In my previous post "First Boot" I went through how to boot up the Raspberry Pi to the Linux command line. However for someone (like me) who is accustomed to using Windows, the Linux command line interface is not very user friendly! So now I will go through how to access the Graphical User Interface (GUI) which is provided as part of the Raspbian "wheezy" operating system.
Follow the procedure outlined in my previous post to get to the Linux command line prompt and then type the following and press Enter:
pi@raspberrypi ~ $ startx_
This will launch the LXDE desktop GUI which should be a more familiar environment for Windows users. LXDE stands for "Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment" and it is one of the many GUI's which can be used with Linux. It is very well suited to the Raspberry Pi because it is small (in terms of resource usage) and fast. For full details have a look at LXDE.org.
Click on the rather strange looking icon on the bottom left corner of the screen to display the "Start Menu" where you can browse through the various preinstalled applications. There are some shortcuts already on the desktop and you can add more while browsing through the items in the "Start Menu" simply by right-clicking on a menu item and selecting "Add to Desktop".
Double click on the "LXTerminal" icon on the desktop. This opens a terminal window with the familiar Linux command line prompt, so even when using the desktop GUI you still have easy access to the command line.
Close the LXTerminal by clicking on the "x" at the top right corner of the window or by clicking File>Quit, or if you prefer you can use the keyboard shortcut Shift+Ctrl+Q.
To close the LXDE GUI and go back to the Linux command line prompt click on the strange looking icon on the bottom left corner of the screen and then click on "Logout". You will then see the following confirmantion window:
Click on "Logout" to exit the LXDE GUI and return to the Linux command line prompt where you can safely shut your Raspberry Pi down using the "sudo halt" command as explained in my previous post.