Linux Mint 17 Cinnamon – The ultimate Windows 7 replacement


I believe that there is a version of Linux out there for everyone. One of the hardest sells is trying to convince someone who is using Windows 7 that there is a version of Linux suitable for them.

I have already written articles giving 5 reasons why Lubuntu might be better for Windows XP users and that PCLinuxOS might be better for Windows XP users with more powerful machines and Windows Vista users.

For Windows 8 users, I would imagine that just about any flavour of Linux is preferable but I would probably lean towards Ubuntu as I think Ubuntu provides the killer new desktop that Windows 8 has tried to introduce but in a much better way.

Windows 7 users are not running out of support and there isn’t all that much wrong with Windows 7, especially if you have used it for a while. Windows 7 is  probably the best version of Windows there has ever been.

The best Linux alternative for Windows 7 that I have found thus far is probably Zorin OS 8. That is up until now.

Today I am going to be reviewing Linux Mint 17 with the Cinnamon desktop environment which is the best that Linux Mint has to offer.

NOTE: There is now a new version of Linux Mint (version 17.1)

Click here for a review of Linux Mint 17.1 

System Requirements

  • x86 processor (32-bit) or x64 processor (64-bit)
  • 512 megabytes RAM (1 gigabyte recommended)
  • 10 gigabytes disk space
  • DVD or USB support


Click here for my guide showing how to create a bootable Linux Mint USB drive.
Click here for my guide showing how to install Linux Mint as a virtual machine.
Click here for my guide showing how to dual boot OSX and Linux Mint 17 on a MacBook Air.
Click here for my guide showing how to install Linux Mint alongside Windows 7.
Click here for my guide showing how to replace Windows 7 with Linux Mint.
Click here for my guide showing how to install Linux Mint alongside Windows 8.1.

For now though I am going to take you through the installation steps to show just how easy it is.

You will need to follow the guide showing how to create the Linux USB drive first.

Before you begin, backup your computer using the Windows 7 backup and recovery tools.

Insert the USB drive and reboot your computer.

Your computer should boot into a live version of Linux Mint 17.

Click on the install icon on the desktop.

Choose your installation language and click “Continue”.

You are then asked to connect to your wireless network. This is optional and to be honest I always choose not to connect.
The installer will use your internet connection to download updates as it goes which means when you boot Linux Mint 17 for the first time after installation it will be completely up to date.
If you have a slow internet connection this can take ages and if your connection drops then it is hard to know the state of your installation. I prefer to get the installation done first and then apply updates later.
Select your preferred option and click “Continue”.
The next steps shows you how well prepared you are for installing Linux Mint. If you have three green ticks then you are good to go. (The only one you really have to worry about is disk space and if you are not using a power source make sure your battery is charged).
Click “Continue”.
If you are running Windows 7 then the image above will look slightly different but basically you get the option to replace the current operating system, install alongside the current operating system or something else.
In the past I have always recommended choosing something else as this will help during upgrades but because Linux Mint 17 is a long term support release with a number of years support it is OK to choose the option to erase the disk and install Linux Mint 17.
Choose your preferred option and click “Continue”.
The rest of the steps are very straight forward. Choose your location.
Choose your keyboard layout.
 Create a default user and a name for your computer.
and wait for the installation to complete which for me took less than 10 minutes.

First Impressions

The best thing about Linux Mint is that the developers haven’t tried to be too clever.
One thing that turns people off Ubuntu is the Unity Desktop because the user interface just isn’t familiar to them.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like Ubuntu and I like the user interface that Unity provides. I get what the Ubuntu developers have tried to achieve and I think they have done an amazing job.
A few years ago people heard the word Unity and they said “Yuck”. Now more and more people ask how to get Unity for their Linux distribution.
Linux Mint bucked the trend and stuck with the same principles that made Windows XP and Windows 7 a success. The user interface is completely familiar to anyone who has used computers for the past 20 years.
Linux Mint is also incredibly consistent. Whether you use the lightweight XFCE version, KDE, MATE or Cinnamon the look and feel is pretty much the same. The only thing that changes is the programs used to achieve the look and feel.
The Cinnamon desktop is extremely well polished and more than matches anything that Windows 7 has to offer in terms of asthetics.

Everything is just where you would expect it to be. The panel at the bottom works in much the same way as the Windows 7 task bar. There is a menu, a set of quick launch icons and a system tray.

The quick launch icons allow you to show the desktop, load the default web browser, open a terminal window and open the file manager. The quick launch icons can be customised.
The system tray has icons for helping you to manage common system settings.
The default icons are as follows:


  • Notifications
  • User settings
  • Bluetooth settings
  • Network settings
  • Audio settings
  • Power settings
  • Updates
  • Clock
  • Workspace selector



The menus used by Linux Mint are slightly different depending on the desktop environment that you choose to use.
The Cinnamon desktop environment doesn’t try and confuse you with new interfaces but enhances on the experiences that you are likely to already have encountered.
The menu is fairly straight forward.
The left column has a series of icons for the applications that you will use regularly. (Favourites).
By default the icons are as follows: (From top to bottom)
  • FireFox Web Browser
  • Software Manager
  • Settings
  • Terminal
  • File Manager
  • Lock Screen
  • Log Out
  • Quit

The second column in the menu is a list of categories and by hovering your mouse over a category the third column changes to show the applications within that category.

Dragging an icon from the applications column to the favourites column will make it more accessible next time you open the menu.

Connecting to the internet

Connecting to the internet with Linux Mint is generally incredibly simple. Assuming that you have a network card that is automatically catered for then all you need to do is click on the icon in the system tray and select the wireless network you wish to connect to.

