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Guide Beginner [19.04] [GNOME Shell] Making Pop!_OS look like Windows (a little bit) for Redmond faithfuls

Hebgbs

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Apr 25, 2019
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Introduction
As a Windows user, I am familiar with the concepts that made Windows good through the ages; Taskbar on bottom, "Start" menu bottom left, window listing, et cetera. While the interface truly does not matter for system functionality, it matters a whole lot for human functionality. If somebody's workflow is strictly based in a Windows environment, following these steps can help to take the edge off.

Extension prep
If you do not have it already, you'll want GNOME Shell integration for your browser of choice, either Firefox, Chrome or any derivative thereof. If you do not have it, then fetch from the following:
GNOME Shell extension for Firefox
GNOME Shell extension for Chrome

Once done with that, you'll also need to perform the following to install dependencies for your system in your terminal emulator and shell of preference:
Bash:
sudo apt install gir1.2-gmenu-3.0
You can also squeeze in there gnome-tweak-tool for more options! Feel free to check it out.
Transforming GNOME Shell
Installing extensions
When finished with previous steps, then you can visit the following pages, and install their extensions:
Dash to Panel
Arc Menu
Arc Menu will not install correctly (i.e. present an error) without gir1.2-gmenu-3.0 so bear that in mind before following the above.
In the pages above, click on the switch which is shown as "Off". This will prompt you to install the extension and make it available for later preference modification. You'll also receive a little taste of how the end-product will look, with Dash to Panel becoming immediately effective at moving GNOME Shell interface components into a bottom "Panel" and Arc Menu placing itself at the very top (read: left) above activities.

Configuring extensions
Once both extensions are installed, open the settings preferences for either of them. If you had installed gnome-tweak-tool then you can use that to access extension preferences from the Extensions menu. Main preferences shown below:

Dash to Panel
Looking for a good "Default" to work with? Here are my settings for Dash to Panel. Save as, and import via the About tab.
In Behaviour
Toggle to off "Show Applications icon"
Toggle to on "Show window previews on hover"
Adjust everything else to preference

Arc Menu
In Behaviour
Define "Set menu hotkey" to a super key of preference (or if only one, that one; test before continuing.)
In Appearance (optionally)
Define "Customize menu button appearance" to Icon, then click on the gear left of the dropdown select
In Button Appearance dialogue
At the bottom, there is a set of options for the button icon. Define for "Select icon for the menu button" to use Custom Icon, then click on the select button left of it to open Nautilus' file select dialogue.
In Nautilus
Navigate to /usr/share/icons/pop-os-branding/ and select pop_icon.svg to use as custom icon.

Conclusion
Sit back and enjoy your work; Pop!_OS now looks and feels more like Windows. If doing this for somebody else, do not falsely advertise this as the "Default" experience; let them know you put a little extra love in it for them to not feel so weird about using it.

Sources
This content wouldn't be possible without the following other helpful content:
How to Install GNOME Shell Extensions with Firefox & Chrome - omg! ubuntu!
Not working on Ubuntu 19.04 - Arc Menu GitLab repository; issue #43: Andy C's reply
How To Make Gnome Shell Windows-like Using Dash To Panel - YouTube: AddictiveTipsTV

Oooh, pretty...
214

Pop!_OS 19.04 with modified GNOME Shell, and Vivaldi in the background.
 
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Hebgbs

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I became a touch impatient and posted this a little too early. Oops!

Fixed it.
 

Hebgbs

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Any chance you can post some screenshots of what the final product looks like?
Did already. Forgot to do that since I posted a little too quickly.

Pending: My Dash to Panel config. Gonna upload that rn.

Also: Touched up my post with quote blocks for "Margin info".
 
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Hebgbs

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Oh ha my real name is shown in the Arc Menu extension. Damn it; oh well. Not that it matters, my real name is in several places if you know where to look anyway.
 

krige

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Thanks a lot! Great job and 100% agree with your rationale.

In Gnome Tweaks > Extensions, what does the Alt tab: raise first window option do? I tried enabling and disabling it and pressing alt-tab didn't notice any difference.

Is it possible to ungroup applications from Alt tab?

On Windows some applications like Telegram, Spotify, Slack or Dropbox, have an icon that can be shown/hidden on the left of the system indicator to allow a quick access to them and can display some notifications (syncing, new messages, etc): do you know how to display them?
 

derpOmattic

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On Windows some applications like Telegram, Spotify, Slack or Dropbox, have an icon that can be shown/hidden on the left of the system indicator to allow a quick access to them
If you place those applications in "favorites" they will be in the Activities dock, accessed when you press the super key or the top left "Activities" button. Another faster, better way is to create a keyboard shortcut to launch those application when you want to use them. This way leaves the desktop uncluttered and is as the GNOME devs intended. GDM3 is less likely to bork up when kept close to stock. Just saying.
 
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krige

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If you place those applications in "favorites" they will be in the Activities dock, accessed when you press the super key or the top left "Activities" button. Another faster, better way is to create a keyboard shortcut to launch those application when you want to use them. This way leaves the desktop uncluttered and is as the GNOME devs intended. GDM3 is less likely to bork up when kept close to stock. Just saying.
I placed them in favorites, but still I don't get the visual indication they normally give when they are appearing as small icons next to the system indicator (aka systray icons in Windows terminology): I am talking about unread messages, syncing activity, etc. They are very useful, just like having the time of the day always displayed: you give a glance there and you see if you got any new messages or there is a syncing activity in your cloud application.

Furthermore, some apps which normally run in background - like Dropbox - don't have a way to access their settings other than right clicking on their systray icon:

dropbox-icon-fixed-xubuntu.png

How do the GNOME devs intended users to get these two functionalities?
 
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derpOmattic

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Oh Ok, I see what you're talking about. You should have Dash to Panel installed (according to the guide). The top icons are made visible with another extension. Normally I'd recommend top icons redux, but I know it is broken with the latest kernel upgrade. I think some people are using Kstatus indicator.

I'm not going to be much help with this faux Windows desktop as I haven't used Windows since 2005, preferring macs. I understand the concept of familiarity, but the GNOME desktop environment has been purposely designed to be different to the typical desktop of the past. The GNOME way needs to be learned, and when you get the hang of it, two things happen: Navigation becomes a dream and the OS becomes super stable over long periods of time and through version upgrades. No judgement here - just saying. Linux is about freedom, and if you want it to look and act like Windows, you're welcome to do it. I'm running a heavily configured, but mostly stock GNOME desktop.

Maybe the original OP can be of more help to you, if you drop them a DM.

How do the GNOME devs intended users to get these two functionalities?
Most Linux users eventually learn to control the system via CLI (command Line Interface). A terminal is a powerful and direct way to make things happen easily. The GNOME devs have also been working on the GNOME settings app and improving it constantly. You can access most settings from there. Also GNOME Tweaks, which I think you should have already installed. If not, just run sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool in Terminal. It will be in the All Apps, accessible by pressing super + a.
Most background services can be easily controlled by using systemctl in terminal. I know this method of control requires a little bit of effort to learn, but you won't be dependent on a working GUI, or any company.

Again, no judgement here. I'm attempting to answer the questions honestly and to my knowledge. I'm no Linux master by any stretch, but I'm determined to be in complete control and keep a stable long term PC. I'm glad you've come to Pop!_OS and have manged to tweak things to your liking.
 
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