38 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu

This guide provides a list of 34 things that you should do after installing the Ubuntu operating system.

Many of the items of the list are essential and I have highlighted these to make them easier to spot.

The guide provides links to other articles which will aid in your learning of the Ubuntu operating system. Many of the steps focusing on using Ubuntu while others show you the software you can and indeed sometimes should install.

After you have finished this guide, check out these two resources: How To Backup Ubuntu Files And Folders and The Complete Beginner's Guide to Ubuntu.

01
of 38

Learn How Ubuntu's Unity Launcher Works - Essential

Ubuntu Launcher
Ubuntu Launcher.

The Ubuntu Launcher provides a series of icons down the left side of the Unity desktop.

You need to learn how the Unity Launcher works as it is your first port of call when it comes to starting your favourite applications.

Most people who use Ubuntu probably know that you launch applications by clicking on an icon but many users probably don't realise that an arrow appears next to open applications and every time a new instance loads another arrow is added (up to 4).

It is also worth noting that the icons will flash until the application has fully loaded. Some applications provide a progress bar when they are in the middle of a long running task (such as when the Software Centre installs applications).

You can also customise the launcher to include your own set of personal favourite applications.

Click here for a full guide to the Unity Launcher.

02
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Learn How Ubuntu's Unity Dash Works - Essential

Ubuntu Dash
Ubuntu Dash.

If the application you want to run isn't available from the Unity Launcher, you will need to use the Unity Dash to find it instead.

The Unity Dash isn't just a glorified menu. It is a hub which you can use to find your applications, files, music, photos, online messages and videos.

Learn how to use the Unity Dash and you will have mastered Ubuntu.

Click here for a full guide to the Unity Dash

03
of 38

Connect To The Internet - Essential

Connecting To The Internet Using Ubuntu
Connecting To The Internet Using Ubuntu.

Connecting to the internet is essential for installing necessary tools, downloading extra software and reading other articles at about.com.

Here is a guide showing how to connect to the internet from the Linux command line as well as the graphical tools provided with Ubuntu.

This guide has an overview of Ubuntu and shows how to connect wirelessly to the internet.

What happens if the wireless networks don't appear? This video shows how to set up broadcom drivers.

This document shows how to troubleshoot general WIFI issues.

It is also possible to connect to the internet from the command line.

04
of 38

Update Ubuntu - Essential

Ubuntu Software Updater
Ubuntu Software Updater.

Keeping Ubuntu up to date is important for security reasons and to make sure you get bug fixes to applications installed on your system.

All you need to do is run the Software Updater package from the Ubuntu Dash.

This guide shows how to update Ubuntu.

Here is a link to the Wiki page for Software Updater

Here is a video showing how to use the Software Updater.

If you are on the LTS release (16.04) then you might wish to upgrade to version 16.10 or if you are on 16.10 and wish to upgrade to 17.04 when it is released you can open the Updater application and as long as you have applied all updates you can upgrade to the latest version of Ubuntu.

From within the Updater application choose the "Updates" tab and then make sure the dropdown at the bottom is set to "Notify me of a new Ubuntu version for any new version".

05
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Learn How To Use The Ubuntu Software Tool - Essential

Ubuntu Software
Ubuntu Software.

The Ubuntu Software tool is used to install new software.

You can open the Ubuntu Software tool by clicking on the icon of a shopping bag on the launcher.

There are three tabs on the screen:

  • All
  • Installed
  • Updates

On the "All" tab you can search for new packages by entering a description in the box provided or browse through a number of categories such as audio, development tools, education, games, graphics, internet, office, science, system, utilities and video.

Next to each software packages listed after searching or clicking on a category is an install button which when clicked will install the package.

The "Installed" tab shows a list of all the packages that are installed on your system.

The "updates" tab shows a list of updates that need to be installed to keep your system up to date

06
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Enable Extra Repositories - Optional But Recommended

Canonical Partner Repositories
Canonical Partner Repositories.

The repositories set up when you first install Ubuntu are limited. In order to get access to all the good stuff you will need to enable the Canonical Partners repositories.

This guide show how to add extra repositories and provides a list of the best PPAs.

This guide shows how to add the Canonical partner repositories via the command line.

The AskUbuntu website also shows you how to do this graphically.

07
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Install Ubuntu After Install - Essential

Ubuntu After Install
Ubuntu After Install.