You will then also need to enter the security details for the wireless network (assuming that it isn’t an open network).

To browse web pages use the FireFox web browser.

Flash and MP3

Some Linux distributions do not include proprietary technology such as the ability to play Flash videos and listen to MP3 audio.

Linux Mint has everything you need installed from the outset, so you can watch your favourite Youtube videos, play your favourite games and listen to your music collection with no further setup required.


Linux Mint has a great selection of applications that are installed by default.

Linux Mint is in a better state when it is first installed than Windows is and for the most part requires no extra specialist software to be installed for the most common uses of home computers.


  • Archive Manager
  • Calculator
  • Document Viewer
  • Screenshot
  • Terminal
  • Text Editor
  • USB Image Writer


  • GIMP image editor
  • gThumb image thumbnail viewer
  • Image Viewer
  • ImageMagick
  • LibreOffice Draw
  • Scan

For those of you that haven’t heard of GIMP it is a fine picture editing tool. A lot of people liken it to Photoshop. Generally there is a debate to be had as to whether it really has everything that Photoshop has to offer but for the casual user it certainly is incredibly powerful.


  • FireFox Web Browser
  • HexChat IRC Chat Client
  • Pidgin Internet Messenger
  • Thunderbird Mail Client
  • Transmission BitTorrent Client



  • LibreOffice Writer (think Microsoft Word but without the awful Ribbons)
  • LibreOffice Calc (think Microsoft Excel but without the awful Ribbons)
  • LibreOffice Impress (think Microsoft Powerpoint)
  • LibreOffice Draw
  • LibreOffice Math

LibreOffice complements Linux Mint very well as it provides the same sort of continuation and familiarity that Linux Mint provides. There are certainly none of those stupid ribbon bars making it impossible to find settings.

For home use LibreOffice definitely has all the features you will require and is perfect for children who have homework assignments or for parents to create budgets.

Sound and Video

  • Banshee Audio Player
  • Brasero DVD burning
  • Totem Video Player
  • VLC Video Player

One thing that Linux isn’t lacking is good quality audio applications.

Off the top of my head there are Rhythmbox, Banshee, Amarok, Clementine, GMusicBrowser, DeadBeef, Noise and QMMS.

Linux Mint comes with Banshee. I have had problems with this application in the past but it works perfectly within Linux Mint 17.

Importing music is as simple as selecting the “Import Media” option from the “Media” menu. This allows you to select the folders on your computer that contain audio files.

Banshee lets you listen to music from your own collection or you can listen to online radio stations.

All the standard features are available such as the ability to create playlists.

Banshee works very well with external audio devices and picked up my Sony Walkman and Samsung Galaxy S4 without any issues.

The VLC media player can be used to watch online videos and also to watch videos stored on your computer.

Installing Applications

One area where Linux Mint is better than Ubuntu is the graphical tool used for installing applications.

The Ubuntu Software Centre is probably the biggest let down and the one area where Ubuntu really needs to improve.

Linux Mint’s software manager is actually pretty decent.

The default view provides a list of categories and a search box in the top right corner.

If you just want to browse applications click on a category and a list of applications will appear.

The applications are listed by title, description, rating and number of people who voted.

To get more information about an application double click on the name.

The details page includes screenshots, version numbers, file sizes and reviews.

To install the application click “Install”.


One thing that isn’t installed by default is games.

There are various ways of installing and playing games in Linux Mint.

The first way is to open the software manager and browse the games section.



The number of games listed in the software manager aren’t incredibly extensive but there are first person shooters, platform games, racing games etc.
Another option is games emulation. The software manager has emulators for the Commodore Amiga, Atari 2600, Sinclair Spectrum, SNES, NES, Playstation One, N64 and many others.
If you already have a good selection of Windows games then the third option is to use PlayOnLinux which is also available from the software centre.

PlayOnLinux sits on top of WINE which allows you to run Windows applications within Linux Mint.

PlayOnLinux can be used for more than just installing Windows games and it can be used to install other Windows applications such as Microsoft Office.
The level of success with running Windows applications is improving but is still a bit hit and miss.
The games seem to work very well generally. I bought and installed Sensible World Of Soccer from and it works really well.
The final but best option for playing games is through STEAM. More and more top quality games are provided for Linux via the STEAM platform.
You can install STEAM from the software manager.
Using STEAM you can buy, download and install games which can be used directly from your Linux Mint desktop.

Customising the desktop

The first thing that you might like to change is the default desktop wallpaper.
To change the wallpaper right click on the desktop and choose “Change Desktop Background”.
Linux Mint comes with a nice selection of wallpapers but you can add your own by clicking on the “Add” icon.
Another thing you can add to the desktop is something called desklets. The “Add Desklets” option is available from the right click menu on the desktop.
By default there aren’t that many desklets available but you can get more online. (Click the “Get More Online” tab.
The desklets for me look a bit clunky but they make it easier to view photos and provide instant access to your music collection etc.
Another thing you can customise is the panel at the bottom. You can add more items to the panel by right clicking the panel and selecting “Add applets to panel”.

New features for Linux Mint 17

The release notes for Linux Mint can be found at
The new features are as follows:
  • Improved update manager
  • The driver manager can now install drivers without an internet connection
  • Refined MDM login manager and multi monitor support improved
  • HTML greeter comes with HiDPI support
  • MDM now has a recovery command
  • Language Settings tool added to make it easier to select your language
  • Improved Software Sources display
  • Welcome screen now uses less resources
  • Improved graphical interface for system settings
  • Power management and screen saver settings redesigned
  • Menu improvements
  • HUD and Hover Management Improvements
  • MPRIS support added
  • HiDPI and Retina display support added
  • The “WACOM” plug has been re-introduced
  • Windows opacity improvements
  • Better integration with Gnome
  • Better support for GDM
  • Support for MDM failback shutdown sequence
  • New shutdown hotkey
  • Lots of bug fixes

This list doesn’t cover everything and may not make sense to new users so it would be beneficial to click the link above to get the full list.

What is important with Linux Mint 17 is the LTS strategy. Linux Mint 17 will receive support updates until 2019.

Until 2016 Linux Mint will use the same package base as Linux Mint 17 making it easier to upgrade.

Until 2016 the developers won’t begin work on a new base and will be focus completely on the current base.

Hot Corners and Workspaces

The Cinnamon desktop has a configuration tool called “Hot Corners” which lets you determine what happens when you move your mouse into the corners of your screen.

Before thinking about hot corners it is worth discussing workspaces first.

In Windows you only have one workspace. This means if you have lots of applications open then you either have to make windows smaller to place them side by side or have them overlay each other.

To switch between applications you have to either alt and tab or click with your mouse.

Linux has virtual workspaces which means you can have for instance one workspace which you use to do work and another for emails, chat, Facebook etc.

To use hot corners open the settings screen and select “Hot Corners”.

You can specify what happens when you click or hover in a corner. The choices are to show all workspaces, show all windows, run a command or show the desktop.

All four corners can be customised to work the way you want them to.

For instance if I hover into the top left corner on my computer I will see the following screen:

By default there are two workspaces and switching is as simple as clicking the workspace. To add a new workspace click the plus symbol.


There are a number of known issues listed as part of the release notes:

  • The “Replace OS with Linux Mint” option doesn’t just replace the operating system with the Linux Mint it erases the entire disk. This is important for people who dual boot. You need to use the “Something Else” option.
  • There may be an issue with Skype which can be fixed by installing “ia32-libs”.
  • If VLC does not find your DVD player, click on Media->Open Disc, and specify ‘/dev/sr0’ as the disc device.
  • HiDPI is detected automatically. You can however force Cinnamon to run
    in low or in high DPI mode by going to Menu->Preferences->General.
  • If your system is using secureBoot, turn it off.Note: Linux Mint 17 places its boot files in /boot/efi/EFI/ubuntu to work around
  • Freeze issues with NVidia cards (there are workarounds provided via the release notes)
  • Booting with Non-PAE causes issues (refer to the release notes for the workaround)

Something that isn’t on the list but that was reported via Reddit last week is that copying from a device to Linux Mint via the file manager can cause the file to get lost.

To try this out I plugged in my Samsung Galaxy S4 and moved files from the Samsung Galaxy to my Linux Mint 17 installation.

As you can see from the images above I wasn’t able to reproduce this issue.

My advice when moving files from one device to another would be to copy the files first and then when you are sure they have reached their destination delete the source files. This prevents the chance of the files getting lost.

I haven’t had any other issues whilst running Linux Mint 17 and I have had it installed for around 2 weeks now.


Linux Mint 17 is a great choice for the everyday Linux user. It is easy to install, easy to use and has a good selection of applications.

There is nothing revolutionary about Linux Mint. It isn’t like Ubuntu daring to enter new territory with a new user interface. It sits firmly in the camp of “things were and are working just fine so lets not change them”.

The user interface for the Cinnamon desktop is visually pleasing and very professional.

The hardware support is extensive and the stability is incredibly good.

I would recommend Linux Mint for all users and not just Windows users looking to try Linux for the first time.

Linux Mint is a great example of how good an operating system can be.

Thankyou for reading.



    • I tried Mint Debian last winter and found it worste Mint distribution ever. Avoid it. One desktop i prefer is Mint MATE. You can much more customize your desktop compared to Cinnamon.

      Anyway Mint 17 has been impressive and might be even better than Mint 13. Especially Mint Update is now working better than ever before.

  1. You cannot replace windows 7 stability, software like office/autocad/photoshop etc, easy encrypted sharing, options for everything, games, much better drivers, hardware acceleration for flash etc, optimus support just with updates … etc etc etc…

    Linux is still a crap OS for desktop!

    • Yup, you're dead right.

      I used Linux Mint for quite along while previously because I was interested in trying it out and seeing if I could get it the way I wanted it as an alternative to Windows.
      Eventually I stopped using it for a variety of reasons, the main ones being (i) completely erratic wi-fi connection (Google Mint wifi and you'll see I'm not alone!) – sometimes it worked sometimes it didn't, and eventually it didn't at all, (ii) crap Office suite – both Libre Office and Open Office are like something out of the 1980s compared to MS Office, plus the document layouts are frequently all over the place, (iii) nightmarish command line software installation. Plenty of other gripes, but that's enough.

      Anyway, I though I would revisit and downloaded Linux Mint 17. Guess what, still no wifi, amateurish-looking GUI, etc etc. Nothing much has changed.

      Linux fanboys have been going on for years about how Linux was going to make a big impact on the desktop market. Never happened, never going to happen.

      Linux is a great server OS, but way, way behind Windows & Mac for usability on the desktop (and I'm no lover of Macs!)

    • Opinions are opinions and all criticism is good if it is constructive and whilst I might not agree with what you have just written I accept your points.

      I have never had any issues with the Mint WIFI connection and I am surprised with your comments about the amateurish looking GUI. Microsoft are stealing most of their concepts for Windows 10 straight from the Linux desktop.

      MS Word isn't great at everything. Bullets and numbering are shocking, it keeps changing between fonts and styles without warning. I am still yet to get used to the ribbon bar as a concept.

      As for the Windows 8 desktop. What is professional about switching to a desktop mode, running an application and then to run another application you have to switch backed to a tiled window? For those of us who like the mouse it is horrendous.

      Drivers aren't good in Windows because of Windows but because of the manufacturers. Linux just needs more manufacturers to be on its side.

    • My wife is an executive who runs two companies. I introduced her to Linux Mint about a year ago and she loves it. She is not a technical person, but is very sharp. She'll figure out a lot of things that would give "techies" problems. She is also a very unforgiving, bottom-line, type of person who happens to be objective. She has to be this way. Her only reason to go to Windows is to used a single application for which there is no Linux equivalent, but that accounts for a small percentage of her computer use (maybe about 5%).

      She loved Linux so much that she had me setup an old XP laptop that she now uses for managing her photos and music. For that I installed a 1 TB hard-drive and SolydX. SolydX is a Debian based offshoot from former members of the Mint development team. It has been rock solid and works almost perfectly according to my wife. She hated Windows XP, but is happy with Win 7.

      But like to many PC owners who used XP, Microsoft has abandoned them. Even high-end laptops can't run anything after XP. This is where Linux Mint, and others, have proven to be the best alternative. Every article advising existing PC owners to upgrade ONLY mention buying new Windows based PC's, or Mac's, as options. For many, the real best option is Linux.

      One problem with Linux, however, is that some installations require expert help to get a certain driver to work. The fix maybe as simple as typing a one line command, but that is enough to blow most PC owners away. However, I had similar problems with a USB network interface for a Win 7 machine.

      Windows is seen as "easier" because so many machines come with Windows pre-installed on them, but they are far from being idiot proof. Easier is not always better. There are numerous things about Linux that are far superior than in Windows.
      1. Yes, there are a lot of free applications that work very well.
      2. No, you don't need to buy a lot of aftermarket tools for maintenance.
      3. You don't have to defrag hard-drives, a necessary but time consuming issue with Windows. The true average PC owners fail to maintain their PC's.
      4. Security is much better under Linux. While it is possible to infect a Linux machine, it actually requires very explicit efforts to enable infection. While truly average PC users may be blown away at going to the command line to install something, the same goes for enabling infected files and attachments.
      5. Linux on older, resource limited, XP machines runs much more stable and better than XP ever could, and is at least the equal of Windows 7 on newer machines.

      I could go on and on, but it won't matter for some. Reminds me of the saying, "Don't explain: your enemies don't care, and your friends don't need it".

    • There are many reasons why Linux as an alternative is worth talking about and considering. I can't understand why some are actually anti-Linux. Seems that they need to "get-over" something.

      People have their opinions, but the one opinion that has hit home with me regarding Linux as a viable option is my wife's. Again, no one is less forgiving than her. If Linux "sucked", then she would say so. She's the most conscientious person that I know, but won't waste a nano-second when making decisions regarding where and how she spends her time. Her motivation for using Liinux is that XP was too slow, too unstable, and took way too long to become usable after startup. To her, Linux Mint lets her laptop run the way it should. There's no religion or politics for her. It either works, or it doesn't.

      I recently upgraded routers. Under Linux, the change was 100% transparent. Not so under either Windows XP or 7 with regards to printers and scanners.

      So Linux IS a great alternative for some. Maybe not all, but definitely for people who have older XP machines, and even newer machines. Anyone who tries to paint EVERYTHING Linux as "bad" or "inferior" has no credibility with me. The difference between me and maybe some other readers is that I KNOW what I'm talking about from experience.

      I admit that Linux has its shortcomings, but those are getting smaller and smaller over time, and the "industry" is getting behind Linux more and more with each passing year. As some hardware and software vendors announce their support for Linux, those who don't will find themselves being less attractive. Change is ALWAYS inevitable when it comes to technology. I've seen it with Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Sun Microsystems, and others. Companies like IBM, HP, Google, and Apple have to adopt or die.

      When setting up printing on my wife's Linux machine, I showed her that it uses CUPS, as do Mac's. Android's use a Linux kernel, and Apple OS's follow a UNIX lineage. Most industrial-grade internet servers use Linux. So at present, the only real oddball is Windows. Something to think about the next time one tries to belittle Linux. Their absolute condemnation of Linux being future-less as a desktop OS is little different than the prognostications of DEC and Sun. Tech. knows that, as Sam Cook sang in 1963, "A Change Is Gonna Come".

    • Many of us use Linux as our regular desktop OS with no issues. Granted there are some applications that are not available for it but that is not actually the fault of the OS itself. However, there are many many Linux apps which are available to perform the same tasks. These are often free to download and use.

      Sure if you work in a colour managed workflow environment then you're likely to need Adobe Photoshop. But for domestic users The GIMP is more than sufficient as an image editing tool. 95% of the Photoshop user base uses 5% of it's power.

      Gaming is another area. Developers are starting to consider the Linux world as viable. Again the OS is not the problem here.

      But to badge all Linux as crap is very very short sighted. There are dozens and dozens of distributions. That's like saying all food is crap because you dislike ice cream!

    • I can say the same about windows, its crap, it is slow, heavy on system system resources. We tested Linux Mint 17.2 about 2 years ago, as an alternative to the new "problematic" Window 8 (now Windows 10). We would have had to replace all the PC in the office as they can't even run win 7. We are still using the first installation on all our old machines,we did not have to replace computers, we have not have on blue screen, Linux just runs, day after day. Windows on the other hand always come up with some shit on Monday morning and you spend half the day sorting out crap. So, i have used a little of win 7, it is slow on a i5, slower than mint on a Core2, and the the stupid updates when you shutdown, I have nor used Win8 or Win10, i don't need to. Microsoft is a ripoff, don't spend money on windows before you "seriously" with an open mind looked at Linux mint 17 or 18, it changed my live and my company's life.

