Faster shutdown and restart

One odd thing (to me) about the Mate interface in Linux Mint 13 LTS is that if I add a Shut Down icon to the panel, this command doesn’t immediately power down the computer. Instead it logs me out as a user, and takes me to a login screen where, to actually turn the computer off, I need to select Actions – Shut down the computer. Now, this is way too many steps just to shut down – or restart – the machine. There has to be a better way.

Sure enough, a posting on the Linuxmint Community web site – aptly titled “How to Add a Shutdown (Power Off) Button to Your Desktop” – shows exactly how to do this. Essentially, it’s a three- or four-step process:

(1) Change the security settings of the shutdown utility in order to avoid having to enter the root password each time the shutdown command is used. In Terminal, enter the command:

sudo chmod u+s /sbin/shutdown

(2) Create a program launcher (Right-click on the desktop and select Create Launcher) and insert the command:

shutdown -P now

(3) Now, left-click on the launcher and drag it onto the panel.

(4) The final trick (if desired) is to locate a different icon to use for the shut down command (the default black-and-white Mint version just doesn’t do it for me). Fortunately. A good selection of free clip art is available at and a pretty, red button ( created by OCAL, will do the job very nicely.

To use this image, download the file, rename it (for example to shutdown.png), and save it to a folder on your hard disk. Now, right-click on the panel launcher and select Properties. Left-click on the current icon which will open a file-browsing window. Navigate to the folder containing shutdown.png and select this file for the launcher by pressing the Open button, then OK.

The original Linuxmint post included a challenge to the end user for the creation of a restart button. Clearly, the above procedure can be followed using a different command string. Running “man shutdown” indicates that the restart (reboot) capability is provided by the -r command switch. Thus, our restart launcher needs the command:

shutdown -r now

And, OCAL has a variety of icons that can be used for the panel-based launcher. Check them out!

As an aside, an interesting question is raised by the above-noted process. OCAL’s original image file is 300×300 pixels; however, there doesn’t appear to be any need to resize this image for use on the panel – it is resized automatically to fit. So, why (as noted in the previous post) does Mint provide icons in mutiple sizes?


How to Add a Shutdown (Power Off) Button to Your Desktop

Free Clip Art

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