Making Qubes experience a bit more Windowish

I’m gradually moving towards Qubes on my second computer. The most difficult part about it is that daily routines which were comfortable and easy with Windows (and even typical Linux distributions) now became a nightmare with Qubes. I have a list of issues that I’m experiencing troubles with right now. However, a more general questions is whether or not there is some guide for making the Windows-to-Qubes transition less painful?

So the issues are…

  1. Installing an app into a qube with a shortcut on dom0’s desktop.
    For example, I’ve installed Brave browser into a qube. Next, I had to make a copy of Firefox’s shortcut on a dom0’s desktop and manually change “firefox-esr” to “brave-browser”. However, the icon of Firefox remained. And I’m not even sure how to find the appropriate icon. In Windows all the apps automatically create a desktop icon (if I ask them to), or I can just right-click and press “make a shortcut”. And also, all the data for each app is stored in one folder, which is not the case with many apps for Linux. So it’s a nightmare searching for this icon.
  2. After installing Brave I was not able to find it in Application Finder. How apps are even getting there?
  3. Mounting a USB drive or a hard-drive into a qube is also tricky. OK, it’s totally fine with me to assign a USB drive to a qube from dom0’s taskbar. However, how would I make that it automatically mounts to some place? I’m tired of making “sudo mount /dev/xvdj ~/mnt/usb”.
  4. Is it possible to use the same hard-drive/USB with multiple qubes simultaneously?
    What about other resources like camera, sound etc?
  5. What are more Windows-like GUIs for dom0?

There are efforts to make a beginners guide - the pain can also be
mitigated by having someone set things up for you. But most users are on
their own, with help from the community and the docs.

You say you installed an app in a qube - this is wrong. Generally you
install apps in the template used by that qube.
Then the application shortcut will appear in the Application Finder,
possibly after a refresh.

This is a key part of understanding how things work in Qubes.

I cant speak for Xfce, the default desktop manager, but if you were to
use KDE, you would be able to easily create desktop icons - as easily as
you did in Windows. There’s a long thread about using KDE in Qubes.

Depending on which template you use, this may happen automagically, and
appear in your file browser - I think Nautilus will do this.

No , if you mean the same partition on one drive. Few file systems are
capable of dealing with multiple simultaneous writes, and the scope for
corruption is great.
You can make a shared folder: another long thread on the Forum.

Sound, etc, yes.
Camera? How would that work? Which qube would get the output from the
camera? Where would it be displayed?

I rarely see Windows held up as a masterpiece of UX.
Still, KDE is hugely customisable and you may find it more to your
liking than Xfce: Qubes support is good, with some minor issues.

I never presume to speak for the Qubes team.
When I comment in the Forum or in the mailing lists I speak for myself.

See also: How to install software | Qubes OS and Installing Software in Qubes from .deb / .rpm.

See How to use devices | Qubes OS and How to use devices | Qubes OS (two different links)

Thanks for replies. I’ll try KDE then. Probably it’ll be sufficient for my needs.

You will notice that no icon appears for the network manager - in 4.1 it
is blank, in 4.0 invisible, but still there. You can use it as normal
despite this.

If you have any problems with KDE, ask away. And read that thread.

I never presume to speak for the Qubes team.
When I comment in the Forum or in the mailing lists I speak for myself.

Last I checked, the official guide for installing KDE in Qubes doesn’t work. Use the following instructions to get it installed. Then reboot and click the top right of the screen at user login and choose Plasma. Done.

Remember that the “official guide” is for 4.0, and the instructions
there work in 4.0

In 4.1 the easiest way to install KDE is to run:
sudo qubes-dom0-update kde-settings-qubes

I never presume to speak for the Qubes team.
When I comment in the Forum or in the mailing lists I speak for myself.