  2. I have looked at all of these apps more than once and have tried to make Linux my "go to" operating system. The main issue with Linux as a true desktop alternative is due to the fact that it lacks corporate driven applications and it unfocused plethora of distributions. (Note, I am not talking about the server side.)​

    Secondly, there are truly no killer applications for the OS. Yes, you can virtualize. But if you are going to do that, it just make sense to run Mac OS or Windows.

    As for these apps:

    GIMP…it sucks royally and is nowhere close to being an alternative to Photoshop. It is not in the same league and the learning curve is horrible.

    LibreOffice. Sorry, Microsoft Office is the king here. You can use Office via the cloud or use Google Apps. I would not ever risk a proposal or dissertation with LibreOffice. The folks in Linux land need to get someone who understands human computer interaction. The interface is freakishly ugly and the application is bloated. I am sorry. You get what you pay (or not) for. Yeah, it is free, but it is needs work to compete. If someone would fun the application, I am sure that it could be developed the way it should. Right now, it is barely screaming Windows 3.0 aesthetically.

    In short, Linux has to grow up and someone has to put some funding behind it to make it shine. Mac OS X and Google Chrome should serve as an inspiration.

    I do think it is possible for Linux to be a desktop mainstay. It is just a geeks toy. In short, I do not know of one business that has Linux a replacement for their desktops. For all of the reasoning that the fanboys will fire at this post, I am sorry…outside of the server room, Linux is a dud.

    • Yes you are right, but for an user who surf the net, listen music, watch videos, and do some common task, LinuxMint is the perfect choice, because all it's working out-of-the-box, no need to install drivers,flash,codecs,browsers,players,etc.
      I do not say that GNU-Linux is better than Windows or vice versa, they both have they users and fans, hell you can even compare them, i like both ( i dual-boot ) and i think Mint it is one of the best GNU-Linux representative.

    • No it's not a perfect choice for those, who just watches videos and uses skype. I have a serious problem with video playing on Mint17 – movie falls into rectangles, when there's fast action in the scene. It's not the first problem with movies (one was – splitting of the picture, upper half aside from lower one. That was in Mint15).
      I have both a job and a hobbies and simply have no time or energy to fight Linux bugs (and there's always a chance, that even when you'll try all ten known solutions the problem will stay, or that a month after you solved a problem it/other problem will emerge out of nowhere).

      PS. Skype is even worse, my outgoing videostream sometimes green(!), sometimes absent.

    • We started slowing replacing our windows 7 boxes at work with Mint just over 12 months ago. Libreoffice does everything that MS office did, just faster and with less crashes. We were even able to run both Base and Access front ends while people got used to the more power and extra features of Base.

      We only dual booted the first couple of test machines as we found after a couple of weeks no one as booting into Windows any more.

      I think you just to spend more then 2 seconds looking at Libreoffice.

  3. I was a confirmed Microsoft dude at home and work until 3 days ago when I found a fully functional Lenovo SL500 at the dump. I installed Mint 17/Cinnamon after figuring out how to create an .iso image and was up and running in no time. I became fully Mint capable in about 4 hours and find the OS very fast on what would have been a doggy Win 7 machine. AFAIAC, the OS with all budled software + a few extras could very easily replace my MS home computer (it may very soon). I found the interface refreshing and actually enjoyed the learning experience since the OS and most software was laid out so logically. The Libre layout may seem dated but I actually prefer that MS office 2003 style format which is what I still use at home. I've been hacking away at Office 2010 at work for years and can easily work all packages, but I just prefer the simple menu layout of the Libre package/Office 2003, it simply works. I would say function takes precedence over form, but the chosen Linux form factor still manages to be pleasant and logical. The entire software package is MUCH leaner than any MS product and I like the fact that it is open source and does not support a huge corporate entity. I'm hooked, I will donate some $$ and I look forward to learning and tweaking even more. Is it perfect, of course not-what is??!! Can it replace MS everything where I work, nope-not yet at least, but if it gains more acceptance in the corporate world, who knows. With proper IT support, maybe that day will come sooner for the macro business world. What I do know is think Mint 17 can easily replace Windows for me at home, a non-gamer power user dealing with PC's since 1987 when the 8088 processor ruled and a streaming image of a coffee poy from some college was the coolest thing on the web. As an aside, from an environmental standpoint, the OS is probably helping keep alot of decent computer hardware out of the trrash since it seems to run so well on what would otherwise be outdate inoperable computer hardware. Less e;lectronic waste is a GOOD thing. In addition, it may help get onine access to people who cannot afford a full boat Windows PC with MS office, another good thing. I say Bravissimo to the past present and future developers.

  4. I'm buying my old Windows XP laptop off my company this week. To protect the company data they will wipe everything off the computer (including OS). Paying only $150 for the computer I didn't really want to spend more on Windows + Office than the value of the computer in the first place.

    Instead I've been looking into Linux/LibreOffice. Previously I had looked at them but it all seemed too difficult. Linux Mint has made me change my mind. Finally it is looking like a real alternative which people in the mainstream could actually switch to.

    Anyways – I'll give it a shot next week so wish me luck!

  5. For those who are trying Mint for the first time, I strongly suggest that you use the forums for newbies. The people there are very helpful.

    I have PC's of various capabilities and capacities, so I'm actually installing different versions of Linux on each one. In some cases, I'm just interested in seeing how different they are to get a feel for what I do or don't like. The beauty of having so many options is that it's easy to find a solution that will breath new life into older hardware.

