38 Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu

A guide to building out your Ubuntu operating system

Use this guide to build out your Ubuntu installation for the best experience.

This guide provides a list of 38 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: 

01
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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.

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.

03
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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 articles online.

If you need help, we have a guide to who you how to connect to the internet from the Linux command line as well as the graphical tools provided with Ubuntu.

It may also be helpful for you to know how to connect wirelessly to the internet.

What happens if the wireless networks don't appear? You could have an issue with your drivers. Check out this video that shows how to set up broadcom drivers.

You may also want to know how to troubleshoot general Wi-Fi issues.

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

04
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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. There's a Wiki page for Software Updater in case you need additional help.

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 package 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.

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.

  1. Click the Ubuntu-After-Install.deb download link and after the package has downloaded click to open it in the Ubuntu Software.
  2. Click the Install button.
  3. To open Ubuntu After Install click the top icon on the launcher and search for Ubuntu After Install.
  4. Click the Ubuntu After Install icon to open it.
  5. A list of every available package is listed and by default they are all checked.
  6. You can install all the packages or you can deselect the ones you do not require by removing the tick from the checkboxes. 
08
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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.

It's quick and easy to learn how to open a terminal and work with a list of basic commands. You may also want to review some basics about 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 Software tool is fine for the most common packages but some items don't show up. 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. If you prefer, you can also learn to use apt-get by video

10
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Learn How To Use sudo - Optional But Recommended

How To Use sudo
How To Use sudo.

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

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.

11
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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 install the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package via the Ubuntu After Install application highlighted in step 7. This installation will enable all of these common tasks and more.

12
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Change The Desktop Wallpaper - Optional

Change Background Wallpaper
Change Background Wallpaper.

Had enough of the default wallpaper? Prefer pictures of kittens? It only takes a few steps to change the desktop wallpaper within Ubuntu.

  1. Essentially all you have to do is right click on the desktop and choose Change Background from the context menu.
  2. A list of default wallpapers is shown. Click any of them makes that image the new wallpaper.
  3. You can also add new wallpapers by clicking on the + (plus symbol) and searching for the file upi want to use.
13
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Customise The Way The Unity Desktop Works - Optional

Unity Tweak
Unity Tweak.

You can use the Unity Tweak tool to adjust the way Unity works and tweak settings such as changing the size of the launcher icons or adjusting the window switching shortcuts.

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

14
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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.

The Ubuntu Community Pages contain information on which printers are supported as well as links to guides for individual makes. 

The WikiHow page also has 6 steps for installing printers in Ubuntu.

You may also find a video guide to installing printers userful.  If that one doesn't do it for you, there are plenty of other videos available

15
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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.

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
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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
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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.

A visual guide to setting up online social accounts should help you get started.

18
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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. You can install Google Chrome directly into Ubuntu or you can use the Ubuntu After Install application shown in Item 7 above.

19
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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, as detailed above.

Once Chrome is installed Netflix runs natively within the browser.

20
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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 Item 7 above. However, you can also install Steam via Synaptic and the command line.

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.

21
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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.

For some, WINE is the easiest option. WINE stands for Wine Is Not an Emulator. WINE allows you to run Windows programs natively within Linux.

22
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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.

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 customized to work natively with the application you are installing.

23
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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.

Be careful though, some versions of Skype are very old. Consider looking 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
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Install Dropbox - Optional

Dropbox Ubuntu
Dropbox On Ubuntu.

Sharing in the cloud is easier in some cases than trying to email files or share them through messaging apps. For sharing files between people or as an offsite storage area for family photos, large files, and videos, considering installing Dropbox using Ubuntu.

If you prefer, you can also install Dropbox via the Ubuntu After Install application.

25
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Install Java - Optional

Ubuntu OpenJDK
Ubuntu OpenJDK Java 7 Runtime.

Java is required for playing certain games and applications. But you'll have to install the Java Runtime Environment and the Java Development Kit.

You can install either the official Oracle version or the open source version, whatever is best for you, however, it is not recommended to use the version in Ubuntu After Install as this is behind the latest stable version.

26
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Install Minecraft - Optional

Ubuntu Minecraft
Ubuntu Minecraft.

Children everywhere seem to love playing Minecraft. Installing Minecraft in Ubuntu is really quite easy. And it's even possible to install Minecraft and Java all-in-one using a Ubuntu snap package.

If you prefer to install in the traditional way then you can install Minecraft in Ubuntu. The traditional installations also gives you access to a Minecraft alternative.

If you're more of a visual learner, a video guide showing how to install Minecraft might be helpful. You can also use videos to learn how to setup a Minecraft server if you would like. 

27
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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 learning 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.

There are also in-depth tutorials showing how to backup your Ubuntu system.Or online resources that provide resource for alternative backup options for Ubuntu.You can even backup Ubuntu using Dropbox if you have enough space in your Dropbox account.

28
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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.

Learn how to install the XFCE desktop or you can install the Cinnamon desktop if you want to try something different.

29
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Listen To The Ubuntu UK Podcast - Optional

Ubuntu UK Podcast
Ubuntu UK Podcast.

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

You'll learn "all the latest news and issues facing Ubuntu users and Free Software fans in general."

30
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Read Full Circle Magazine - Optional

Full Circle Magazine
Full Circle Magazine.

Full Circle Magazine is a free online magazine for the Ubuntu operating system. The PDF-formatted magazine features user-submitted articles and how-tos designed to help you get the most out of your Ubuntu installation.

31
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Get Support For Ubuntu - Optional

Ask Ubuntu
Ask Ubuntu.

One of the most beneficial aspects of using Ubuntu software is a user base that's willing to share information (that's what Open Source software is all about, after all). If you need more support then try the following resources:

32
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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
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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.

  1. To enable this feature, click the Settings icon (the little spanner on the launcher).
  2. When the Settings screen appears click the Appearance icon.
  3. From the Appearance screen you are able to change your wallpaper but more importantly there is a tab called Behaviour.
  4. Click the Behaviour tab and then check Enable Workspaces.
34
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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
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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.

It's useful to learn how to remove a program that is already installed or one that you installed in the past that you no longer need.

36
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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.

37
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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 Unity Dash history and manage history options to controll what items show up in the history.

38
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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 learn how to set a program to run when you start Ubuntu.

 

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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.
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