Last week. Simon Long from Raspberry Pi released a new version of Raspbian with several new features. The most visible of these is the new-look desktop skin, named PIXEL (Pi Improved Xwindows Environment, Lightweight).
There’s a lot of user interface (UI) tweaks both functional and visual…
- new splash screen on boot
- stunning background images added
- a whole new set of icons
- larger ‘drag handles’ for resizing windows (that’s bugged me for years)
- windows now have rounded corners
- new font rendering package for better typography
I think the new look is a big improvement and I love it. ‘Grabbing’ the corner of a window to resize it has always been a bit harder than it should have been, so I’m delighted about the larger drag handles too.
So What Else is New?
Other tweaks include using Chromium as default browser and realvnc is pre-installed. I’m delighted by the addition of Chromium as it means I can use a Pi3B for G+ hangouts which I use a lot
when I should be working for communicating and collaborating with people. I can now do this in the workshop whilst monitoring twitter and QC testing Pro Hats – all using the same Pi3.
— RasPi.TV (@RasPiTV) September 28, 2016
I Want to Tweak PIXEL
But we all like to personalise our computing, so what if you want to tweak it for yourself? How would you manage that? Below are a few tips I’ve collected showing ways you can tweak or customise your PIXEL/Raspbian.
Don’t Want a Splash Screen?
If you prefer the retro look of the boot messages racing by, rather than the splash screen, there are two ways to achieve this…
- Using raspi-config application, choose “boot to CLI” instead of “boot to desktop”
- Delete “quiet splash” from
If you boot to CLI (command line interface) and then want the desktop, you’ll need to type
startx to run it.
sudo nano /boot/cmdline.txt
Save and exit (
CTRL+X, y, ENTER)
Want to Change the Splash Graphic?
This is quite easy. All you have to do is replace
/usr/share/plymouth/themes/pix/splash.png with your chosen graphic. It must be called
Supposing your required splash graphic is
/home/pi/raspitv.png you would move (mv) it like this…
First let’s back up the old one in case we want to revert…
sudo cp /usr/share/plymouth/themes/pix/splash.png /usr/share/plymouth/themes/pix/oldsplash.png
Then move the new graphic…
sudo mv /home/pi/raspitv.png /usr/share/plymouth/themes/pix/splash.png
sudo is required because the target directory is owned by the
So then the default splash becomes your own customised version…
NOTE: If you do a
dist-upgrade your splash file will be overwritten with the new official PIXEL one showing the new version.
How to Disable Tooltips
If you hover over objects in the user interface, you see pop-out bubbles (‘callouts’) explaining what they are/do.
If you no longer wish to see these, or find they get in your way, you can switch them off by adding a new line…
gtk-enable-tooltips = 0
…right at the beginning of the file
gtk-enable-tooltips = 0
Then next time you restart LXDE the tooltips should be disabled.
I Miss the Raspberry Pi Desktop Logo. Can I Reinstate it?
Yes. You can select it with the Appearance Settings application – it lives here…
Then be sure to change “fill screen with image” to “centre image on screen” or the Pi logo will be huge.
Where are the New Icons Stored?
All the new icons are here if you need access to them for your own documentation or apps…
Hopefully you found these ‘PIXEL tips’ useful. Enjoy tweaking your PIXELs. If you have any more tips, feel free to share them below in the comments.