Icons on your desktop on Windows 7 and 8 are usually aligned to a grid meaning you can only place them in a certain alignment - which leaves you unable to create adorable desktop structures such as this one:
To remove this restriction simply right-click some free space on your desktop, select View and uncheck Align icons to grid:
After installing Linux Mint 13 on your machine for the first time, you will only have few to no icons on the desktop by default. This makes accessing important files fast a chore. However, you can change this just like in the present versions of MS Windows.
To do so, go to Menu > Preferences > Cinnamon Settings > Desktop.
Here, tick all the boxes whose items you want to have on the desktop and close the preferences window again. If you want to remove them again, just repeat the process and untick the boxes again.
One of the most obvious changes on the taskbar since Windows XP is the increased size of the icons and with them, the whole bar. In Windows 7, the whole name identifier was left for the sake of thumbnail previews and slightly bigger icons. However there is a simple option making it possible to reverse the taskbar style back to XP days. To accomplish this, right-click the taskbar and select Properties.
On the appearing window, check the Use small icons checkbox (third from above on the Taskbar tab). In addition, go for the combining-dropdown-menu and select one of the other remaining options, either to combine when the taskbar is full or to never combine.
The way to add new icons and cursors is simple yet not really obvious in Linux Mint. To add new cursors, download any from a webside that provides these (as this), and drag and drop the package file onto the theme preferences of your Control Center:
To add new icons, just download and extract them into /usr/share/icons as root. Afterwards they are available in the Appearance section of the Control Center.