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 version of Ubuntu is 19.10. You can download it from the official Ubuntu website.

List of Things to do After installing Ubuntu (18.04, 19.04 and 19.10)

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 GNOME Tweak Tool

GNOME Tweak Tool

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

sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool

Browse Extensions

Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 19.10 (and 18.04) 36

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.

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.
  • OpenWeather: A simple panel applet which displays weather conditions automatically.
  • No Title Bar: Removes the top titlebar and inserts the window controls at the top panel.
  • Dash to Panel: An icon taskbar for the Gnome Shell.
  • 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.

Also Read: Turn GNOME to Heaven with these 23 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.

Install Unity

Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 19.10 (and 18.04) 38

Since Ubuntu 17.10, Unity was dropped as a default desktop. However, if you are a fan of Unity, you can get it back via the following command:

sudo apt install unity unity-session

Install Unity Tweak Tool (If you use Unity)

things to do after installing ubuntu

Unity 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 program 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 19.10 (and 18.04) 41

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 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 these themes and extract them in the correct location (or if you installed from their official repositories). You can start using them with GNOME Tweak Tool or 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

Replace Default Installed Snaps with Packages

Starting in recent Ubuntu versions, all of the following applications that you see installed by default are not coming from the package repositories, instead, they are installed as “Snaps”:

  1. GNOME System Monitor.
  2. GNOME Calculator.
  3. GNOME Characters.
  4. GNOME Logs.

This cause them to be so slow in boot, beside many other issues. If you want, you can remove their Snaps and install them as packages, just like all the other software on your system using the following commands:

sudo snap remove gnome-system-monitor gnome-calculator gnome-characters gnome-logs 

sudo apt install gnome-system-monitor gnome-calculator gnome-characters gnome-logs 

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 19.10 (and 18.04) 49

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:

  • 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.
  • 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:

Try Other Browsers

Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 19.10 (and 18.04) 53

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 LXDE:

sudo apt install lxde

To install LXQt:

sudo apt install lxqt

To install Budgie:

sudo apt install budgie-desktop

Install Multimedia Codecs

Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 19.10 (and 18.04) 56

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

Things To Do After Installing Ubuntu 19.10 (and 18.04) 58

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, it even has a medical app!

Fix Gone Passwords in Chromium Browser (Ubuntu 19.10)

Chromium Browser on Slax 9.6
Chromium Browser

Starting with Ubuntu 19.10, the Chromium package now enwraps a Snap package. So if you upgrade from Ubuntu 19.04 to 19.10, you’ll see that all your passwords are gone.

To fix this, run the following command:

snap connect chromium:password-manager-service  

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!

7 Comments

  1. M.Hanny Sabbagh

    April 15, 2017 at 3:17 pm

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

    Reply

    • Procopius

      May 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      I think he may be referring to the Brightness and Lock setting. If you don’t do anything for 5 minutes the screen goes black and you have to enter your password to return to active status. I like that feature (in Windows it can be selected in the screensaver options, which I think is under power management or something like that — I don’t use it on my Windows system because my system is physically secured, but I really should). Anyway, I agree 5 minutes is too short. Go to System Settings/Brightness & Lock, in the top row or Personal section of System Settings, and you can change the interval. I changed mine to 10 minutes.

      Reply

      • M.Hanny Sabbagh

        May 20, 2017 at 4:12 pm

        Oh. If that’s what he meant then it’s more of a personal perference. It’s 5 minutes because this way it would save more battery power if it’s not active for a long time. Since power management on Linux is already poor, a lot of distributions try to use such settings by default.

        Reply

  2. M.Hanny Sabbagh

    August 22, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Because displaying warning messages every few minutes is a broken user experience.

    Reply

  3. Nonya

    October 22, 2019 at 5:11 am

    Or better yet, install a much more stable and bug-free Linux distro…preferably one that has KDE as its default desktop!

    Reply

  4. Fixit Mann

    October 22, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    Or, better yet, install 16.04, which is faster, has fewer bugs and definitely doesn’t have regressions and GTK3 issues. KDE might be fine on YOUR system, but it is notoriously larger & slower than, say, gnome or xfce! And I’m not looking forward to 20.04 either, the GTK3 issues might be solved then, but don’t you want to bet that the snaps issue will get worse, or something else will get screwed up? One reason I usually wait 2 years before installing a particular version of software (including browsers and security fixes) so all the bugs can be worked out.
    18.04 caused me all kind of grief with programs not running properly, or running slowly, or in some cases not running at all. Even the Greeter is just wrong. And this is installing everything just the same as 16.04, from repositories, or rarely a .deb file with dependencies met.

    Reply

  5. Moss Bliss

    November 2, 2019 at 9:50 pm

    I installed Unity on my Ubuntu MATE 19.10… and everything went wonky. The only way to recover was to install something else. Thank you for my new instalation of Ubuntu Budgie 19.10.

    Reply

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