    Thus far, after installing a different Linux on 6 different computers (laptops and desktops), only one computer has caused me grief. Four of the 6 installed incredibly fast and easy (much better than ANY Windows install that I've every done, and there were MANY).

    I think it's very important for EVERYONE to know that they do NOT have to buy either a new PC or Mac. Linux is a wonderful option, and especially for older hardware.

    Sure, there are pluses and minuses regarding these choices, but there are enough pluses when considering Linux. I've been away from Linux for many years, and I've got to say that today's Linux, Like Mint 17 Cinnamon, are leap years ahead of the Linux that I once knew.

    BTW, all of my machines are dual-boot with Linux as the default. Only one machine will be used primarily for Windows. Good luck to you all!

    • I've been using windows since DOS, I love XP, 7 and 8.1, but I can now do anything on Linux Mint that I did on Windows including CAD and GIS. It's way easier to install Linux than Windows. I've been using computers since 1985 and Linux is certainly now a viable option. Very easy to install, you no longer have to be a geek, anyone can do it, I think that bothers some Linux geeks, LOL.

  6. Attempted to install driver for Netgear wireless adapter, found no help anywhere, chat on mint no one helped there either. OS should acknowledge hardware, does not. Stupid OS.

  7. I have been watching / trying Linux for years and have the same issues as most who try to convert from Windows. It installs ok but not great and it is NOT AS SIMPLE as everyone makes it out to be. I too have been working with pc's since pre 8088, am a network support specialist / consultant but when it takes me 3 days to get wireless working, it tells me Linux is still not ready. I could not imagine any home user trying to resolve issues and alot of the forums attendees are snooty snot nosed children

    • That is an extreme case. In most cases getting wireless working is about a 5 second job. I would agree that on forums and in social media the attitudes of some people are at the best arrogant and at the worst ignorant and abusive but that is a symptom of society in general. Most people are very helpful and there are people in the chat rooms and on forums that go well out of their way to provide solutions for no reward other than the satisfaction of helping someone out

    • yup. If the poster really has been around a while "sincee pre 8088" he should know that forum crap exists in every…forum, always has. Yet I've had nothing but good experiences in official linux mint/ubuntu forums. Also, I've not had much trouble with mint at home. Not sure what the "not as simple" comment was. Depends what hardware you've got. I did have an old xp machine that wouldn't run win7 so I added the newest AGP card I could find and worked barely but Mint 17 was better but not good enough video using its stock drivers. The mobo and old GPU were just not supported anymore by anyone. so there are situations that any linux or other OS for that matter won't fix. But most hardware past say 2008 should be just fine in mint17

    • You say that you've been "watching / trying Linux for years". When was the last time, exactly? I've got Mint installed on 4 older computers, including 3 laptops. I've got Linux installed on 6 computers overall, and all installs are as of the past few months. In each case all driver issues were resolved within a few hours, and I'm no system administrator. I hate doing SA work. In every case, when Linux installed without driver issues (most of the time, but not always), the installs took between 20 and 30 minutes. Mint is almost trivial to install.

      I set up a Mint Cinnamon laptop (HP running at 1.7GHz with 2 GB RAM) for my wife, and she'll never use XP again. This was an older XP machine that she uses for business. She's totally non-technical, and as unforgiving as they get (she's an executive), and she absolutely LOVES Mint!

      I later setup another laptop (HP running at 1.6 GHz with 2 GB RAM) so that she can work with music, photo's, and videos. For this install I used SolydX, 32-bit. This was also an XP machine. In both the Cinnamon and Solyd install cases, the computers run better than they ever could under XP.

      I have to say, I'm most impressed with 32-bit SolydX on that old laptop. It is ROCK SOLID! Cinnamon is definitely better than XP, but SolydX is outright impressive.

    • Last week I bought a Dell laptop, with no OS.
      Have tried to install dual boot Windows 7 and Mint.
      Mint was up and running in less than 30 minutes, but the Genuine Windows 7 took me about a day to be ready. Had to use another laptop to find and download wireless driver to install it on the Dell. Then other tens of drivers for video, audio, ethernet, etc.
      So, which OS is not ready?!
      Have to mention that I am not involved in computer business, just an average computer user.
      I am using Mint for about 5-6 years, on all my desktops, laptops, netbooks I had for business and home. Had absolute no problems in these years! Stable and rock solid OS!

  8. I am windows user till now from the childhood and very much new to LINUX environment, i still worked little bit with RHEL.

    Right now am planning to move to LINUX for my desktop machine since i am unable to upgrade to latest hardware at this moment.

    Currently running windows 7 Ultimate with Core2Duo 1GIG RAM, 360 GB HDD and LCD Monitor.

    Am not a heavy user when it comes to my desktop machine.

    My basic usages will be MS-OFFICE, PDF, Winamp, VLC, Yahoo Messenger, Skype, Surfing Net.

    Right now am experiencing very much lag in my desktop machine and i really lose my patience since everytime all applications taking time to open and freezes quite often.

    Since am running with low end specs that is normal i believe. Since i don have the option to upgrade my hardware am thinking of moving to LINUX after reading many blogs/forums.

    Right now am confusing with the configuration i have which LINUX flavor will be best suited for me?

    Kindly guide me in chosing one.

    Any help on this is much appreciated.

    Thank you Experts 🙂

    Dinesh R

  9. Thank you so much Gary, I can't wait to try out Mint, where can I download Mint 17 Mate and will my Huawei 3G modem work on it?.. No clue which Huawei modem it is but I got it last week so it must be one of the newer versions

  10. I am a Computer Engineer and did not know of Linux that much. I heard it was a geeks platform and that very few specialists could understand it. But while I was in university, I wanted to understand Linux and Ubuntu was in its infancy. The best distro at that time that I liked and closely resembled Windows was Vector Linux. I installed it on a Pentium III computer but it was so hard to use. Things simple as the clipboard for copy and paste was not engineered well i.e. you could not copy from one application and into another application. That is how bad things used to be.

