LMDE?
Unveil features of this distribution
* Try LMDE
How to try this distro
* Installing LMDE
How to install this distro on your PC
* Customizing LMDE
Customizing LMDE as your taste
* Installing new applications
Install much more apps, and tools
* Using Windows® applications
How to use Windows® applications
* More infos
Read the wall Guide
* Help
How to solve issues

Switching from a working environment such as Windows® to Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE), could be an interesting experience. For Windows® users LMDE could be the key solution to enrich their skills.
It's not necessary, nor recommended, to give up Windows®, LMDE is an enrichment of your computing ability, a completion of your knowledge.
Differently from Windows®, which is preinstalled in most sold computers around the world, LMDE its not, and you need to download it from internet, install it and configure it.

LMDE is different from Windows®. It's made and used by people who simply want to be different, which have a different vision of an operating system. It is this difference that makes Linux Mint so special.
Using LMDE could involve you to spread freedom, becoming part of friendly people community.
Have fun!
Do not be afraid about spyware, viruses, demos that expire, or search for truly free software.
Read following notes to understand hot to install LMDE beside your Windows®. LMDE is a fun, powerful, and friendly operating system.

1. How to understand which apps to use

LMDE, like all Linux systems, offers its own apps and tools, some of which are also available in the Windows® world (such as GIMP,, Audacity, Avidemux, Inkscape, etc..). Conversely LMDE don't have apps developed for Windows®. You can use tools comparable to those for Windows®, and the list of alternative software available for LMDE amounts to more than 30,000 packages. There is a brief overview of the alternative software.

To facilitate the user in finding the best apps for its needs, they were divided into categories, all listed in the main menu:
  • Accessories - Here is what LMDE has in this category
  • Sound & Video - Here is what LMDE has in this category
  • Graphics - Here is what LMDE has in this category
  • Internet - Here is what LMDE has in this category
  • Office - Here is what LMDE has in this category

2. Control Center

One of the utilities found in Windows® is the Control Panel, which is accessed by users to manage their system and make changes in behavior, appearance and performance. LMDE also comes with a convenient and extensive control panel, as you can see in the picture below.


To open the Control Panel, follow this path:

Main Menu → Control Center

As you can see the panel has two columns, one on the left shows links to various sections, while in the right one there are the sections themselves. There is also an input field to enter a search term. From this panel you can manage the entire system, and following this guide, you will discover how to configure and enhance your LMDE system.

3. Install and Remove applications

Install and remove applications in LMDE is very different than in Windows®. First, install and remove applications are operations that require administrative privileges, in order to avoid damages to the system, especially if the computer is shared with users who are unfamiliar with the underlie software installation / removal mechanisms.
In Linux there is no need to take file from Internet and install it as you do in Windows®. Applications are often linked to dependencies and shared libraries, which make the system more effective and lightweight. This, however, require attention and some kind of knowledge.
By default packages that can be installed, are preserved in deposits called Software Repositories. This allows greater control over product, a lower presence of bugs, and an easier upgrade process. LMDE handles these repositories with four different tools: Usually, the first way is easier for those approaches to LMDE for the first time, the second tool is for intermediate users. This tool can install / remove apps, but also update them, fix them, and so on. The third and fourth tools is suited more for advanced users, although their use is much faster than the first two.

4. System Administration

LMDE, unlikely Windows®, don't allows all users to do everything, to avoid risks to the system and its internal order. Some users are allowed to use the system, other users are allowed to use and modify the system. It is very important to understand this division.
At the time of LMDE installation, you must define a user that can use the system, without having the opportunity to modify it. You must create a user that can instead alter the entire system, this user is called root or administrator. It's the only one who can install programs, add other users, edit connections and networks, and perform functions that alter the operating system. When a normal user try to install an application, it is asked for the root password, if he knows it or if is the administrator, can do it, otherwise it will not do it.
This subdivision is a very effective method to keep system secure, and is one of the reasons why viruses and malware can not penetrate and damaging a Linux operating system.
Of course it is assumed that the root user knows what he is doing.


5. System reorganization

Generally LMDE is an operating system in which defragmentation is not required, nor scandisk and rarely require disk cleaning. However there are some tools tha mantain order in the system, such as Bleachbit. This tool clean cache, and the tmp directory.

6. Virus and Antivirus

One of the most important benefits using LMDE is the almost total absence of viruses and other bad software. The system is almost completely immune to malicious attacks, and does not need to install anti-virus, which leads to save disk space, save the system performance, maintaining system efficient and effective. The normal virus for Windows® will not work on Linux, so the opening infected email, do not affect the system.

Some authors promote antivirus installation, not to protect LMDE, but to protect Windows® users from virus passed through LMDE witn an e-mail. A good antivirus can be ClamAV, available through the Package Manager.

7. Data and files compatibility

One of the biggest problems they may affect Windows® users, switching to Linux, is compatibility of their files, made on Linux, on Windows®. The real problem is closed and proprietary format used by Windows®, to force users to use Microsoft™ products. Fortunately, there are universal formats that allow you to save your work, on Windows®, in those formats and then be able to edit them on LMDE using the same format.
However it is not yet fully resolved. In fact, Windows® users using special fonts, owned by Microsoft (Times New Roman, Arial, Verdana, Wingdings, Webdings and others). These fonts cannot be used on LMDE, but there are possibilities to install them. Just run the Software Manager and search for "ttf-mscorefonts-installer", then install the package. It should be noted that LMDE offers free formats "ttf-liberation" that have the same metric for Microsoft fonts.

It is recommended try first in Live session, and check that your files has your own settings. Do not edit your files without first creating a backup copy.

8. Known Issues

Known issues in the Linux world are few, but present and sometimes bothersome:

  • Hardware drivers - Unfortunately, the hardware available is not entirely supported by LMDE.
    Although a few devices are now having problems with Linux, some of them do not work on Linux, for the simple fact that hardware manufacturers do not release drivers for Linux and not even release its source code. This happens especially for the latest, or for exotic devices. Unfortunately, without drivers, devices don't work properly, therefore is available the LMDE Live session, which allows you to test devices support and control what is wrong.
    You should testing all devices you want to connect to the computer BEFORE installing LMDE. If in live session all work well, means that they are supported, otherwise it's necessary searching to find out if there is a solution to troubles.
    Pay attention when purchasing hardware. Take some informations about it. A great place to gather information is the Official Linux Mint Forum.
  • Widespread software - software designed for Windows® works only on Windows®, the software created for Linux (open source) works on Linux, but also often on Windows®. It is quite useless to hope to find Adobe Photoshop on Linux, because Adobe Photoshop is closed source software. This is because Adobe does not believe that Linux is an attractive market. This thing is the same for many other popular Windows® software.
    It is possible to run Windows software on Linux with some tricks, such as Wine, but this application requires lot of computer resources.
    If you really want run only Windows® software, LMDE is quite useless
  • Games - Playing games with Linux is possible but not desirable. Although the situation is slightly changed, the vast majority of games is made for Windows®, and only few complex games are available for Linux.
    Playing Windows® games is possible, but it's required high computer performances. Furthermore, some software that let you play Windows games on Linux, require buying.
  • video editing - Make, edit and record video clips with Linux is possible, but currently there is no real professional and high-level software like that available for Windows®. There are alternatives, but there is no complete applications suite that can be used in a professional environment.