Installing Linux Mint 13 Xfce on a ThinkPad X200

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This guide will help you to install and configure Linux Mint 13 Xfce on a ThinkPad X200. Please note that many of the steps described here may be applied to other Linux distributions and ThinkPads alike.


The Xfce edition chosen here is recommended for users who wish to have a clean, simple and productive desktop environment rather than an graphical playground. If your system comes with more than 4GB RAM, then it is advised to download the 64Bit version. With less than 4GB RAM it is sufficient to use the 32Bit version. I will not describe the installation steps of Mint itself at this stage since there is an excellent official documentation available. To achieve best results during the installation you will need an internet connection. By default your wireless connection will successfully connect to a network but you will get timeouts when accessing a page. Hence, either use an ethernet cable or go to the wireless section to fix the problem.

After the installation

After the installation most parts of your system will work by default. The following steps will take care of the rest.

Wireless connection

As mentioned above your wireless cart will be able to connect to a network but produces timeouts when accessing a page. The solution is to start the responsible iwlwifi module with the 11n_disable=1 option. This can be either done temporarily (such as required during installation) with the following commands:

   sudo rmmod iwlwifi
   sudo modprobe iwlwifi 11n_disable=1

The permanent fix requires to open the file /etc/modprobe.d/iwlwifi-disable11n.conf with superuser rights by running gksudo gedit /etc/modprobe.d/iwlwifi-disable11n.conf in the terminal. Once open add the following line to the file, save it and reboot your system:

   options iwlwifi 11n_disable=1

Font rendering

The first thing you might notice is bad font rendering and the screen to be blurry. To do

Custom kernel and energy saving options

An X200 is a pretty efficient notebook when used with Windows. But almost the same consumption can be achieved with small adjustment with Linux. All required packages have to be added to the system first:

   sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/thinkpad-extras
   sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
   sudo apt-get update

Then install the following packages and reboot your system:

  sudo apt-get install linux-image-generic-tp linux-headers-generic-tp
  sudo apt-get install --no-install-recommends tlp tlp-rdw tp-smapi-dkms smartmontools ethtool
  sudo tlp start

Power saving tools should now be started together with the custom kernel that comes with improvements compared to the default kernel.

Mute button

You might have noticed that your mute button on the keyboard will mute the sound but not unmute it correctly. The is directly related to Xfce since it takes the wrong sound card as the active one. Run the following command in the terminal and your mute button should work correctly:

   xfconf-query -c xfce4-mixer -p /active-card -s PlaybackBuiltinAudioAnalogStereoPulseAudioMixer

Xscreensaver theming

To be honest, the default Xscreensaver lock screen does not look very appealing. Fortunately it can be customised to achieve better results that are closer to the Linux Mint theme. Create the file ~./Xresources and add the following lines to it:

xscreensaver.splash: false

!font settings
xscreensaver.Dialog.headingFont:        -*-dina-bold-r-*-*-12-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
xscreensaver.Dialog.bodyFont:           -*-dina-medium-r-*-*-12-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
xscreensaver.Dialog.labelFont:          -*-dina-medium-r-*-*-12-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
xscreensaver.Dialog.unameFont:          -*-dina-medium-r-*-*-12-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
xscreensaver.Dialog.buttonFont:         -*-dina-bold-r-*-*-12-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
xscreensaver.Dialog.dateFont:           -*-dina-medium-r-*-*-12-*-*-*-*-*-*-*
xscreensaver.passwd.passwdFont:         -*-dina-bold-r-*-*-12-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

!general dialog box (affects main hostname, username, password text)
xscreensaver.Dialog.foreground:         #111111
xscreensaver.Dialog.background:         #F0F7E7
xscreensaver.Dialog.topShadowColor:     #111111
xscreensaver.Dialog.bottomShadowColor:  #111111
xscreensaver.Dialog.Button.foreground:  #ffffff
xscreensaver.Dialog.Button.background:  #666666

!username/password input box and date text colour
xscreensaver.Dialog.text.foreground:    #F0F7E7
xscreensaver.Dialog.text.background:    #666666
xscreensaver.Dialog.borderWidth:        1
xscreensaver.Dialog.shadowThickness:    2

!timeout bar (background is actually determined by Dialog.text.background)
xscreensaver.passwd.thermometer.foreground:  #E4FF73
xscreensaver.passwd.thermometer.background:  #000000
xscreensaver.passwd.thermometer.width:       8

!datestamp format--see the strftime(3) manual page for details
xscreensaver.dateFormat:    %I:%M%P %b %d