    Then Ubuntu started taking fame but its orange desktop was just a complete turn off. They tried something different but no luck. In our Uni labs we would use Mandrake Linux and it had one of the ancient looking desktops. Windows XP was way way more sexy.

    Driver support was very limited. I was very passionate of doing my project using linux thinking it would be very sexy and it would have been if things were more well integrated.

    BUT I never lost hope in linux. Even during my years in uni I could see that linux was evolving and had potential. I have always been keeping an eye on it. Then one day Linux Mint pops out and I go through, install it and immediately fall in love with it. Sure it had its sets of problems and some things were new and difficult to learn but with persistence I learned quite a lot. I even designed my Wedding cards using Gimp…lol

    Linux has come a long way. I still use Windows and Linux together. I run simulations and I find Linux to be much better at handling that due to its better memory management and more CPU power then a Windows platform.

    Recently, I am beginning to move away from Windows due to its bloated size that just keeps increasing with each new release. Slows down the computer and the real power of the computer really lost in just the upkeep of the Window OS. Linuxmint does not do that.

    So for all those folks judging the book by its cover…you need to work Linux first before you really start admiring it. Here is what you should do….just use Linux and abolish Windows. Every time you face a problem with Linuxmint look for a solution. Keep trying and keep working. This way you will get a better understanding and then you would eventually start personalizing it. Once you do that…you will realise that there is no going back.

  11. Our church had two older desktop computers that they wanted somebody to wipe, so that they could sell them at a garage sale.

    I wiped the computers, and didn't have any recovery software. So, I decided to install the Linux Mint XFCE that was recommended for older computers.

    The software installed without a hitch. I was able to get on the internet with Mozilla Firefox, and check my mail with Thunderbird.

    Next, I plugged in my Epson Scanner. The operating system recognized the scanner and installed the drivers. The scanner worked with no problems. I tried my Canon scanner and it installed as easily as the other scanner.

    Next, I tried my Samsung laser printer. It also worked without a hitch. When I updated to Windows 7, my scanners wouldn't work on Windows 7. I ended up buying third party software from Hammerick, for about $40 to get my old scanners to work with Windows 7. I was pleasantly surprised how easily I got my scanners and printer working on Linux Mint.

    The Llibre Office works well for me as a home user. I can open Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, or Excel documents with the supplied software.

    I also had no problems watching videos, or viewing photos. The Gimp software may not be as easy to use as Photoshop, but has similar features and tools. Photoshop is a very expensive program. Where else can you find a photo program that has layers, masks, brushes, selection tools, etc., for free.

    The Software Manager was another feature that I liked on the Linux system. It was fun installing games and other applications. Programs are easy to ad, and seem to be free of viruses and malware.

    In conclusion, if you have an old computer that you'd like to install a modern operating system on, I 'd recommend trying Linux Mint XFCE. I enjoyed playing with the church computers so much that I bought a 32GB flashdrive and made it into a Linux computer that I can boot too during start up.

  12. I'm retired now, but I did work extensively with UNIX back in the day. I never really liked Linux (RH, Suse, Mandrake, etc.) mostly using them for compute farms.

    My sons laptop died with what seemed to be a bad disk, Bought a new one and the PC saw that as corrupt as well. As a shot in the dark I installed Mint 17 and aside from some grumbling when I first brought it up on the disk it's been a dream over these past couple of days. The box has only 2 GB RAM but it's axing the 4 GB Win7 and 6GB Win 8 box in home (both run as clean and tight as you please). I found a pair of 4GB memories for very cheap, can't wait to see that. On to games today, and then Office.

    Great work team! Haters? Sad lot.

  13. Hi Gary
    As usual a very insightful and wonderful article, I just installed Linux Mint 13 in an old laptop and it runs perfectly… I'm thinking to install LinuxMint 17 alongside with Windows 7 Professional in my laptop at work but I have some questions about migrating my email account and structure (I use Thunderbird as my email) from Windows to LinuxMint.
    If you can help me I will appreciate very much,

    Juan Carlos

    • Hi Juan,

      That is a good question and one that deserves an article. With regards to the emails themselves if you use webmail then after installing Mint you should be able to install Thunderbird and link back to the webmail and it will redownload all of your emails.

      As for the structure, I will have to look into that.



  14. Just want to put my two cents in here to say that I ADORE Linux Mint 17 Qiana LTS!

    I'd never heard of Linux and never even knew there were alternatives to Windows, so when someone explained it to me, I began circling around the net and reading about various distros – then It took me another couple of months to decide to take the plunge and wipe Windows entirely from my system in favour of a Linux, but I'm definitely not looking back.

    I'm not at all 'savvy' when it comes to things computer-ish – in fact, you could say I'm as thick as two bricks, so taking the plunge was a bit of a terrifying prospect. If only I knew how incredibly easy it was going to be, I'd have done it a couple of months sooner.

    Personally, I despise Microsoft and all it stands for so when Win-7 suddenly began telling me that I didn't have a 'genuine' version – 4 years after having purchased the damn thing – and their unhelpful, lazy, tech people could only suggest that I buy the product all over again, it was the last, disgusting, straw.

    For those still considering making the shift, please believe me when I tell you that f I can download, burn a copy of Mint, install it, customize it and familiarize myself with it literally overnight, then ANYONE can do it.

