The good news about changing our operating system from Chrome to Linux Mint is that the amount of free space on our SSD rose from 202 GB to 220 GB. The bad news is that our touchpad might no longer work and some of the function keys on our keyboard might not work. There also might be a problem with the cursor jumping around making it difficult to type. In this article, we will explain how to fix all of these problems.
Take a Screenshot with Linux Mint
To take a screenshot of your entire screen with a Chromebook, press the Ctrl key and the Box key at the same time:
To take a screen shot of part of the screen with a Chromebook, we need to also press the Shift key.
The Box function key no longer works after switching to Linux Mint. There is a better alternative to this key that only take a few minutes to set up. Since we want to take screen shots of how to set up Linux Mint, we will begin by adding a free screen capture tool called Shutter. Here is the initial desktop for Linux Mint:
Click on the Mint Menu in the lower left corner of the Mint desktop. There are two versions of the Mint Menu. The first version is called Favorites:
Click on All Applications in the upper right corner to see a list of all of the default applications that come with Linux Mint.
Linux Mint comes with a screen capture tool called Take Screenshot. This is not a very versatile screen capture tool. We will add a much better screen capture tool called Shutter. To add this free tool, click on the Software Manager in the first column of the Mint Menu. Enter your password. Assuming you have Internet access, the following screen will come up:
There are more than 73,000 free programs in the Mint Software Manager. Type the word shutter into the search box. Then press Enter on your keyboard.
Click on Shutter to reach the Shutter installation screen:
It will say that Shutter is not installed. Click install to install it. Then close the Software Manager and open the Mint Menu.
Right click on Shutter. Then click Add to Panel.
This will add the blue Shutter icon to the bottom panel. Click on Shutter to open it.
You can use Selection to capture a portion of your desktop, Desktop to capture the whole screen, Window to capture a window or the Menu icon to capture a menu. Click on Edit Preferences to bring up the Shutter Preferences screen:
Change the Image format to Jpeg. You can also define the folder you want to send the image to and the delay before the screen shot is taken. To capture an area of your desktop, click on the word Preferences. Then drag the cursor from the upper left corner of the area you want to capture to the lower right corner. The image will then be captured after the delay and placed in the clipboard. To capture a complex dropdown menu, click on the Menu Item. Below is an example of shutter capturing a complex menu.
You can also edit captured images by clicking on Edit. This is what the image looks like after adding some arrows and text to clarify where a person should click to open the Template Manager.
The one problem of images captured by Shutter is that the image will have a very large file size. After pasting the image in a Libre Writer document, right click on the image and click on Compress, then click Okay to reduce the file size.
Install the Update Manager
In the lower right corner of our Mint desktop bottom panel is an icon for the Update Manager. To install the new update manager, click on this blue shield.
Click Install Updates. Then enter your password. When done, there will be a screen with more updates:
Click Install Updates again. It will end by saying your system is up to date.
Fix the Screen Saver
Another nagging problem is that if you stop working on your Chromebook for even 5 minutes, it will log you out and require that you log yourself back in. To fix this problem, click on the Mint Menu, then click on the Control Center, then click on Screensaver.
Change the theme to Cosmos. Change the idle to 2 hours. Then uncheck Lock Screen
Then click Power Management.
Change Lid Closed to Shutdown. Change Inactive to Never. Change brightness to 70%.
Then click the Battery Power tab.
Change lid closed to shutdown. Change battery low to shutdown. Change sleep to 1 hour. Then click Close. Change Desktop Settings.. uncheck computer.
Change your Desktop Theme
To change the “theme” used to display open Windows. Click on the Appearance Preferences Theme tab:
Change Controls tab to Mint X Blue. Change Window border toWin Me and Icons Blue folder.
Add a Custom Desktop Background Image
Our next task is to install a custom desktop background image. One of the most important ways to personalize your computer is to install your favorite images to see when your computer first turns on. This can be an image of your family or anything else you like. With Windows XP and Windows 7, it was very easy to change the background image. However, with Windows 8, it is very difficult. Luckily, Linux Mint Mate has a wonderful system for adding any of thousands of background images to your desktop – including your own personal images. To install a new background image, click on Control Center in the main menu.
Click on Appearance. Then click on the Background tab. Wait one minute for the background options to load.
