MX Tools

MX Tools is a compilation of graphical resources that make MX Linux unique, in comparison to other Linux distributions. MX Tools makes it easy to access most system tasks like changing Panel orientation or look, flash updates, codec installer, Boot Repair, sound, NVIDIA driver installer (for corresponding video cards), Broadcom Manager (for wifi card setup), Package Installer, Repo Manager and more. If you need something not listed in Settings Manager, you will likely find what you need here:

MX Tools menu (Note: Flash Manager, Debian Backports and Test Repo entries are absent in MX-16.1)

The most recent addition is a GUI (graphical) Time Set utility. Most of the other MX tools and utilities are also found by searching for MX... in the Whisker menu. A full list is found on the MX Original Apps page.

Highlighting even a handful of MX specific applications here would take some time, although perhaps of most interest to new and experienced users alike are MX Snapshot and Live-usb maker GUI. These tools, particularly MX Snapshot, offer something truly special and are easily overlooked.

MX Snapshot

Snapshot has been a part of the Mepis and MX toolkit for some years now, allowing users to create a bootable *.iso of their installed operating system.

This great feature allows even the newest user to back up their installed system to an *.iso, then run it as a live session from DVD (space permitting) or a USB memory stick, with the option to install/reinstall to a hard drive if needed. This process effectively captures a running system and any personal files, including emails, giving users greater security and convenience.

The first screen displays approximately how much space a full snapshot will use, provide a default name and location to save the *.iso that will be generated.

MX Snapshot
In the above instance, I have a large Home partition. It also contains some large files like Virtual Machines* that are not necessary in a backup of my system. I would typically move these to a separate data partition and/or external drive, doing the same for various files like documents and photos, leaving only the essentials in /home (eg. various user folders like music and pictures). This will reduce the Snapshot size and make it easier to store, possibly even fit on a DVD, or at least on a modest USB memory stick.

MX Snapshot options
Having backed up any key files from /home to conserve space, Snapshot offers a further choice (above), being to create a personal or generic snapshot of the installed system.

The generic snapshot (for distribution to others) resets accounts and will not include personal information like any Home files or password information.

The default Preserve accounts option saves everything, perfect for backup, reinstalling or archiving your running system. You also have the option to exclude various user folders, although I recommend manually browsing Home, tidying and backing up important files externally first, as part of good practice.

The next step is to begin creating the snapshot, which will then be found alongside your user directory in /home.

Just let the process complete for a few minutes, leaving the system otherwise idle, having closed any applications and processes first.

Once completed, check for the /home/snapshot folder and files, ideally copying these to an external media for backup. You may then use Live-usb manger GUI to create a bootable, fully functional copy of your system on a USB memory stick.

Alternatively, use Xfburn to burn an image to DVD, assuming the snapshot is small enough.

As an added bonus, you will be able to use your live system on other machines, with all your bookmarks, applications, settings and preferences.

A live system will enable also you to recover data from Windows machines that inexplicably fail to boot, for example.

Live-usb maker GUI

Live-usb maker is a very simple way to put your new Snapshot onto a USB, allowing you to then boot a live session, install to disk or simply retrieve any personal settings and data it may contain.

Live-usb maker
It really is as simple as that, requiring no particular skills on the part of users, beyond simply tidying up their Home files and copying essential data to external media, in preparation.

If you have installed MX and added your own applications and flavour, a generic distribution, Resetting accounts (for distribution to others), allows you to effectively author and redistribute your custom version of MX.

If you have created an MX Live USB, you can continue to make and save changes by using the Remaster CC tools, which allow you to set up a persistent device (see MX User Manual or videos for more information).

*Virtual Machines - I use Virtual Box (available in MX Package Installer). See the MX User Manual '6.2 Virtual machines' for more information:
"Virtual machine applications are a class of programs that simulate a virtual computer in memory, allowing you to install any operating system on the machine. It is useful for testing, running non-native applications, and providing users the feeling of having a machine of their own."