Since Cinnamon is the flagship desktop environment for Mint, we’re going to be using this as our base when applying these suggestions. Remember to ensure your work and data are backed up prior to any meddling with the system, just in case something should go wrong.
Updates – The first and foremost thing to do after any fresh installation of Mint, or any Linux distro for that matter, is apply any updates and upgrades for the system. You can open the Update Manager and apply the updates through there; or alternatively, drop to the Terminal and enter:
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade
Enter your password and answer ‘y’ to any updates available.
Snapshots – Make use of the Timeshift feature. Click on the Mint Menu button in the bottom left corner of the desktop and type Timeshift. Click on the Timeshift link in the available apps and follow through the Snapshot Wizard to create a good, working snapshot of your system.
Codecs – Mint provides a tick box during the installation phase asking if you want to install the relevant third-party codecs for media content. However, if you didn’t tick the box then you can easily install the codecs by dropping to the Terminal and entering:
sudo apt-get install mint-meta-codecs
More Software – Mint comes with a good range of productivity, video, online and other software packages. However, if you want more, check out the Software Manager. In here you can search through categories and individual apps; also, check out the Flatpak section for a great selection of apps.
Mint Gaming – If your Mint PC can handle games, then check out the Games section within the Software Manager. In here there’s everything from Minecraft to 3D shooters, puzzle games to fast-paced racing and retro emulation to the Steam Client.
Backgrounds – The default Mint 19 wallpaper is good enough for the first use but you may want to change it to something else as you progress. Right-click the desktop and choose Change Desktop Background. There’s a Tara folder with some good wallpapers available or you can go to Pictures and choose your own unique background.
Desklets – Desklets are on-desktop apps created for a specific purpose. There are loads available, covering weather, computer resources, comic of the day, picture frames and so on. Just right-click the desktop and choose Add Desklets, then click the Download tab to see what’s available.
Themes – Themes offers a new look and feel to the Mint desktop. Click the Mint Menu and type themes, then click the result. In the Add/Remove tab, you can see the currently available themes for Mint based on their rating. Click the one you want, download it and apply it.
Firewall – Security is always a concern in this modern digital age. While Linux Mint is a secure system, it’s advisable to always try and improve it. Click the Menu button and search for Firewall; click the Firewall Configuration icon and enter your password. In the Firewall window, click the Status slider to On.
Volume – One of Mint’s newest features is the ability to greatly amplify the volume settings, allowing you to go beyond 100%. Click the speaker icon in the bottom right of the desktop, then click Sound Settings. In the Sound window, click the Settings tab, where you can extend the maximum volume all the way up to 150% if needed; great for home theatre setups using Linux Mint.