Installing an additional Desktop Environment in Linux allows you change your user experience without installing a whole second operating system or Linux distribution. You can switch between mulitple experiences by switching desktop environments. In the new desktop environment, all of the files you have created using your existing desktop environment will still be accessible and most of your applications will still run. Sometimes applications (like file managers) are specific to certain desktop environments. When that happens, the new desktop environment will include a different application to do the same thing.
This article provides detailed instructions on installing and switching to the MATE desktop on Linux Mint 17.3 Cinnamon.
For more information on desktop environments in Linux, this article on the Mint forums has an excellent explantation of the differences between desktop environments, window managers and more. https://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=90&t=54945#p314893
From the Mint Menu, select "Software Manager". Enter your password.
Type 'mate' in the search box and press the Enter key.
Double-click the package mint-meta-mate.
Click the Install button. This package will install the MATE desktop, MATE panel, and everything you will need to log into and run the MATE desktop environment.
When the installation has completed, close the software manager.
You can easily switch between the Cinnamon and MATE desktop environments when you log in. Here is how.
From the Mint Menu, select "Log Out", then click the Log Out button.
In the upper right corner of the login panel, you will see an icon bearing either the symbol lambda or the two letters "Ci". Click that icon and select MATE from the list.
Finally, enter your username and password as usual to log into your MATE desktop.
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