Make Linux Mint look like Windows XP Luna

Wednesday, January 2, 2019 @ 12:09 am

This post will go through how you can dress up Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon as the venerable Windows XP “Luna” theme, complete with sound effects.

The beauty of Linux Mint is not only the freedom from Windows Updates and Microsoft telemetry, but also:

  • built-in driver support for many types of hardware
  • integration of essential features:
    • PDF reading, fully-featured Office suite, graphics editor, music player, email client, video player, OpenVPN, SSH, keyboard shortcut management
  • a central software library where you can browse and install software
  • no (or not much of a) need for antivirus/antimalware
  • reliable ejection of removable disks/drives
  • all the above for free

Linux has really come a far way compared to 5-10 years ago, where now you are able to set it up without touching the command line. It is also customizable in almost every way, as is the theme of this post.

I have wiped Windows and installed Linux Mint on all of my laptops except one which I sadly need to run Windows for work purposes. I have set up my Linux Mint laptops as “faux Windows XP” machines, complete with the look and feel as well as the startup, shutdown, and other Windows XP sound effects.

My experience so far can be summarized by the following sentence: using Linux feels like your computer is awaiting your next action, while Windows is the opposite.

(I positioned my panel to the top of my screen, just a personal preference. Default is bottom.)

The guide on how to achieve the same look follows.

Requirements

  1. Linux Mint 19.1 Cinnamon: https://linuxmint.com/release.php?id=34 (you can follow steps #1-13 under “How to Install” in my previous blog post, substituting the link in step #3 on that page with this link)
  2. Asset Files (contains themes, sounds, wallpaper): https://gitlab.com/andryou/andrews-settings/raw/master/local/linuxmint/WindowsXPFiles.zip
    1. Credits: B00merang-Artwork, B00merang-Project, CinnXP
  3. ~10-15 minutes to go through the below process

Fonts

  1. Run in Terminal: sudo mkdir /usr/share/fonts/truetype/msttcorefonts
  2. Copy font files in the XP Media/Fonts folder to the above folder (you will need to navigate to it in the file explorer, right-click in the folder and open as root)
  3. Run in terminal: sudo fc-cache -fv
  4. Start => Preferences => Font Selection
    1. Tahoma (Default, Desktop, Document)
    2. Trebuchet MS Bold (Window Title)
    3. (optional) DejaVu Sans Mono Book (Monospace)
    4. Font size for all: 9
    5. Hinting: Full
    6. Antialiasing: Greyscale

Theme

  1. Copy the “.icons” and “.themes” folders to your Home directory (press CTRL + H in the file explorer to toggle hidden folders)
  2. Run: ln -s ~/.icons/cinnxp/cursors/ ~/.icons/default
  3. Right-click on an empty space on your panel and click on “Themes”
    1. Window Borders: xp
    2. Icons: xp
    3. Controls: cinnxp
    4. Mouse Pointer: cinnxp
    5. Desktop: cinnxp

  4. Right-click on an empty space on your panel and click on “Panel settings”
    1. Panel Height: 27px
    2. Icon size (all): 16px
    3. Adjust the above to your personal preference
  5. Right-click on an empty space on your panel and click on “Add applets to the panel”
    1. Add applet “CinnVIIStarkMenu” from “Download” tab (update cache when asked)
    2. Once downloaded, go to “Manage” tab, click on CinnVIIStarkMenu and press the + button
    3. Right-click on your panel and switch “Panel edit mode” on
    4. Drag and drop new menu applet to far left of panel
    5. Right-click on the old menu and remove it
    6. (optional) If you prefer to not have any launchers, right-click on launcher area (to the right of the start menu) and remove “Panel launchers” (or from the “Add applets to the panel” dialog)
  6. Right-click on the new start menu and click on Configure…
    1. Panel => Use a custom icon – on, then for Icon click on the icon button and navigate to /home/USERNAME/.themes/cinnxp/cinnamon/menu.png and select it (if you don’t see the .theme folder, press CTRL + H to toggle hidden folders)
    2. Set ‘Menu’-Button label to: start
  7. (optional) Configure Window List applet to disable thumbnails by right-clicking on a window button in your taskbar, Preferences, Configure… and setting “Show windows thumbnails on hover” to Off
  8. Start => search for “effects” => disable window effects, fade effect, and session startup animation
  9. Copy XP Media/windows_xp_bliss.jpg to your Pictures folder then right-click on your desktop => Change Desktop Background => Pictures => browse to and select the Bliss wallpaper
  10. Run: sudo apt install dconf-editor
  11. Run: dconf-editor
  12. Navigate to: org => gnome => nautilus => desktop => trash-icon-name, set “Use default value” to off and set custom value to “Recycle Bin
  13. Start => search for “desktop”, enable Trash and disable Home

Sounds:

  1. Copy sound files in the XP Media/Sounds folder to any folder, I’d recommend creating a new subfolder under Music
  2. Start => search for sound => “Sounds” tab:
    1. Starting Cinnamon – Windows XP Startup.wav
    2. Leaving cinnamon – Windows XP Shutdown.wav
    3. Inserting a device – Windows XP Hardware Insert.wav
    4. Removing a device – Windows XP Hardware Remove.wav
    5. Showing notifications – Windows XP Balloon.wav
    6. Changing the sound colume – Windows XP Ding.wav
  3. Set all other sounds off