45 Frequently Asked Questions about Linux Mint: PART 3

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This is part three of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Part one is here and Part two is here.

Contents of this page:

How can I reverse the scrolling direction for mouse and touchpad in Cinnamon?

1. In Cinnamon, it's possible to reverse the scrolling direction for mouse and touchpad as follows (note: on a laptop, this requires two separate actions!):

Menu button - Preferences - Mouse and Touchpad

Tab Mouse: switch off Reverse scrolling direction

Then tab Touchpad: also switch off Reverse scrolling direction

So on a laptop that took two actions, not one!

How can I install a newer kernel without internet?

2. If you have installed Linux Mint or Ubuntu and you want to install a newer kernel without having internet, proceed as follows:

Download on another computer that does have internet connection, the three installer packages for the new kernel at Ubuntu. That might even be a Windows machine! Put those on a USB memory stick, connect the stick to your offline machine and install the three kernel installer packages in the right order. You can install them by simply double-clicking them.

The right order is is: 1. linux-modules-xxx-generic, 2. linux-image-xxx-generic and 3. linux-modules-extra-xxx-generic. Of course it needs to be a kernel that's supported in your version of Linux Mint or Ubuntu.

For example, in order to install kernel 5.4.0-40 (64-bit) in an offline Linux Mint 19.3 or Ubuntu 18.04.3, you download the following three packages (they're mentioned in the installation order):




After installing them: reboot your computer. It should run on the new kernel then.

This might come in handy when you're stuck in a vicious circle: for example when you have no internet because the driver for your WiFi card is only present in a newer kernel.

Can I execute terminal commands that don't get stored in the memory of the terminal?

3. Yes, you can. Simply precede the command with a space. Then the terminal won't remember it.

How can I change the default document format in word processor AbiWord?

4. Lightweight word processor AbiWord has its own document format, called .abw. That's AbiWord's default.

However, it's easier to have .rtf, .odt or .doc as default format, because of compatibility with other word processors. For the simple AbiWord I recommend to set the uncomplicated document type .rtf as default.

You can only change AbiWord's default document format by means of a genuine hack, like this:

a. First you need to change something else in the preferences of AbiWord (you can revert that later on, if you want):

Launch AbiWord. AbiWord panel - Edit - Preferences... - tab Smart Quotes: remove the tick for: Enable smart (curly) quotes

With that action you've created a certain new section (custom scheme) in the AbiWord profile in your user folder, which is what you need for the actual hack.

b. Close AbiWord.

c. Launch your file manager and make the hidden folders and files visible in your home folder. For example by means of the key combination Ctrl h or (in file manager Thunar) panel - View: tick Show hidden files

Double-click the folder .config and then the folder abiword.

d. Right-click on the file called profile and open it with a simple text editor like Xed, Gedit or Mousepad (don't just double-click it in the normal way, because then it might open in your web browser!).

Find the scheme called "_custom_" (scroll about halfway down in the text file; clear indication: it should contain the line SmartQuotesEnable="0") and add the following line to that scheme:


It should then look like this:


Tip: prevent typing errors and copy/paste the new line. In the example the new default is .rtf, but you can use .odt or .doc if you want to.

e. Save the changes and close the modified (hacked!) file.

f. Time for a test: launch AbiWord, type a few letters and save the document: it should now by default have the new format.

Note: user preference, so repeat this in each user account.

Can I make shutdown go quicker?

5. Does shutting down your computer last too long for you? Then you can force your system to limit the shutdown process to a maximum of 5 seconds, instead of the usual maximum of 10 seconds. Note: this hack might be disruptive, so use it with care and don't reduce the shutdown maximum to less than 5 seconds!

Proceed like this:

a. Launch a terminal window.
(You can launch a terminal window like this: *Click*)

b. Use copy/paste to transfer the following command line into the terminal (it's one huge line!):

sudo sed -i 's/DefaultTimeoutStopSec=10s/DefaultTimeoutStopSec=5s/g' /etc/systemd/system.conf.d/50_linuxmint.conf

Press Enter. Type your password when prompted. In Ubuntu this remains entirely invisible, not even dots will show when you type it, that's normal. In Mint this has changed: you'll see asterisks when you type. Press Enter again.

c. Reboot your computer.

d. Test a shutdown. If all is well, that should last no longer than 5 seconds now.

Should you ever wish to undo this, then this is the command that reverts systemd's shutdown to the default 10 seconds:
sudo sed -i 's/DefaultTimeoutStopSec=5s/DefaultTimeoutStopSec=10s/g' /etc/systemd/system.conf.d/50_linuxmint.conf

How can I automatically execute a root command on startup?

6. Unfortunately systemd has complicated this massively, but you can automatically execute a root command on startup like this (*click*).

Want to read more FAQ? This is part three of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Part one is here and Part two is here.

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