The Ubuntu Software tool doesn't include all of the packages that most people need.

For instance Chrome, Steam and Skype are missing.

The Ubuntu After Install tool provides a good method for installing these and many other packages.

Visit https://www.thefanclub.co.za/how-to/ubuntu-after-install and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Click on the Ubuntu-After-Install.deb download link and after the package has downloaded click on it so that it opens in Ubuntu Software.

Click the "Install" button.

To open Ubuntu After Install click on the top icon on the launcher and search for "Ubuntu After Install".

Click on the "Ubuntu After Install" icon to open it.

A list of every available package is listed and by default they are all checked.

You can install all the packages or you can deselect the ones you do not require by removing the tick from the checkboxes. 

08
of 38

Learn How To Open A Terminal Window - Essential

Linux Terminal Window
Linux Terminal Window.

 "Hey I didn't sign up to this" I hear some of you say. "I was told that the use of the terminal was minimal".

You can do most things in Ubuntu without using the terminal but you will find that some guides showing how to perform certain tasks focus on terminal commands rather than the graphical user interface because the terminal is universal across many Linux distributions.

This guide shows how to open a terminal and gives a list of basic commands.

You will almost certainly want to follow this guide which shows how to navigate the file system.

09
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Learn How To Use apt-get - Optional But Recommended

apt
Use apt-get to install files.

The Ubuntu Sofrware tool is fine for the most common packages but some items don't show up. You can use the apt-get is a command line tool used by Debian based Linux distributions such as Ubuntu to install software.

apt-get is one of the most useful command line tools that you can learn. If you learn one Linux command today it is this one.

Click here for a quick guide showing how to use apt-get.

This guide is more in depth and gives 25 useful ways to use apt-get.

If you prefer to learn by video click here.

10
of 38

Learn How To Use sudo - Optional But Recommended

How To Use sudo
How To Use sudo.

Within the terminal one of the commands that you will use quite often is sudo.

sudo makes it possible for you to run commands as a super user (root) or as another user.

The most important bit of advice that I can give you is to make sure that you understand the whole command before using sudo with any other statement.

This link gives a brief overview of sudo and this video shows an example of how to use sudo.

11
of 38

Install Ubuntu Restricted Extras - Optional But Recommended

Ubuntu Restricted Extras
Ubuntu Restricted Extras.

After you have installed Ubuntu you might decide that you want to write a letter, listen to music or play a Flash based game.

When you write the letter you will notice that none of the Windows based fonts that you are used to are available, when you try to listen to music in Rhythmbox you won't be able to play the MP3 files and when you try to play a Flash game it just won't work.

You can also install the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package via the Ubuntu After Install application highlighted in step 7.

This guide shows how to install the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package which will enable you to do all these things and more.

12
of 38

Change The Desktop Wallpaper - Optional

Change Background Wallpaper
Change Background Wallpaper.

Had enough of the default wallpaper? Prefer pictures of kittens?

This guide will show you how to change the desktop wallpaper within Ubuntu.

Essentially all you have to do is right click on the desktop and choose "Change Background" from the context menu.

A list of default wallpapers is shown and clicking on any of them makes that image the new wallpaper.

You can add new wallpapers by clicking on the plus symbol and searching for the file to use.

13
of 38

Customise The Way The Unity Desktop Works - Optional

Unity Tweak
Unity Tweak.

Adjust the way Unity works such as changing the size of the launcher icons or adjust the window switching shortcuts using the Unity Tweak tool.

This guide shows how to use the Unity Tweak tool to tinker with many of the desktop settings.

You can now also move the launcher to the bottom of the screen.

14
of 38

Setup A Printer - Optional

Setup Ubuntu Printer
Setup Ubuntu Printer.

The first thing you should know when setting up a printer within Ubuntu is whether your printer is supported.

This guide from the Ubuntu Community Pages shows which printers are supported and links to guides for individual makes. 

This WikiHow page has 6 steps for installing printers in Ubuntu.

Here is a video guide showing how to install printers and here is another one.

15
of 38

Import Music Into Rhythmbox - Optional

Rhythmbox
Rhythmbox.

The default audio player in Ubuntu is Rhythmbox. The first thing you will want to do is import your music collection.

Here is a complete guide to the Rhythmbox Audio Player.

The Ubuntu Community Page has some information about using Rhythmbox and this video provides a reasonable overview.

