The KDE desktop
19. Switch to an KDE
If neither Gnome or XFCE are helping you be more productive, then try KDE. It's the most configurable of the Linux desktops, and often takes a different slant on browsing and file management. Version 4 has vastly improved the environment, and it can be installed by searching for the 'kubuntu-desktop' in Synaptic.
20. KDE auto-login
If you prefer Kubuntu or the KDE desktop, then you'll need to use a different configuration panel to enable auto-login. Open KDE's System Settings application, and switch to the Advanced page and open the Login Manager. Enter your root password and switch to the convenience page. From here you can choose to enable a user for auto login.
21. Pre-load Konqueror
If you're always launching KDE's file and web browser, you can pre-load several instances of it to speed up launch time. Open the Settings>Configure Konqueror window, and switch to the Performance page. Increase the number of instances from 1 to something like 4 or 5. Each instance takes extra system memory, but each session of Konqueror will now load almost instantly.
22. Use Konqueror shortcuts
Konqueror is a great file and web browser with plenty of shortcuts for the power user. Our favourite is the ability to use shortcuts in the location field to perform online searches. Typing 'wp:linux' will search Wikipedia for Linux, while 'gg:linux' and ggi:linux' will search Google and Google Images.
23. Launch OpenOffice.org faster
The default OpenOffice.org configuration errs on the side of caution. There are 100 levels of undo, for example, and reducing this number will reduce the amount of memory it uses. This setting can be found from the Options window by switching to the Memory page. Try reducing the undo steps to 30.
24. Use the quick launch toolbar
In both Gnome and KDE, you can drag applications from the launch menu onto the desktop and onto the toolbar. Clicking on these icons is the quickest way of launching your most used applications, short of holding down a certain key combination.
25. Replace slow applications
One of the best things about open source is that there's always an alternative, and switching to one can vastly improve your system's performance. Try Abiword instead of OpenOffice.org's Writer, Thunar instead of Nautilus and Opera instead of Firefox. All are broadly compatible with their alternatives, and perform faster.
26. Rapid application launch
If you know the name of the application or tool you want to launch, you can quickly start it by pressing Alt and F2. This displays a single command-line prompt in a window, and into this you type your application name. Type 'firefox' and its icon will appear. Pressing enter will launch it.
27. Take a screenshot
Pressing the Print key will take a screenshot and bring up the save file window. Being able to take a screenshot at any moment is incredibly useful, and is great for saving online order details, for example, or just your high score in Crack Attack. Pressing Alt and Print will take a screenshot of the currently active window.
28. Quickly restart the desktop
Occasionally, you may find that your desktop hangs and you can no longer use the keyboard or mouse. Fortunately, the desktop process is entirely independent of the rest of the operating system, and you can reset the desktop by holding down the Ctrl Alt and backspace keys. But you will still lose any unsaved data, so be careful.
29. Jump to a console
Another option if your desktop has crashed is jumping to a command-line console. Pressing Ctrl and alt, followed by F1-F6 will switch the display to one of six different consoles. From here, you can login and try to kill the process causing trouble, before switching back to your desktop by pressing Ctrl Alt and F7.
continue to part 3
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