There are about one dozen background images here. But there are thousands more you can get by clicking on the link: Get more backgrounds online: https://gnome-look.org/
There are 139 pages of backgrounds or over 1400 choices. You can also create your own images 1920 pixels wide by 1080 high. Be sure to optimize the file size to keep it under 100KB. Then upload it to your Downloads folder. When selecting a new desktop image, make sure that there are not a lot of graphics on the left side of the image as this is where we will be placing our desktop quick link icons. To get an image, click on GO. Then right click on the image and choice Save Image As. This brings up your Mint Mate Downloads folder. Change the name of the image to something more descriptive and click Save.
After downloading all of the images you want to the Mate Downloads folder, exit Firefox browser to go back to the Appearances Preferences Background screen and click Add. By default, Mate looks in your Pictures folder to see if there are any images. Click on Backgrounds in the left column above. This is where the default background images are kept. You can also use one of your own images by clicking on Add. Here is what our desktop looks like after changing the background to a College in the Clouds image.
Screen brightness control tool
By default, Linux Mint comes with the screen brightness set for 100%. Reducing screen brightness can reduce eye strain and increase battery life. Sadly, the Chrome keyboard screen brightness keys do not work with Mint – and the Mint screen brightness tool in the Mint Control Panel may not work. We will therefore add a screen brightness control tool to the bottom panel. Place your cursor in the bottom panel and right click. Then click Add to Panel. This will bring up a list of tools we can add to the bottom panel.
Select the Brightness applet. Then click Add. This will add a sun icon to the bottom panel. Click on it to open it. A slider will appear allowing you to set the brightness of the screen for whatever is most comfortable for your eyes.
Fix Keyboard Mouse Cursor Jumping
Turning on the touch pad can cause the mouse to jump unexpectedly while typing. A nagging problem in writing articles with Libre Writer is that the pointer and screen and scroll bar all tend to jump around if you have a sensitive touch pad. This is not the fault of Libre Writer. Instead, it is an issue with how Linux Mint handles the touch pad on your keyboard.We want the touch pad to be completely off to keep the pointer from accidentally jumping. If you use a mouse like I do, you have two options. The easiest way to stabilize your pointer is to open the Control Center in your Mint Menu and click on the Mouses Icon which is in the Hardware section.
This brings up the Mouse Preferences window.
Click on the Touchpad tab and then check “Disable touchpad while typing.” This will keep the touch pad off while you are typing and about two seconds after you stop typing.
Add a Free Touch Pad Control Tool
Unfortunately, for many of us, this is not good enough. We need the touch pad to be completely off to keep the pointer from accidentally jumping. To get a better tool to control the touchpad, click on the Software Center which is also in the Mint Menu. Then type in “gpointing-device-settings” in the Search Box. This will bring up two results. The i386 version is for 32 bit computers and the unmarked version is for x64 bit computers.
Select the x64 bit version.
Click install. This adds a new entry to the Control Center called Pointing Devices. First click on Mouse Preferences and turn off “Disable Touchpad while typing” as the Mouse settings override the Pointer settings.
Then click on the Pointer icon to bring up the Gpointing Device Settings Window.
Click Elan Touchpad. Then click Disable while other devices are connected.”
Then click OK. Your touch pad will now stay off for as long as your computer is turned on.
Change the time from 24 hours to 12 hours
In the lower right corner of your Chromebook is a digital clock. Unfortunately, the time is set for 24 hours. To change it to 12 hour (AM/PM), right click on the time. Then click on Preferences. Then change the format to 12 hours.
Set Libre Office as Default Editor
The default text editor for Linux Mint, which is called Pluma, does not have very many editing options. If you open the Mint File manager and right click in the workspace to create a new document, Linux Mint will open a text Editor called Pluma:
We would rather have the Mint file manager open Libre Writer because this is the world's best text editor.To make this change, go to Control Center, Personal, Preferred Applications, System tab, set Text Editor for Libre Office.
Now open the file manager and right click on the workspace and select Create Document, Empty File. Then click on the new file to open it. It should now open in Libre Writer.
Add your printer to Linux Mint
To install your printer on Linux Mint is usually a pretty simple matter. First connect your printer to the USB port on your Chromebook. Then go to Control Center, Printers.
Then click on Printers.
Then click ADD. Select the printer you want to use.
Click Forward. Linux Mint will search for a driver for this printer Click Forward again. Then click Apply. Then print a test page. Then click OK. Congratulations! You now have your printer hooked up to your Chromebook thanks to Linux Mint.