Ubuntu releases a new version every six months. However, most of the stuff you may need to do after installing the new version are generally the same. This article will guide you through enhancing your new system. No matter what supported version of Ubuntu you use, you can follow those steps.

Currently, the latest version of Ubuntu is 17.04. You can download it from the official Ubuntu website. If you like stability, you may download Ubuntu 16.04 LTS which is supported for 5 years starting from its release date.

Run a System Upgrade

things to do after installing ubuntu

This is the first and most important thing to do after installing any version of Ubuntu. You’ll have to update the package information and fetch it from the available repositories in order to be able to install new software. To do it:

sudo apt update

You also have to upgrade your system packages if possible. Sometimes, there might be some known bugs in the Ubuntu version you have. And maybe the developers have already released a fix. Thus, you have to make sure everything you have is already up-to-date before assuming anything:

sudo apt upgrade

Install Synaptic

things to do after installing ubuntu

Synaptic is the famous package manager for Ubuntu. It was default back in Ubuntu 10.04 (and 10.10?). The main feature of Synaptic is the ability to show you all the packages you are looking for in less than a few seconds. It’s very efficient to install/remove system packages.

Unfortunately, it was removed from the system in Ubuntu 11.04. But still can be installed from the official repositories with a single command (run it in terminal, Ctrl + Alt + T):

sudo apt install synaptic

Install Unity Tweak Tool

things to do after installing ubuntu

Ubuntu doesn’t come with a ready tool out-of-the-box to change the preferences of the desktop interface. This is where Unity Tweak Tool comes. It’s a very nice user interface to configure your desktop environment. Also available from the official repositories:

sudo apt install unity-tweak-tool

Get Better Appearance

things to do after installing ubuntu

Honestly, the default look and feel for Ubuntu is not that great. Fortunately, we are on Linux, where you can simply change anything with anything else if you don’t like.

There are hundreds of nice themes available on gnome-look.org. You can choose any one you like.

If you are downloading a GTK+ theme, make sure to extract it to /home/yourusrename/.themes folder. Or if you are downloading an icon/mouse cursor theme, extract it to /home/yourusername/.icons. Those two folders (.themes and .icons) are hidden in your home folder. You need to open your home folder and hit Ctrl + H to show them. If they don’t exist, simply create them.

Here are some GTK+ themes worth to try out: Arc Theme, OSX Arc White Theme, Zuki themes, Numix Theme. And if you are searching for icons: Moka Icons, Obsidian Icons, Mint-X icons.

After you download those themes and extract them in their correct location (or if you installed from their official repositories). You start using them with Unity Tweak Tool:

Reduce Battery Usage

TLP Applet in Unity
TLP Applet in Unity

Some users – on some specific hardware – my notice a higher battery consumption rate on Linux than on Windows. This is explained in details with the solutions as well in our article: “7 Tips to Reduce Battery Usage on Linux“.

The main and easiest thing you can do to solve this problem on Ubuntu, is simply installing TLP. Which is a nice power management system working in the background to save battery power when possible:

sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw
sudo systemctl enable tlp

Then reboot your system.

Install Steam

things to do after installing ubuntu
Steam on Ubuntu 16.04

Gamer? You should definitely try the available Linux games on Steam. Which are around 25% of the total games in the whole store. To install Steam on Ubuntu, download the .deb package from this link. Double click it and hit install.

Remove Apport

things to do after installing ubuntu

Apport is the reporting system for crashes and failures in Ubuntu. It’s that small rectangular box telling you that there’s a system crash every few minutes. However, on the period of my usage for 13 different Ubuntu releases (from 10.04 to 17.04). Apport always used to show crash messages suddenly with no reason or real crash behind it. It never did its job.

If you find it annoying, you can simply remove it by:

sudo apt remove apport apport-gtk

Enable Proprietary and Canonical Partners Repositories

By default, not all the available repositories are enabled on Ubuntu. Some of them contain closed-source applications and other copyrighted programs. Which is why they are not enabled by default.

However, if you want those programs (like Flash, codecs or Skype..). You can enable them. Simply open Synaptic, head to Settings —> Repositories. Make sure you have them activated like this:

things to do after installing ubuntu

Also make sure you enable this repository:

things to do after installing ubuntu

After you reload the package information (via Synaptic or sudo apt update command). You can now browse those repositories from Synaptic to see what software you may need:

Install Needed Drivers

Although I don’t personally like the closed-source hardware drivers. I have to admit that they – sometimes – give better performance. If you want this extra performance (especially if you are a gamer). You can install them from the drivers tab in Software Sources:

Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu

Some free drivers may be there as well.