This video provides a better guide to using Rhythmbox although it isn't specifically for Ubuntu.

16
of 38

Use Your Ipod With Rhythmbox - Optional

Rhythmbox
Rhythmbox.

iPod support is still limited within Ubuntu but you can use Rhythmbox to synchronise your music.

It is worth checking out the Ubuntu documentation to see where you stand with regards to portable music devices within Ubuntu.

17
of 38

Setup Online Accounts Within Ubuntu - Optional

Ubuntu Online Accounts
Ubuntu Online Accounts.

You can integrate online accounts such as Google+, Facebook and Twitter into Ubuntu so that results appear in the dash and so that you can interact straight from the desktop.

Here is a very quick guide showing how to setup online accounts in Ubuntu.

This video provides a visual guide to setting up online accounts.

18
of 38

Install Google Chrome Within Ubuntu - Optional But Recommended

Ubuntu Chrome Browser
Ubuntu Chrome Browser.

Ubuntu has the Firefox web browser installed by default and so you might be wondering why installing Google Chrome is provided as one of the options on this list.

Google Chrome is useful if you decide to watch Netflix within Ubuntu.

This guide will show you how to install Google Chrome or you can use the Ubuntu After Install application shown in step 7.

19
of 38

Install NetFlix - Optional

Install NetFlix Ubuntu 14.04
Install NetFlix Ubuntu 14.04.

In order to watch Netflix within Ubuntu you will need to install Google's Chrome browser.

Once Chrome is installed Netflix runs natively within the browser.

20
of 38

Install Steam - Optional

Ubuntu Steam Launcher
Ubuntu Steam Launcher.

Linux gaming is moving forward at a very fast pace. If you plan to use your computer for gaming then you will more than likely need Steam installed.

The easiest way to install Steam is to install the Ubuntu After Install application as shown in step 7.

After the install has completed you will open the Steam client and this will download the updates.

You will then be able to login to Steam and play your favourite games.

This guide shows how to install Steam via Synaptic and the command line.

21
of 38

Install WINE - Optional

Ubuntu WINE
Ubuntu WINE.

Every now and then you will come across a Windows program that you need to run.

There are various ways to run Windows programs in Ubuntu and none of them are 100% perfect.

WINE stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator. What WINE does however is allow you to run Windows programs natively within Linux.

To run Windows applications in Ubuntu run WINE.

22
of 38

Install PlayOnLinux - Optional

PlayOnLinux
PlayOnLinux.

WINE is very good but PlayOnLinux provides a nice graphical front end which makes it easier to install games and other Windows applications.

This guide shows how to install PlayOnLinux.

PlayOnLinux lets you choose the program you wish to install from a list or choose the executable or installer.

The correct version of WINE can be specified and customised to work natively with the application you are installing.

23
of 38

Install Skype - Optional

Skype On Ubuntu
Skype On Ubuntu.

If you want to video chat with friends and family then it is possible to install Skype for this very purpose.

This guide shows how to install Skype using Ubuntu.

The version of Skype that is provided is very old and you should look for an alternative such as Google Hangouts which provides many of the same features.

You can also install Skype via the Ubuntu After Install application.

24
of 38

Install Dropbox - Optional

Dropbox Ubuntu
Dropbox On Ubuntu.

Dropbox can be used for multiple purposes such as sharing files between people or as an offsite storage area for family photos and videos.

This guide shows how to install Dropbox using Ubuntu.

You can also install Dropbox via the Ubuntu After Install application.

25
of 38

Install Java - Optional

Ubuntu OpenJDK
Ubuntu OpenJDK Java 7 Runtime.

Java is required for playing certain games and applications. 

This guide shows how to install the Java Runtime Environment and the Java Development Kit.

Using the linked guide you can install either the official Oracle version or the open source versions.

It is not recommended to use the version in Ubuntu After Install as this is behind the latest stable version.

26
of 38

Install Minecraft - Optional

Ubuntu Minecraft
Ubuntu Minecraft.

Children everywhere seem to love playing Minecraft. Installing Minecraft in Ubuntu is really quite easy.

This guide provides a great way to install Minecraft and Java all in one using a Ubuntu snap package.

If you prefer to install in the traditional way then this guide shows how to install Minecraft in Ubuntu and also shows a Minecraft alternative. 

Here is a video guide showing how to install Minecraft and here is another one showing how to set up a Minecraft Server..

