Tips & Tricks

Although we’re in the business of helping organisations make the most of technology, we recognise that you may sometimes encounter issues which you’d like to deal with yourself, if only you could find useful documentation to guide you.

Documentation on almost everything exists on the internet, the problem is finding what you want; searching can be effective but what we hope to provide here is easy access to guidance to achieve useful tasks.

We are keen to expand this by adding information that is useful to our clients. Sometimes we write a howto, other times we provide links to good sources.

If you don’t find help on a particular issue that concerns you, by all means drop us an email and we’ll try to point you in the right direction.


Show/hold/unhold packages

Sometimes, for various reasons not covered in this post, you may need to stop a package/program from upgrading to a later version. Here’s how to do it. In these examples I’ll use teamviewer as the package. Obviously you need to change the package name to suit you!

To hold a package:

sudo apt-mark hold teamviewer

To show held packages:

sudo apt-mark showhold

To unhold a package (allow it to install to latest version):

sudo apt-mark unhold teamviewer

TypeCatcher for Google webfonts

TypeCatcher is a font manager with which you can search, browse, and download Google webfonts to use offline on your Linux workstation or in your website. It is created by Andrew and licensed under the GPL 3.0 and runs natively on any Debian-based distributions.

To install TypeCatcher and add it to your repository type these three commands into a terminal, one at a time :

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:andrewsomething/typecatcher
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install typecatcher

Zoho Remote Assist for Windows Customers

1. Download:

Download the remote assist customer-plugin directly from Zoho’s website:

2. Install:

  • To start the installation process, open Windows Explore file manager and go to your Downloads directory.
  • Double-click the newly downloaded CustomerPlugin.exe file.
  • Accept the windows prompt to allow the software to make changes to your computer.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is assistico-0.png

After installing, the ZohoAssist icon will appear on your Desktop:

3. Initiate a Zoho session:

  • Double-click the Zoho icon on your Desktop.
  • Type in the 9-digit Session ID given to you by your technician.
  • Type your name, if asked, and click “Join Session“.
  • Windows will again ask for your authority to allow Zoho to take control of your machine. Click Yes.
  • Then click “Join”. (you’ll see that your desktop background has disappeared and your background is black. This means your technician is now connected to your computer.

You can end the session at any time via the small status box at the bottom-right of your screen.

Note: This link is only usable for the current session. After that, you need to repeat the Download/Install/Initiate process for your next session.

Possibly helpful Video Links:


And another pair:

  1.  (technicial)
  2.  (anon customer)

Managing cookies in Firefox

Firefox, by default, allows cookies to be set by all websites. We advise installing the “Cookie AutoDelete” extension so that you can control which websites can save their cookies on your system. You only really need to allow cookies from sites that you want to interact with, such as sites that you need to log in to for shopping, banking, webmail, for example.

Installing Cookie Whitelist
  •  Open Firefox
  • Tools > Add-ons.  Then choose Extensions from the left hand side.
  • In the Search box on the top, right of page – type “cookie autodelete”.
  • Find “Cookie AutoDelete” (by the CAD Team) and click it Then click the “Add to Firefox”.
  • You need to allow the permissions it asks for;  click the Install button when it’s ready.
  • It will open an info page/tab in the browser (which you can close or ignore).
How to use Cookie AutoDelete

Once this extension is installed, a button is added to the top-right of your browser to allow easy control over cookies.

Click it to open a drop down panel of the controls.

All you have to do here is click the red button on the left which says “Auto-clean disabled”.  When you click it, it will turn green and say “Auto-clean enabled”. You can now close the box (for the moment!) by clicking the top-right button (which will now be red, indicating that cookies are not being stored for the page you’re on).


For each website you visit, the cookies will now automatically be off (red cookie button) so no action needed until you want to whitelist or blacklist a website:

  • In that case, click the cookie button in the top-right of your browser From the dropdown, you can click the appropriate whitelist/greylist button(s).  The button will change colour according to your choice, allowing to to see at a glance your chosen cookie choice for that site.

RED – means that cookies have not been allowed

BLUE – means that you’ve whitelisted the site

YELLOW – means you’ve greylisted the site.  This allows the site to be used for a session, but the cookies will be cleared when you close the tab/page.

It’s also very easy to remove the whitelisted/greylisted sites from the same place so don’t worry if you change your mind about a website!

Download videos from YouTube

Youtube-dl is a brilliant small command-line program (for Linux) which enables quick and simple downloading of videos from YouTube and a several more sites (eg Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo, NBC, ABC, CNN, FOX NEWS, etc, see supported sites). It can even convert the videos to MP3’s within a single command.

