Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 21.10 & 20.04

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.

Please don’t look at those things as mandatory; Pick what’s best for your user experience and needs, and leave the rest of them. You don’t have to apply everything on this list.

Currently, the latest LTS version of Ubuntu is 20.04 LTS, and the non-LTS version is 21.10. You can download it from the official Ubuntu website.

After installation, the first thing to do is updating your OS. 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, run the following command in the Terminal app (Press Ctrl + Alt + T to launch it):

sudo apt update
things to do after installing ubuntu

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

sudo apt upgrade

Things to do After installing Ubuntu 21.04 & 20.04

Things to Install

In this section, you will see a list of possible software and tools that you can install on Ubuntu. Choose only what you need from them.

Install Synaptic

things to do after installing ubuntu

Synaptic is the famous package manager for Ubuntu. It was default back in older Ubuntu releases (Like 10.04 LTS). 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 GNOME Tweaks

GNOME Tweak Tool

Starting from Ubuntu 17.10, the system comes with GNOME desktop by default. If you would like to configure the interface’s options, you can install GNOME Tweaks:

sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

GNOME Tweaks is especially helpful if you want to change your keyboard layout using Alt + Shift. There’s an option in the “Keyboard” tab that allows you to change that under “Additional layout options”.

Install GNOME Extensions

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You can add extra functionality to your GNOME desktop via “extensions”. Fortunately, there’s a special website where you can browse extensions and install them in a single click, which is extensions.gnome.org.

Here are some of our suggestions:

  • User Themes: A must-have extension. In order to be able to use themes from your ~/.themes folder, you must install this extension first.
  • Frippery Move Clock: Moves the clock to the right side of the panel.
  • Frippery Panel Favorites: Adds your favorite applications to the panel as icons.
  • Tray Icons: Restore the system tray icons on the GNOME panel for your minimized and supported applications.
  • Dash to Panel: Convert the GNOME panel into a more advanced panel that can be placed anywhere.

You may wish to install more GNOME extensions according to your needs, for which you can check our full list of the recommended GNOME extensions.

Important Note: Starting with Ubuntu 19.10, the Chromium browser package is now a transitional package that installs the Snap version. This means that you no longer can use Chromium to install extensions from extensions.gnome.org, you have to use Firefox browser (Unless you installed Chromium as a DEB package).

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.

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), then 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.

Install Other Desktop Interfaces on Ubuntu

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 and 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 and remove the others.

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 xubuntu-desktop

To install MATE:

sudo apt install ubuntu-mate-desktop

To install LXQt:

sudo apt install lubuntu-desktop

To install Budgie:

sudo apt install ubuntu-budgie-desktop

Install Multimedia Codecs or VLC

things to do after installing ubuntu 13

Sometimes we may have different 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 doesn’t require the previous proprietary set of addons:

sudo apt install vlc

Get Better Appearance

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Since Ubuntu 18.10, the distribution comes with “Yaru” theme, which is really nice by default:

Yaru theme on Ubuntu 18.10
Yaru theme on Ubuntu 18.10

But if you don’t like it, there are hundreds of nice themes available on gnome-look.org. You can choose any one you like and download it.

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 display 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 these themes and extract them in the correct location, you can start using them with GNOME Tweaks.

Get Important Firefox Addons

things to do after installing ubuntu 18

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

  • 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.
  • Bitwarden: Free and open source password manager that you can use to secure your login credentials on websites.

If you care for privacy and security, then check the following list of privacy addons for Firefox. You may also check our other list about general useful addons for Firefox.

Try Other Browsers

things to do after installing ubuntu 20

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 besides a lot of other options for power users.

Ungoogled-Chromium is another browser you can try, it is the same as Chromium but without any connection to Google servers at all, and also stripping any built-in functionalities related to Google.

Note: Starting form Ubuntu 19.10, the Chromium package in Ubuntu is a transitional package for the Snap version of Chromium, making it slower and possibly having more bugs than the normal DEB version. You may follow this tutorial to install the DEB version of Chromium on Ubuntu.

Things to Remove

There are also some software which you may would like to remove from Ubuntu for many possible reasons, here’s how you can do it.

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 all Ubuntu releases, 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, then you can simply remove it by:

sudo apt remove apport apport-gtk

Remove Snaps

Snaps are a new format for software delivery in the Linux world. They are contained packages isolated from each other which can be easily updated to their latest versions. However, some users report that Snaps are slow, buggy or take some system resources while they work in the background, hence they would like to see it gone from their systems.

To remove Snaps from Ubuntu, run the following command:

sudo apt purge snapd

Notice that this will cause some apps to disappear from your system, like the software center or the calculator. To get them back, you can install Snaps again and reboot:

sudo apt install snapd

Things to Adjust or Tweak

Here are some additional adjustments and tweaks that can you apply on your system.

Enable Hot Corner in GNOME Shell

things to do after installing ubuntu 23

Ubuntu comes with the GNOME Shell desktop by default. But there’s a nice hidden feature that is disabled there, which is that you can enable displaying the overview of the shell by bringing your mouse to the upper corner of the desktop automatically when you hover it.

To enable it, run the following command:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface enable-hot-corners true

Enable Light/Dark Mode in Ubuntu

Ubuntu comes with a nice feature to enable dark mode or light mode. To enable it, just open the settings center and head to the appearance tab:

things to do after installing ubuntu 25

You can control some other options related to your desktop from there too.

Reduce Battery Usage on Laptops

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 about tips to save battery power on Linux.

The main and easiest thing you can do right now 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. It doesn’t need any configuration, it will load the default configuration and save power by its own.

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:

things to do after installing ubuntu 29

Create a Backup Plan

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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, then 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 for backups. 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, it even has a medical app!

Learn More about Snaps

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Snaps are a new way of delivering applications in the Linux world. They were introduced by Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, and are now installed by default on many Ubuntu releases. You may wish to learn more about Snaps instead of avoiding them or removing them.

You can see all installed Snaps on your system via the following command:

snap list

To search for a specific Snap:

sudo snap find <snap_name>

And to install it or remove it:

sudo snap install snapname
sudo snap remove snapname

Learn more about Snaps and other app formats for Linux.

Conclusion

This was our list of stuff to do after installing whatever version of Ubuntu you use. 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!

3 Comment
Eric S May 26, 2020
|

sudo apt-get purge snap snapd


snap takes extra resources,

intoduces redundant libraries and even redundant processes,

it is flatpack for idiots.

James Dean June 3, 2021
|
first thing: uninstall snap
ProcopiusProcopius August 4, 2021
|
I don't believe I used a printer with my Ubuntu installs before 20.04, but I tried to install a Canon G2010 all-in-one on 20.04. The printing service detected the printer OK, and even got the name correct, but would not print. I found I had to run 'sudo apt instaall printer-driver-gutenprinter' to make it work. I don't know if many people have this problem, but it's taken me more than a year to find the solution. Maybe it would be helpful for you to add that as something you have to do after installing a new version. The same problem occurred with 20.10 and 21.04, so it hasn't been fixed. I'll try to find a way to send the recommendation to the developers.

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