27
of 38

Backup Your System - Essential

Backing Up Ubuntu
Backing Up Ubuntu.

After going to all the effort of installing all that software and to make sure you don't lose files, pictures, photos and videos it is worth finding out how to backup your system.

This guide shows how to backup your files and folders using the default Ubuntu backup tool.

Another good way to backup your files and folders is to create a tarball using the terminal.

This video is fairly in depth at showing how to backup your Ubuntu system.

This wiki gives a list of alternative backup options for Ubuntu.

This guide shows how to backup Ubuntu using Dropbox.

28
of 38

Change The Desktop Environment - Optional

XFCE Desktop Ubuntu
XFCE Desktop Ubuntu.

If your machine is struggling under the weight of Unity or you just really don't like it there are other desktop environments to try such as XFCE, LXDE or KDE.

This guide shows how to install the XFCE desktop and this one shows how to install the Cinnamon desktop.

29
of 38

Listen To The Ubuntu UK Podcast - Optional

Ubuntu UK Podcast
Ubuntu UK Podcast.

Now that you are using Ubuntu, you have a great excuse for listening to the excellent Ubuntu UK Podcast.

Click here for the Ubuntu UK Podcast website.

30
of 38

Read Full Circle Magazine - Optional

Full Circle Magazine
Full Circle Magazine.

Full Circle Magazine is a free online magazine for the Ubuntu operating system.

Click here for the Full Circle Magazine website.

31
of 38

Get Support For Ubuntu - Optional

Ask Ubuntu
Ask Ubuntu.

Finally for this list. If you need more support then try the following resources:

32
of 38

Upgrade To The Latest Version Of Ubuntu - Optional

Ubuntu 15.04
Ubuntu 15.04.

Ubuntu 14.04 is the latest long term support release and will be fine for many users but as time goes on it will become beneficial for some users to move up to the latest version of Ubuntu.

In order to upgrade to Ubuntu 15.04 you need to run the following command from a terminal:

sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

If you are running Ubuntu 14.04 it will upgrade you to 14.10 and you will have to run the same command again to get to Ubuntu 15.04. 

33
of 38

Enable Virtual Workspaces - Optional

Enable Workspaces In Ubuntu
Enable Workspaces In Ubuntu.

One of the best features of Linux that sets it apart from other operating systems is the ability to use multiple workspaces.

In order to use workspaces within Ubuntu you will need to turn them on.

To do so click on the setting icon (the little spanner on the launcher).

When the settings screen appears click on the appearance icon.

From this screen you are able to change your wallpaper but more importantly there is a tab called behaviour.

Click on the behaviour tab and then check the box called "Enable Workspaces".

34
of 38

Enable DVD Playback - Optional

DVD Playback
DVD Playback.

To be able to play encrypted DVDs whilst running Ubuntu you will need to install the libdvdcss2 package.

Open up a terminal window and run the following command:

sudo apt-get install libdvdread4

sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/install-css.sh

35
of 38

Uninstall Software Packages - Optional

Remove Software
Remove Software.

 Not every package that comes with Ubuntu is required. For instance after installing Chrome you will probably not need Firefox any more.

Click here for a guide showing how to remove a program that is already installed or one that you install in the future that you no longer need.

36
of 38

Change The Default Applications - Optional

Change The Default Applications
Change The Default Applications.

After installing alternative software applications such as Chrome you might want to make them the default applications so that whenever you open a HTML file Chrome opens or whenever you click on an MP3 file Banshee opens instead of Rhythmbox.

This guide shows how to set up the default applications within Ubuntu. 

37
of 38

Clear The Dash History - Optional

Clear The Dash History
Clear The Dash History.

The Dash keeps a history of everything you search for and everything you use.

You can clear the history and decide what items show up in the history.

Click here for a guide to clearing the Unity Dash.

38
of 38

Start An Application When Ubuntu Starts - Optional

Ubuntu Startup Applications
Ubuntu Startup Applications.

If the first thing you do when you start your computer is open a Chrome browser then maybe you should think about getting it to start when Ubuntu starts.

This guide shows how to get a program to run at startup

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You won't need to do all the things in this list in order to use Ubuntu and there will be some things you need to do that aren't listed. The only other thing that you need to do now is subscribe to the email newsletter. The newsletter provides information about all the latest articles at linux.about.com.