To install

If you’re running MX-21, or other recent Debian-based operating systems, youtube-dl will be in their repository. To install, open a Terminal and type (or copy and paste):

sudo apt install youtube-dl

Yes, that’s it! You can start to download those videos now.

OR if it’s not in your repository, you should download directly from youtube-dl’s repository. Open a terminal and type and execute the following command (you can copy and paste), then press Enter:

sudo curl -L -o /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl

Then execute this command in your Terminal (to grant you permission to use it):

sudo chmod a+rx /usr/local/bin/youtube-dl

Downloading videos with youtube-dl

Youtube-dl is now installed on your system and you can download a video from YouTube (or elsewhere) by typing youtube-dl in a terminal, followed by a space and then the URL of the video. For example:


You will find the resulting video in whichever directory your terminal was in when you downloaded it, which, if you’ve just opened your terminal, will usually be your home folder. If you want to download a film directly into your Videos directory, you should change the directory in your terminal (eg:cd Videos) before downloading.

Convert YouTube videos to audio on-the-fly

If you want to extract the audio from a YouTube video in the form of an mp3, you can do this while downloading by adding a few options within the command. For example:

youtube-dl --extract-audio --audio-format mp3

Updating youtube-dl . . . very important!

Because of the way it installs independently, youtube-dl does not update along with other programs in your system. You will know when it needs updating because it will error when you try to use it to download a video from YouTube !! Remember this!! However, updating is simple. Just type sudo youtube-dl -U in your terminal and it should be fixed.

Be careful – case is very important when using the Terminal: -U and -u will do very different things!

Download an entire YouTube Playlist and convert it to MP3 tracks

And this is amazing! The code below will download your chosen playlist from youtube, then strip all the video and convert each track to good quality MP3’s.

Just copy the code into a Terminal, and replace the URL in the code with the URL in the browser address bar of your chosen youtube playlist.

(The mp3 tracks will be saved in whichever directory your Terminal is in, so if you want them to save directly into (for example) your Music folder, you must change the Terminal directory to Musiccd Music before you issue the command.

youtube-dl --ignore-errors --format bestaudio --extract-audio --audio-format mp3 --audio-quality 160K --output "%(title)s.%(ext)s" --yes-playlist '

More you-tube-dl options and commands

Youtube-dl is extremely versatile; there are loads of options which can be found at their github page here:

How to empty the Trash folder in Roundcube webmail

So you’ve responded to the warning message about your inbox being full; you’ve spent a while deleting old messages and your Inbox is now looking much smaller. But bear in mind that those emails are now lurking in the “Trash” folder, still taking up the same amount of disk space on your server! 

Here’s how to remove them completely to create the extra space you’d been hoping to gain:

1. Log into Roundcube.

2. Click/Select the “Trash” folder.

3. In the bottom left corner of the screen you will see the folder options icon.

4. Click the “Cog” icon to show the “Folder Options” menu. Then select “Empty”.

How to back up your Thunderbird email in Windows 10 and Linux

Mozilla’s Thunderbird is a great email program (we use it!) but it doesn’t have any built in backup tools. If something goes wrong, or you want to move your profile to another computer, you’ll need a backup. 

Windows 10

First of all, make sure Thunderbird is not running.

Open Windows Explorer. In Folder Options, enable “Show Hidden Files, Folder and Drives” .

Then browse to C:\Users\yourloginname\AppData\Roaming, where you will see a folder named Thunderbird.

The Thunderbird folder contains all your Thunderbird settings and address book, as well as all your emails, so it is this folder that you need to copy to your external drive, desktop, or wherever, as your backup.  It’s likely to be a very large amount of data so expect it to take a long time!

When you’re done, don’t forget to disable the hidden files view in Windows Explorer by selecting “Don’t Show Hidden Files, Folder and Drives”.


Make sure that Thunderbird is not running.

Open File Manager (Thunar). Select “Show Hidden Files” from View in the menu bar (or use keyboard combination Ctrl +H) .

In your Home directory (usually your name) look for a hidden directory named .thunderbird (the preceeding dot is part of the directory name and signifies that the directory is hidden) . This is where all your emails, address book and configuration files are stored. It is this directory that you need to copy to your external drive or wherever you want to store your backup. Expect it to take quite a while – it is likely to be a large amount of data.

When you’re done, don’t forget to disable the hidden files view in your File Manager by deselecting “Show Hidden Files” from View in the menu bar (or use keyboard combination Ctrl +H) .

