Change Task Bar Location & Background Images – RPi

How to change the task bar location and add or change the background image or color, on the Raspbian Raspberry Pi Desktop!

Change Task Bar Location

When you first install the Raspbian OS and startup your Pi, you will notice the task bar location and application quick launch icons, are at the top of the desktop.

change task bar location

Did you know, the task bar can be moved to the bottom, left or right, of the desktop? And, you can edit the quick launch icons too? Here is how to do that.

1st, right click in a blank space of the task bar to bring up the task bar settings menu, and click on “Panel Settings” in the list.

taskbar preferences

Under the Geometry tab, you click on the location you want the task bar and it will move there. There are a few other settings there you can change, if you want to change the length and width, etc. Click OK to save the location.

panel loation

Edit the Quick Launch Icons

Usually, the default quick launch icons in the task bar are the web browser, file cabinet, terminal, Mathematica, and Wolfram. But these icons can be edited to what you want.

app launch barUnder the same Panel Settings menu where you changed the task bar location, click on the Panel Applets tab at the top.

It will bring up a box like the one here to the right. Click on Application Launch Bar in the list and then click on the Preferences button and it will show a box like the one below.

add remove apps

On the left side of the box, are the icons that are already there in the tray. Click on the ones you want to remove and click the remove button in the middle of the box. On the right side are applications you can add. Click on the ones you want to add and click add button in the middle of the box, at the top. You can also switch them around with the up and down buttons. Then click OK when done.

As an example,  I removed Mathematica and Wolfram icons and added the Sense HAT Emulator, to the quick launch tray.

task bar new app

How To Change the Background Image

With the new PIXEL desktop Raspbian update, you can choose from several images to use as a background. Just right click in any area of the current desktop background and it will bring up a window box with a list. Click on Desktop Preferences, at the bottom of that list.

desktop background

Then to change the background, click the little folder icon next to Wallpaper, to bring up other background image choices.

desktop preference

Choose the one you want (it shows a small thumbnail preview to the right) and click open and it will be set as your background image.

change background image

Or you can also just use a background color, if you want.

Just above the line that has the image, is the Wallpaper mode. Select “Fill with background color only” in the drop down list. Then adjust the color wheel and click on the color you want. Once done, click OK and then click close to close the box. Then the background will change to the color you picked.

bgcolor bgcolorselectok new background color

You can also use both, a color and a background image. Play around with these settings until you get the desired look you want, on your Raspberry Pi!

Ubuntu – A Great Windows Alternative!

Ubuntu is a great operating system alternative to using Windows!

First off, what is Ubuntu?

Ubuntu is a Linux based desktop operating system, that can be installed on your PC laptop or desktop, and even some tablets, that has a similar functionality to that of a Windows. And in most cases, it can even be installed to run along side Windows without erasing your current Windows instillation!

ubuntu desktop
Here is an example pic of the desktop. Yes, it’s kind of odd colored but it can be customized with different colors and backgrounds, just the way you want it.

I know, when someone mentions Linux, some PC users usually think they have to be some sort of programming computer nerd to use it! That was maybe true about 15 or 20 years ago, but Linux has come a long way since then! In fact, you probably already use a version of Linux on a device you own, and don’t even know it. Like on an Android phone or tablet! 

hp media center pc with ubuntuI just replaced an older Windows installation on my 10 year old HP Media Center PC, with Ubuntu 16.04. It is running great and it’s very fast! And, I don’t even really need an ant-virus!

Ubuntu comes pre-installed with a host of useful software programs, that are similar to others on Windows, like an office suite, the Firefox browser (chrome is available too), games, utilities and more! And, all the things that weren’t already pre-installed, I can install them through the software center, kind of like the app store on Windows 8 or 10. There is also a great online community of support, if you ever run into a problem or have a question!

So far I am pretty happy with it and it does most things I could do with any of my Windows PC’s! And, one of my favorite things about Ubuntu, is it’s FREE!

So how do you get and install Ubuntu?

You go to the website here for the desktop or laptop version of Ubuntu. If your computer meets the recommended requirements, click on download. You can also scroll down and there are guides on how to create an instillation disk or a bootable USB stick, to install it on your computer. Ubuntu is free, but after clicking download, the next page will show you some suggested contributions you can make to help improve Ubuntu. Or simply click on ““, below that. If you need help, just send me a message!

xubuntuAlso, there are other “flavors” of Ubuntu you can install. I am currently running Xubuntu on my DELL Inspiron laptop. It works great on older computers running 1 gig of ram or more, and has a start menu that looks similar to Windows, that can be moved around the desktop. And if you have under 1 gig of ram, you can try the light weight Lubuntu.

If you are local to the San Angelo area and would like me to install one of these op systems on your computer, or need help doing it yourself, just contact me here.

Good Luck!