    I'm most grateful to the Linux community for their years of hard work, dedication, the philosophy they base all they do upon, and all they've created; they certainly set me free!

    • That was a great point about Windows 7 by the way. I have Windows 8.1 as a dual boot and when I last created a recovery drive I decided to save disk space by having the recovery media written straight to a USB hard drive. This is a Windows tool and it was Windows that suggested removing the Windows 8.1 recovery partition. Now I can't restore from the external hard drive. The recovery partition is just not found. Now my Windows isn't goosed so I have created recovery media using Clonezilla and Macrium (a new guide coming out this week) but without knowing about these options Microsoft suggested buying a new DVD. Shocking. At least with Linux if it all goes wrong you can get the initial media again for no charge.

    • Sorry, Gary, but the only part of that I understood was, "Microsoft suggested buying a new DVD. Shocking. At least with Linux if it all goes wrong you can get the initial media again for no charge."… (Told you I'm as thick as two bricks when it comes to tech stuff!)

      Yes, that kind of 'helpful advice' seems to be fairly typical, doesn't it?

      Once I made the decision to install Linux Mint, it was with the unforgiving attitude that all things 'Microsoft' were going to be unceremoniously dumped…no partitioning whatsoever. Cold turkey. Dive straight into the deep end.

      Best decision I ever made 🙂


    • gary got a tip for you if you made the recovery cds just grab a copy of boot and nuke burn the iso wipe your hd then when its done take the fist recovery disk in and reinstall windows 8.1 problem solved works for all windows windows 10 is far worse your screwed it shares every thing with every one all the time and takes away all your rights to privacy might want to fall in love with mint its a replacement for userability and privacy.

  15. Firstly, why do people who don't/don't want to run Linux show up to troll Linux sites? Why aren't you on a MS or Apple site bowing down & saying, "I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy"? Something way off there…but I digress…

    My opinion is this: *Bill Gates ought to be ashamed at what his OS is, especially now. Win 7 was nice enough- people could use it, was fairly secure, fairly intuitive. 8/8.1 is a train-wreck (MS geeks don't understand or care that their customers actually only use "start>programs"- which was yanked out) with "10" not much of an improvement. I think it's funny that Linux used to be associated w/geeks & now MS has made a system that's more confusing than a terminal/command line interface. "Search from the tiles screen", I hear. Okay- and if you don't know the MS tech-speak, then what? Oh, & MS decided to change the names of lots of things to further muddy the mud. During installation, MS makes it "seem" you must make/have a MS account as well- very shifty & sneaky. Windows is a joke. And a very bad one, at that.

    As a self-taught,Linux user (**for my main work desktop), I'm completely perplexed at the animosity from the Linux naysayers given the above? I say this as I've loaded all different distros to all different hardware & have experienced nearly nothing in the way of issues. I am an IT tech by trade- it's my sole income. Of course, it's to help those trying to navigate the horribly flawed MS/Apple-world, but whatever.

    The hardware installed to has been from old to new. OEM & built. Have installed Mint- a lot- to those w/infected (borked) XP hardware. Mate runs brilliantly on 2GB RAM, & for less than, I load XFCE. Response has been fabulous. The truth is that about 80% of the world does only the basics of a PC- email, net, music, photos. Mint does it all with no issue. And no viruses. And is fast.

    I'm tonight trialling 17.1 Mate 64. So far, I am completely thrilled with it. Used Gparted to partition my SSD + 10k HDD. Installed /home, swap, & /var to HDD, the rest to SSD (best of both worlds?). Fast as lightning!

    I'd also like to comment on the wonderful community support surrounding active Linux distros- you don't see it with the "other", paid OS's. Mint gives you a direct link to a Linux chat- where I asked a question & got an answer in minutes & was on my way. 🙂

    IDK, either the ones here complaining are really just trolls, or they don't understand what they're doing? I do run across that a lot in my work: "my son is in IT & he said to do this…". I look at "whatever son did"– to find it's a total f*ck-up.

    Honestly- that is NOT a dig– it's me not getting how anyone installing Mint wouldn't sit back & be amazed?


    *Gates has billions to toss to developers/programmers, Linux has next-to-nothing in comparison- yet Linux is superior in out-of-the-box OEM performance. For free! (But, please do donate). 🙂

    **I must keep Windows loaded on spare PC's in order to help others, but I don't personally use it.

  16. For all our windows lovers, keep yourselves busy doing endless updates.
    I work in IT(don't worry, I'm doing these updates too). We are a windows shop but once in a while I like to see if the competition is up to par. 10 years ago linux was not. I mean we have an office full of MS Office users using OUtlook as email client connected to an Exchange server. OpenOffice was then not up to par with MS Office and connecting an email client running on linux to the Exchange server without hacking was not there yet. Now I thought I try linux again to see what it is up to today and installed Linux Mint 17.1 rebecca on one of our Lenovo M92p boxes. Installation went smooth. Choice of wired and wireless. I wired it so I am behind our firewall. No installation issues at all. Next step: office. I tossed some of our created word documents back and forth between my MS Office and Libre Office. No layout issues.
    Next step: exchange. turns out Thunderbird has an add-on called Exquilla. This lets you connect seamlessly to an Exchange server and even can read the addressbook from the exchange server. Next step: Citrix. We have an important ap[plication running on our citrix server. Only Chrome was able to run the ICA client succesfully and lets me run our application on the citrix server. (my favourite browser is Maxthon). Printing works right out of the box. To possible support future linux boxes I installed Teamviewer. With that I can remote into the Linux box and from within Teamviewer I can switch sides and remote into my Windows box.

    So is Linux ready to take over Windows in an office environment? I think it is.

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