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We would like to achieve something like this.

In my mind there are four major steps in the installation procedure of any distribution.

  1. get an iso or an usb to boot from
  2. clean install of your operating system
  3. installing all needed software
  4. customize the system

1. Boot from iso or usb

You can download the iso from the Linux Mint website and then burn it on a cd or a usb. Usb’s can be easily rewritten and are cheap these days. You do not need more than 4GB usb. Some older pc’s can not boot from usb but I have learned it also depends on the usb. So try another one before giving up. Booting from USB is done automatically if you are lucky. Otherwise you will need to find the keyboard shortcut for your hardware on the net or on the (black) bootscreen. I would try out F2, escape and F8 and see you can boot from usb or change the boot order so you can boot from usb.

If you are already on Linux Mint you can use the mintstick application. It has never failed me with over 50+ distro’s to burn the iso to an usb.

If you are on Windows, I would like to point you to this article.

If you are on Mac, I would like to point you to this article.

Alternative information

2. Clean install of Linux Mint 18.1 Mate

I never mix operating systems on one harddisk or SSD anymore. It is not worth the trouble (on a desktop). With the SSD prices being so affordable, I switch from one operating system to another by unplugging and switching the SSD.

So no dual boot information here. Only two recommendations grub-customizer and bootrepair are applications that have helped me when I had troubles booting. Both are on my github.

First up is a clean install of our system. I made a tutorial about VirtualBox to show you what I do to install Linux Mint which is actually following the standard options and suggestions. If you have installed Linux Mint before, there will be no surprises.

We use the scripts of this github to install Linux Mint 18.1 Mate.

Main installation of mate and content of the tutorial

  • installing virtualbox from my script and starting it
  • settings of virtualbox
    • cpu
    • memory
  • iso of linux mint will be downloaded to boot from
  • mount the iso image
  • going over the installation procedure
  • setting the optimal resolution
    • tip : keep trying – switch back and try again
  • update manager – choice and switch to local mirror
  • first do your updates
  • secondly install your kernel (if you want the latest)
  • thirdly install a graphical driver ?
  • change the theme
  • file manager is caja – creating a folder DATA
  • change the terminal settings
  • getting the github
  • git is already installed
    • git clone
  • update to the latest kernel
  • follow the tutorial to see what scripts to run – only 4 scripts and you have the majority to tweak your system
  • changing the menu name already and checking the options available
  • settings of variety
  • installing dropbox
  • moving around the icons or objects on the panel
    • here I accidentally deleted one applet  : Window List
  • appearance preferences are changed like fonts, background, …
  • lots of themes to choose from – Arc Colora themes and Mint-Y Colora themes
  • DO NOT FORGET the window border



How to work with the panel and panel applets

I accidentally deleted the applet “Window List“. We will fix it and in the meantime explain how to move icons and applets around. Check the lock panel and move it around.

Right mouse click will give you a window to change the settings.



Install the conky aureola

A conky is a way to monitor your system resources but they can be made to look astonishing beautiful.

The Aureola conky is hosted on We are using a script that is hosted on my github.

Because of this script you have already a hidden folder ~/.aureola. Here you will find the complete collection.

We show you how to install the conky.

Your running conky is situated in this folder :


There are different colour combinations possible. Changing to the orange version.

Changing the logo of the conky as well.

Changing from one conky to another conky is shown too.


Change the panel preferences further

We changed the name of the menu already but let us take the panel settings under a loupe.

  • change the icon of our menu
  • change the panel – autohide – make transparent
  • add the location to get a weather forecast
  • lots of applets to go over and try out



Installing my personal settings

  • script to install directories if they are not available
  • bookmarks will be copied
  • keyboard shortcuts
  • screenshots can be made with gnome-screenshot and in jpg
  • gimp settings
  • sublime text settings
  • variety settings – setting a new variety icon
  • firefox fix for dark theme



Mate Tweak or choosing a window manager

Do you want some extra effects on your system like these wobbly windows. This is the tutorial to achieve that on Linux Mint 18.1 Mate.

Mate-tweak will make it possible to change the desktop, interface and the windows.

TIP : First click on “Save Panel layout” or loose your current menu.

Window Manager is challenging and tricky but can be fun at the same time.

6 window managers to choose from!

Showing you the wobbly windows of compiz and fixing the Arc theme again.

Tip : look for the applicaton “windows” and check if there are options for that window manager

The dark border around the metacity is due to the absence of a compton.conf file.  This will be explained in the another tutorial.


Adding our plank and the themes

These will be installed with the scripts.

Showing you how to get in the preferences to set the plank on the top and changing the theme.


Window managers


We have 7 options in our Linux Mint 18.1 Mate to check out. We will go over each one of them and point out the difference.
Three of them can be changed by the user!

We can use our own compton.conf file to make sure that we have a personalised shadow or fading or opacity.

BUT we need to save the compton.conf file in ~/.config for this to work and name it appropriately as

  • marco-compton.conf
  • metacity-compton.conf

In order for me to analyze I have coloured the shadows red and green to know when a config file kicks in.
Opening the file and putting again a hashtag (#) in front of that line will make it disappear again.

It is an idea to have a white shadow. Change the three colours RGB or red green blue to 1 or make the shadow light gray with 0.9 in all colours. It is up to you to experiment.


Compiz can be changed as well and has its own application to do so.
ccsm stands for compiz configuration settings manager.

We will show the following settings

  • wobbly windows
  • cube or 3d cube
  • unfolded cube
  • show mouse
  • fire paint
  • wizard
  • watereffect

Tips and tricks

Check this configuration window called “windows” for easy transition of windows.

Save panel-layout issue

When you save the panel layout it will save the current layout and you will never get back the original look you started with! You will keep overwriting the latest settings on ‘loginname’-tweak. We can choose Fedora and Gnome2.

However you can reset the panel and you will have the original layout you started with.

mate-panel --reset

The files of your mate-panel are in /usr/share/mate-panel/layouts if you want to take a look or make backups.

 Compiz – making menu transparent

Copy/paste this code in the proper place in your ccsm – Opacity, Brightness and Saturation.

Tooltip | Menu | PopupMenu | DropdownMenu

You can decide that the opacity should be different for Menu. Then you will have to add this one separately and with another transparency amount.


 Compiz – save your working configuration

Would it not be great if we could save our working configuration of compiz for a later installation or an installation on another system.



I realize this installation can seem like a blackbox where things are happening beyond your control due to these scripts . But a script is just a collection of steps you would have taken manually in the terminal.

I can only recommend to try to read the scripts and learn scripting. Installing operating systems are no longer a drag or time-consuming for me.

In the overview article you will find that there are 102 tutorials for Linux Mint 18 Cinnamon that still apply to Linux Mint 18.1 Mate as well. I urge you to see these for more detailed information.

If you have Linux Mint 18 Mate and wonder how to upgrade to Linux Mint 18.1 Mate, check out this article.