I was greeted the other morning by a coworker grinning from ear to ear. “I love Vista!” he proclaimed and proceeded to tell me of a great discovery.
As it happened, he had been working on a personal project the night before and had inserted a blank CD in the drive. What did he see? A dialogue box asking him if he would like to burn an audio CD or a music CD. How convenient is that?! The best part is, he didn’t have to buy any third-party software!
He seemed so happy, so full of glee. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I’ve enjoyed the same luxury with Ubuntu (Nautilus, to be more pecise) for almost three years now…well, I almost didn’t have the heart to tell him.
Your first thought when reading the title of this post is probably, “WTF? Why would I need that?” Well, if you’re like me and you love customizing your Gnome system, you’ll know that during your customizations, you have to reload this and reload that for your new changes to take effect. Sometimes its simply because a change you did caused some problems and something didn’t load correctly. Whatever it is, most of the time it requires you to use the killall command in the terminal.
This is common enough for the Gnome panels and for Nautilus since it draws and handles the desktop by default. I was tired of pulling up a terminal window and typing in the killall commands to “refresh” my GUI or Desktop or repeating them if I had already ran them previously. Not that it takes that long to do. I just wanted a quick “button” I can click that will do it automatically.
So I did it myself. Not very complicated, really. Actually, it’s not complicated at all.
- Right-click the panel or drawer you want the button to be situated
- Select “Add to Panel…” and the “Add to Panel” window will open
- Click on the “Custom Application Launcher” at the top of the window
- In the Launcher Properties, select “Application in Terminal” as a Type
- Name it “Refresh GUI“
- For the command, type in: “killall gnome-panel nautilus” without the quotes
- For the comment, type in: “Reloads the panels and the desktop (Nautilus).” or whatever you want.
- Click on the “No icon” button and choose an icon of your choice.
- Click close and you’re done
Now, whenever you need to reload/refresh your Desktop, you can simply click on your brand-spanking new shiny button!
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It’s been a while since my last post in this series. Only because once I used Automatix to install all my applications, I was basically finished with my system. Since my last post in this series, I’ve been busy customizing the look and feel of Ubuntu, which I find is the funnest part of using Ubuntu! There are so many options and themes and icons and window borders and wallpapers… but let’s keep that for another post.
There are still some things I needed to go through to make it the best system… well, for me, anyhow!
Hidden Menu Entries: Showing Them!
After Automatix installations, I realized that my Applications menu was missing some menus and entries. By default, Ubuntu doesn’t show all applications available to a user. It hides the ones that are redundant or may cause problems for new users if not used properly.
One example of this is the Configuration Editor. Think of this like a “Registry Editor”. It allows you to select and configure settings for many installed applications and also for the system.
In the left pane, you will see your menus. If you select the System Tools menu (shown in the figure), you will see many options that are unchecked. One of these is the Configuration Editor. Select it and it will instantly appear in your menu.
I wanted to show the Configuration Editor in the first place so that I can add some regular icons on my desktop, like in Windows.
While you have the Menu Editor, why don’t you go through it and enable/disable applications you will use/not use? You can also add new entries that aren’t there, if you want to.
I usually add and entry in the System Tools called “Refresh Desktop” which contains the command:
killall gnome-panel nautilus
This will reload your panels and your desktop (Nautilus). Then I chose a nice icon that fits with it by looking in /usr/share/icons.
An Ubuntu Forum staff member (aysiu) has just posted a HowTo on the Ubuntu Forums on using a few scripts that he wrote (with the help of ciscosurfer) to change the default file manager in Gnome to Konqueror or Thunar. He also provides a script to revert back to Nautilus if you aren’t happy.
Since I’m currently using Krusader as my file manager, I’m hoping he’ll also include a script to change the default to it (I’m not good at scripting, yet!).
You can find his instructions and scripts on his website. (Great resource, by the way!)