Change your Linux Mint 14 Máte Desktop

Linux Mint Máte comes with the standard Mint menu system, colors and background. If you are unsatisfied with these choices, you can modify all of them to give you better choices. This article will show you how to change your desktop to look like the Ubuntu pre-Unity desktop.

Changing/Adding Panels


Figure 1. Standard Linux Mint 14 Máte Desktop

The taskbar where the menu and all the other items reside is called a panel in Máte. The first thing we will do is move that panel to the top of the screen. To do that, move your mouse cursor down to an empty place on the panel and right-click the mouse. You will see a pop-up menu.


Figure 2. Panel Pop-up Menu

Click on the Properties item in the pop-up menu. You will be presented with a Panel Properties dialog. Click on the Orientation item and select Top. Click Close to remove the dialog. The panel will now be at the top of your desktop.


Figure 3. Panel Properties Dialog

Now that the main panel is at the top, we will add another panel at the bottom. Right-click on the panel again and click on New Panel. Another panel will be added to the desktop. Since its default position is the bottom of the desktop, we don't have to change the position.


Figure 4. New Panel Item

Populate the Bottom Panel

We will now move a couple of the items from the top panel to the bottom panel. There is no direct way to do that, though. We have to add the item to the bottom panel, then remove it from the top panel. The first thing we will move is the Show Desktop icon - the one right next to the Menu.

Move the mouse cursor down to the bottom panel, at the left side of the panel and right-click the mouse. Click the Add to Panel item in the pop-up menu.


Figure 5. Add to Panel Item

The Add to Panel dialog will be displayed. Scroll down the Show Desktop item and click on that item. Then click on the Add button and then the Close button.


Figure 6. Add to Panel Dialog

You will see the Show Desktop icon has been added to the bottom panel. You will want to ensure that icon is to the far left of the panel, so right-click on it, then click the Move item in the pop-up dialog. You will then be able to move the icon by moving the mouse. Move it to the far left, then click the mouse. Right-click again on the icon, then click Lock to Panel to lock the icon in place.

We will now add the windows list to the bottom panel. Move the mouse pointer next to the Show Desktop icon in the bottom panel and right-click. Click on the Add to Panel item. Scroll down to the Windows List item and click on it, then click the Add button and the Close button.


Figure 7. Adding a Windows List

You will now see a small icon next to the Show Desktop icon. Right-click on it, click on Move and move it so it butts up against the Show Desktop icon. Click to freeze the position. Right-click on the icon and lock it in place.

We will now add a couple more items to the bottom panel that come in handy - a trash can and a workspace switcher. Move the mouse pointer to the far right end of the bottom panel and right-click. Select the Add to Panel item. In the dialog, scroll down to the Trash. Click on that item, then click the Add button and the Close button.


Figure 8. Adding a Trash Can

We need the trash can to be as far to the right as possible, so right-click on it, click Move and move it to the right. Click to freeze the position. Then right-click and lock the icon in place.

Now we will add the Workspace Switcher to the bottom panel. Move the mouse pointer to the left of the Trash and right-click, then select the Add to Panel item. In the dialog, scroll down to the Workspace Switcher item, select it, then click on the Add button and the Close button.


Figure 9. Adding the Workspace Switcher

The workspace switcher should butt up against the trash, so right-click on it and move it as far to the right as you can. Then lock it in place. This completes the work on the bottom panel.

Populate the Top Panel

We now need to make a couple of changes to the top panel. We need to remove the Show Desktop and Windows List items, since they are now on the bottom panel. Removing these is a two step process. First, you need to unlock them. Right-click on the top panel Show Desktop icon, then un-check the Lock to Panel item.


Figure 10. Unlocking a Panel Item

Now right-click on the icon and select Remove From Panel. The icon will disappear.


Figure 11. Removing a Panel Item

Now unlock and remove the Windows List from the top panel, using the same actions you used with the Show Desktop icon.

We need to add the old Ubuntu-style menu system instead of the Linux Mint menu. Put the mouse pointer to the right of the Menu in the top panel and right-click, then select Add to Panel. Scroll down in the dialog and select the Menu Bar item. Click the Add button, then click the Close button.

Right-click on the old Menu and remove it from the panel. Right-click on the new menu bar and move it to the far left, then lock it in place.


Figure 12. Add Ubuntu Menu Bar

The final change we need to make to the top panel is to add an icon that will allow us to shut down or restart the system. We want to put that icon over on the far right of the top panel, to the right of the date and time. to do this, we need to unlock the date/time and notification area icons. Right-click on the three bars to the left of the notifications, then uncheck Lock to Panel. Right-click on the date/time and uncheck Lock to Panel. Now right-click to the left of both icons and select Add to Panel. In the dialog, scroll down to the Shut Down item. Select it, then click the Add button and the Close button.


Figure 13. Add Shut Down Icon

Now we need to move the Shut Down icon to the far right. Right-click on it and Move it. when you drag it to the right, it will go right past the other two icons, since they are unlocked. Once it is in place, you need to lock all three icons. This completes the basic desktop reconfiguration.

Change the Background

As a final exercise in desktop modification, we will change the background. Right-click anywhere in the desktop and select Change Desktop Background. Pick the background you want to use and click on it, then click on the Close button. You can add custom pictures by clicking on add if you wish.


Figure 14. Change Background Image