Securing WordPress website from brute force attacks

Part One – Protect your wp-login.php file and wp-admin area, following this simple set of instructions:

Three basic steps:

1. Create a hidden password file.
2. Generate a login and password and add it to the hidden password file.
3. Modify your site’s .htaccess file to require your hidden password when logging into WordPress.


Step 1 – Create a hidden password file

Using cPanel File Manager or FTP, login to your hosting account and, in the root of your site, create a file called .htpasswd.  (make sure that you put a period at the beginning of the filename, so that it’s hidden by default).


Step 2 – Generate a login and password and add it to the hidden password file

  1. Go to
  2. Enter a username and password that you’ll use to protect the WordPress login.
  3. Click Create .htpasswd file to encrypt your password.
  4. will return a string of text that looks something like this: wandreata:$prt2$vqg/gY..$Yold9aipE63lrcSpr1CDf0
  5. Open the .htpasswd file that you created in Step 1 above and paste in the .htpasswd entry you just created.

Step 3 – Modify your site’s .htaccess file to require your hidden password when logging into WordPress

Using cPanel File Manager or FTP, login to your hosting account and open the .htaccess file in your public_html folder:  Add the following to the top of the file:

# Protect wp-login
ErrorDocument 401 "Unauthorized Access"
ErrorDocument 403 "Forbidden"
<FilesMatch "wp-login.php">
AuthName "Authorized User Only"
AuthType Basic
AuthUserFile /home/yourserverdirectoryname/.htpasswd
require valid-user

(Change yourserverdirectoryname to match your server’s root directory name – you should see it in cPanel in the top left section when you’re in your root directory. Alternatively, check with your web host)

There’s some useful help with cPanel on this website:


Check attack logs (optional)

Add WordPress plugin “WPS Limit Login”
In the configuration, set up “Email to admin after 1 lockout”
Whitelist your own IP address (get it from
Add blacklist IP addresses from any previous attacks
The log on this plugin is a quick way to check for attacks. Apart from displaying IP addresses used, it also displays whether an attack was using the WordPress Login page or a xmlrpc post script in attempting to hack into the website.


Part 2 – Disable your xmlrpc.php file

Using cPanel File Manager or FTP, login to your hosting account and open the .htaccess file in your public_html folder: Add the following

<Files xmlrpc.php>
Order Deny,Allow
Deny from all

(see for more info and background)


Playing DVD’s in MX-Linux

Assuming that your DVD drive is in working order, it will almost certainly be recognised when inserting a data disc into it. However, it may need a couple of tweaks to enable it to play a DVD movie.

Install codecs to help with the translation of the video media:
This is made very easy using MX-Tools. Click the “Whisker” icon in the bottom-left of your screen and type “Mx tools” in the search bar under your name. In the “Setup” section you will see “Codex Installer”. Click this to run it, enter your “root” password and click OK to accept legal responsibility for this non-opensource package. You only need to install the codex’s once).

Open VLC player
Then click “Media” and choose “Open Disk” from the list. This should open your DVD.

However, if it throws an error, open your file manager. You should see the name of the disk in the left column. Double-click it and in the right column you will see a couple of folders:

Drag the VIDEO_TS folder into the VLC window.

To automatically open DVD movie videos with VLC when you insert them

Open the Whisker-Menu (bottom left of your screen)
Choose Settings -> Removable Drives and Media
-> Tab: Multimedia
-> Video CDs/DVDs:
Click to enable: “Play video CDs and DVD’s when inserted
-> Command: vlc %d
-> Click Close
The above settings will make open VLC automatically on inserting VideoDVD and start playing the Video in VLC.

If you’re still having problems, this 3-page MX-Linux forum thread may provide the help you need:

Skype Alternative(s) – Update

We recently discovered this great free alternative to Skype which doesn’t need to be installed on your system.  You can access it directly on the web at  You can have video conversations with up to 4 people at once and guests to your “room” don’t have to register to join in.

It takes less than a minute to create your room and share the link with someone you want to join you for a video chat.

I suggest you “claim” your room by registering;  this allows you to “lock” your room to stop non-invitees from joining; it also reserves the room for you so that no-one else can claim it. There’s lots of information on their site but essentially it’s a very quick and easy process.

Update: Zoom (

Zoom is a great replacement, not only for Skype, for also for TeamViewer as it can also allow secure remote access for help with your computer!

You need to create and maintain an account via zoom’s web portal. Then you download the app ( and install it into your system – very easy!  The advantage of running the program from your system instead of the via web is that it is much faster than the http(s) protocol, so video and audio work better with less break up.