Get Important Firefox Addons

things to do after installing ubuntu

Firefox is the default web browser in Ubuntu. Since you are – probably – going to use it everyday. It’s better for you to try a set of different addons and extensions:

  • HTitle: This is a small extension which simply hides the window bar for Firefox. Making it more elegant and compatible with the system. Make sure to install it and mark the “Legacy Mode” option in the preferences.
  • GNOME Theme: A nice theme for Firefox on theme. Giving it GNOME-like style.
  • HTTPS Everywhere: The famous HTTPS protocol plugin. Must have for web encryption.
  • gTranslate: A right-click (context menu) translation option which translates any word you want by Google Translate.
  • Self Destructing Cookies: For a better privacy and anonymity on the Internet. It’s better to destroy the cookies directly after you close the tab it’s associated with. This is exactly what this extension does. Although it will directly end your sessions (you will have to login again each time), but it will give you a good privacy shield.
  • uBlock Origin: The famous ad-blocker plugin. Please make sure to add us to the whitelist!
  • Privacy Badger: Block tracking scripts and other 3rd-party online tracking software.

You may also check our article: “Get Better Firefox Look on Linux With These Extensions” to get a better customization.

Try Other Browsers

If you don’t like Firefox. You try many other available web browsers. Probably, the most famous alternative is Chromium. Which is actually Google Chrome, without the Google branding and built-in spyware.

You can install it via:

sudo apt install chromium-browser

You may also try Vivaldi, another web browser which is based on Chromium. However, Vivaldi offers a different graphical user interface beside a lot of other options for power users. You can download it from here.

Check Other Interfaces

Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu

Don’t like the default interface for Ubuntu? You can simply change it. You have many different possibilities: MATE, GNOME, KDE, XFCE, LXDE, LXQt, Budgie, Cinnamon.

Each interface has its own pros and cons. Just like tastes, everybody likes something different. You can check the look of each one of them to see which one is best for you.

Warning: Don’t install them all! Installing desktop environments like KDE and GNOME together is probably not a good idea on Ubuntu. Just install the one you would use on daily basis.

To install Cinnamon:

sudo apt install cinnamon-desktop-environment

To install KDE(with Kubuntu branding):

sudo apt kubuntu-desktop

To install Xfce:

sudo apt install xfce4

To install GNOME:

sudo apt install gnome-shell gnome-tweak-tool gnome-session

To install LXDE:

sudo apt install lxde

To install LXQt:

sudo apt install lxqt

To install Budgie:

sudo apt install budgie-desktop

Install Multimedia Codecs

Sometimes we may have different proprietary multimedia files and we would like to play them. Unfortunately, you will need to download another set of packages into your system. This is done via:

sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-addons

If you like, you can install VLC which will ease your life a lot in playing multimedia files and URLs and doesn’t require the previous proprietary set of addons:

sudo apt install vlc

Create a Backup Plan

Backups are very important. Even if you think that you may never need them. You will. If your system gets broken or if someone steals your laptop, you’re probably going to be in big trouble. Especially if you have some important files on it like your projects or books or family pictures.. Nobody would like to go through that.

There are many software which you can use. Dropbox offers a desktop-compatible software which you can install on your system in order to keep your files synchronized with your Dropbox account (it will create a folder called Dropbox in your home folder, store your important files there).

You can also use Google Drive if you want. The whole process of setting it up won’t take more than 5 minutes. Or if you are an experienced user and you have a server near you, you may try NextCloud to deploy your own private cloud on the Internet.

Conclusion

This was our list of stuff to do after installing whatever version of Ubuntu. The possibilities are endless. It all depends on your work and what type of software and functionalities you may need.

If you have any more things which you always do after installing the system, you may share us your thoughts in the comments!

Update 16, April 2017 @ 06:57 GMT+3: Ghostery plugin was replaced with Privacy Badger. A clearfication about the drivers was added.

M.Hanny Sabbagh

Python programmer and open source software enthusiast. Worked on developing a lot of free software. The founder of FOSS Post. Computer Science major.

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  • Pat Anablak

    Whenever you install Ubuntu the default power setting is 5 minutes. You should change that setting first to a longer interval and then continue with “things to do after installing Ubuntu”.

    • What do you mean by “default power setting is 5 minutes”?

  • Paddy Landau

    Don’t install ubuntu-restricted-addons directly. From its description, “You should not install this package directly, but instead install the ubuntu-restricted-extras package.”

    So, that’s what you want to install: ubuntu-restricted-extras. It will install ubuntu-restricted-addons and a few extras.

    sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras