If you are one of those who like to deal with inserted DVDs, USB keys and other removable media yourself, the Autoplay feature of Windows will most likely do nothing but being clicked away by you.
If you want to save yourself a pop-up and a click you can disable Autoplay. To do so, open the menu and type in gpedit.msc. The group policies window will open and you’ll see a navigation pane on its left. Browse it for
Local Computer Policy > User/Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > AutoPlay Policies
Pick User or Computer Configuration depending on the range you want your settings to have. On the right pane, there should now be some settings, on of them being Turn off AutoPlay. DOuble-click it for the configuration window to open.
On the left, click the Enabled radio button. On the options pane you can choose between turning AutoPlay off for all media or just for CDs or removable media drives (since those are the most common I’d recommend to choose that). When you’re done, click Apply and exit the group policies. Next time you insert something you won’t be bothered with pop-ups.
VirtualBox offers a feature that let’s you treat windows opened in the running guest system almost as is they were native to the host system – you can drag them around on the host system, copy and paste texts between the system and only see the host’s desktop while doing so:
The requirement for Seamless mode to run is that the VirtualBox Guest Additions are installed. You can quite easily install them by clicking on the Devices menu on the the guest system’s window menu and selecting Install Guest Additions… – follow the installer afterwards and reboot the guest system when you are told to. After the reboot you can enter Seamless mode by selecting the guest system’s window and pressing right Ctrl + L.
Whether you want to use Metro in all its glory is up to you of course but for those who want avoid this interface as thoroughly as possible, version 3.5.1 of ClassicShell brings a useful new feature: it can now get you around the first instance of the metro startscreen that you are presented with directly after login. Combined with its formidable start-button it makes Windows 8 look nearly like Windows 7, saving you the muddle of learning how to use a touch-interface on your desktop computer.
To install ClassicShell 3.5.1, download it from http://sourceforge.net/projects/classicshell/files/Version%203.5.1%20general%20release/ClassicShellSetup_3_5_1.exe/download and follow the installer.
The startscreen should be disabled by default – if you just want the start-button, you can turn on the start-screen again by opening the menu and selecting Settings > Classic Start Menu. Afterwards click on the All Settings radio button ond go to the General Behaviour tab.
To enable Metro welcoming, deactivate the Skip Metro screen checkbox.
German keyboards are usually QWERTZ keyboards, named after the first line of letters up to the first that differs from the English layout, which is QWERTY.
You can switch between these two using the key combination Alt + Shift.
This switch may be the cause of your keyboard behaving strangely – for example if you pressed the combination by accident. In this case z would be replaced by y and nearly every special character would be mapped differently. Try to switch layouts if you experience that.
Windows as well as other platforms use two different forms to display a text-cursor. One, which is used most, is the bar-formed cursor which rests between two letters. The other has block form and rests on a letter, replacing it if new input is done and going one letter further. This is annoying if you activate it by accident.
You activate as well as deactivate it with the Ins key on usual keyboards. If you are using different hardware, look for a key combination equivalent to the Insert-key.
Since every aspect of Linux is customizable, so is the terminal. Why not spice it up instead of working on a plain white box?
To do so, just open one and go to the Edit menu where you select Profile Preferences. This changes the style of the Default profile. In the Colors and Background tabs, you can change the visual aspects of the terminal. Set new text and background colors here and alter the terminal’s opacity.
On the other menus, you can create more profiles that you can save and also change fonts.
Virtualbox, as most other virtualisation technologies, provides a service to establish shared folders between the host system and the virtualbox guest OS. For that, you need to install the Virtualbox guest additions. To do so on virtual desktops, just open the Devices menu and select Install guest additions….
Mount the CD and proceed like you are told to install the guest additions (steps differ in Windows and Linux). Before you can mount a shared folder you first need to create and/or assign one. Open the settings of the Virtualbox you are running and select the last menu item from the left pane, Shared Folders. Click the icon with the plus symbol on the right to assign a shared folder and give it a name, I’ll use the name blabla for future reference. After assigning a shared folder you can mount them on your virtual machine.
On a Windows machine, open a cmd terminal and enter following (replace my folder name with yours):
net use x: \\vboxsrv\blabla
The folder will then be accesible from the Computer directory.
In Linux, open a terminal and enter following:
sudo mount -t vboxsf blabla /mnt
You can replace /mnt with any mount directory you like, of course.
The shared folder is now set up. You can push files there from the host or the guest system and access them from the other, which makes connecting both much easier than setting up an FTP or SSH connection.
Sometimes you are forced to compile packages from source because they are not present in your current distribution’s package format, which can be really annoying. While this is the safer option, there is also a quicker alternative, which is converting existing packages into the one you need with alien.
sudo apt-get install alien
Before you use it, make sure to have read the alien man page!
If you’re on Ubuntu for example and need a package that is only available in the rpm format, power your terminal and convert the package (the following is available as deb, it’s just an example):
sudo alien clementine-1.0.1-1.fc16.x86_64.rpm
The package will then be converted. There are a few points that you should be aware of though:
- Dependencies of converted packages will not be resolved. If you install it anyway, your update manager may notice the missing dependencies and install them however.
- It is not recommended to use alien for critical packages. The man page gives further info on that.
Using lightdm, the wallpaper that is shown is usually the one used by the selected user. If you want to change this or just set a static wallpaper for your login screen, there are a few possibilities to do that.
The first one is to make your wallpaper inaccessible to others, letting lightdm fall back to its default wallpaper. For this method, dconf-tools must be installed. If it isn’t installed on your system yet, install it with
sudo apt-get install dconf-tools
With these tools you can easily configure lightdm – however you cannot do so in the GUI since you must be logged in as lightdm user. Do so by entering following into a terminal:
sudo xhost +SI:localuser:lightdm
sudo su lightdm -s /bin/bash
Now you can edit any of lightdm’s settings with the command line – you can use the dconf GUI as reference for the paths and variable names (the dconf path to the lightdm unity greeter configuration is com>canonical>unity greeter). Set the background picture with
gsettings set com.canonical.unity-greeter background ‘/usr/share/backgrounds/orsomewhereelse.png’
Replace the path I use with the one to the wallpaper of your choice – it must be closed in quotation marks. You can also change the background color to black (x000000) or some other neutral color.
What happens in the login screen now is that the dconf wallpaper blinks up for a second and is then replaced by your wallpaper. To counter that, you must make your wallpaper inaccessible to other users. To do that, log in to your account again and open a terminal. Change the ownership to you instead of root if you need to (wallpapers in /usr/share… usually don’t belong to you for example). Replace my username (howtoforge)and my group (howtoforge) with yours:
sudo chown howtoforge:howtoforge /usr/share/backgrounds/orsomewhereelse.png
Now right-click the wallpaper and go to the Permissions tab in the Properties menu. Set the rights of Others to None. Lightdm won’t be able to access your wallpaper any longer, so it falls back to the one you specified in dconf-tools.
The other possibility is to run
to find out your user ID and afterwards run (replace [your id] with the ID the previous command spit out (without brackets) and the path I used with the one to the wallpaper you want lightdm to display):
dbus-send –system –print-reply –dest=org.freedesktop.Accounts /org/freedesktop/Accounts/User[your id] org.freedesktop.Accounts.User.SetBackgroundFile string:/path/to/wallpaper.jpg
This command has to be repeated every time you change your wallpaper and only replaces the wallpaper for one user. You can decide whether you like this method or the previous more.
If you install lightdm on distributions other than Ubuntu you may want to have the Ubuntu logo in the lower left corner removed or altered. This can be done easily by editing the original picture file which is located in /usr/share/unity-greeter/ (remember to open the folder as administrator, or do it right from a terminal as root).
The file you want to edit is logo.png. You can either rename it, so it doesn’t show up on login anymore (for example, rename it to logo.png.bak – if you want it back, just remove the new extension again), or edit it with a graphical editor right away so that it reads something more appropriate to your distribution or login screen.