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What to do after installing Ubuntu

Warning: Some things on this page may break your computer, only run commands you understand. We will color these amber.

Note: This page outlines our list of things to do after installing Ubuntu and will always remain in being edited mode as there are always new things to add to it. Much has changed since they decided to flow with Unity and the same goes for those who prefer Gnome. We use vi for editing, supplement vi for your favorite editor (nano, emacs, ed).

I’ve Installed it, now what?

First things first. Update your repositories, follow instructions here

Install vim and ssh

This way you can ssh into your box if your display stops working or some other thing goes wrong.

sudo apt-get install ssh vim

Getting the GPG keys

sudo apt-key adv --keyserver keyserver.ubuntu.com --recv-keys

Check for and Install Updates

Despite this release being fresh off the production line, last minute updates or ironing of bugs will be more than likely so make sure you are all updated. open a terminal and run the following:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Check for Proprietary Hardware Drivers

To check if you need to install any drivers, press the windows button and search for Additional Drivers. Start the app and it will tell you if you have or not.

Ubuntu Tweak

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak

Tweak Unity

sudo apt-get install unity-tweak-tool

Disable Unity Product Scopes

Enter the following in a terminal:

gsettings set com.canonical.Unity.Lenses disabled-scopes "['more_suggestions-amazon.scope', 'more_suggestions-u1ms.scope', 'more_suggestions-populartracks.scope', 'music-musicstore.scope', 'more_suggestions-ebay.scope', 'more_suggestions-ubuntushop.scope', 'more_suggestions-skimlinks.scope']"

Enable Laptop Mode

If you are on a laptop, do this to improve battery life.

sudo apt-get install laptop-mode-tools

Ubuntu Extras

This will enable your Ubuntu to play popular file formats and a ton of other extras. Run the following in a terminal window.

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-restricted-extras ttf-mscorefonts-installer libavformat-extra-53 libavcodec-extra-53 gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg libxine1-ffmpeg gxine mencoder totem-mozilla icedax tagtool easytag id3tool lame nautilus-script-audio-convert libmad0 mpg321 gstreamer1.0-libav flashplugin-installer unace unrar zip unzip p7zip-full p7zip-rar sharutils rar uudeview mpack arj cabextract file-roller


Oracle JDK is no longer included by default in Ubuntu’s repositories due to licensing. OpenJDK is default now but many apps still don’t play nice with it. This is why I installed Oracle JDK. I’ll walk you through the process of installing Oracle JDK 7, the easy way. For this we will use the “install oracle-java7-installer” package from “WEBUPD8″. This package will download the official binaries from Oracle and install the JAVA 7 JDK, JRE and browser plugins on your machine.

First you need to remove openjdk, for this run the following command from your terminal

sudo apt-get purge openjdk*

Now you can install Java7 by running each command individually:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install oracle-java7-installer

Restart your browser and go here: http://www.java.com/en/download/testjava.jsp to verify if your install went ok.

Adobe Flash

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer

AntiVirus and Firewall

Despite being clean for a long time, Ubuntu is growing in popularity and may soon find itself in the cross-hairs of virus writers. Arm yourself before the attack starts. For Ubuntu we prefer ClamAV; to install, run the following in terminal:

sudo apt-get install clamav clamtk gufw

Enable Full DVD Playback

Though installing the restricted extras package will solve most of your problems, you may not be able to play dual layer dvds yet; for that, you need to install some packages:

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

Speed Up your System


Preload is nice little application that could make your Linux system a lot faster. preload is an adaptive readahead daemon. It monitors applications that users run, and by analyzing this data, predicts what applications users might run, and fetches those binaries and their dependencies into memory for faster start-up times. Packages are available for almost all Linux distributions. And it is available by default in the Synaptic Package Manager in Ubuntu. Alternatively, you can install it via Terminal.

sudo apt-get install preload

That’s it, Preload will run silently in the background. If you want to further tweak preload, its conf file is available at /etc/preload.conf.

Show all startup applications

You’ll notice that with Ubuntu 12.04 there are basically no applications shown in your Startup Applications program. I’m not really sure why they did this, but there is a way to make them appear again.

sudo sed -i 's/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g' /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop
Warning: Disabling items will obviously make your login time faster, but don’t disable anything you don’t understand! It could cause problems with your system.

Optimize swap usage

As we know, swap is the area on a hard disk as part of the Virtual Memory and temporarily holds memory pages that are inactive. Swap space is used when your system decides that it needs physical memory(RAM) for active processes and there is insufficient unused physical memory available. We can control the usage of swap area to speed up Ubuntu if there’s a large enough RAM. There’s a swappiness parameter controls the tendency of the kernel to move processes out of physical memory and onto the swap disk. It ranges from 0 to 100, and when swappiness=0 it tells the kernel to avoid swapping processes out of physical memory for as long as possible, when swappiness=100 it tells the kernel to aggressively swap processes out of physical memory and move them to swap cache.

First, check the value of swappiness

cat /proc/sys/vm/swappiness

change swappiness’ value to 10

vi /etc/sysctl.conf

Search for vm.swappiness and change its value as desired. If vm.swappiness does not exist, add it to the end of the file like so:


Save and exit. Once you reboot your system, the changes will take effect.


BleachBit quickly frees disk space and tirelessly guards your privacy. Free cache, delete cookies, clear Internet history, shred temporary files, delete logs, and discard junk you didn’t know was there. Designed for Linux and Windows systems, it wipes clean 90 applications including Firefox, Internet Explorer, Adobe Flash, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari,and more. Beyond simply deleting files, BleachBit includes advanced features such as shredding files to prevent recovery, wiping free disk space to hide traces of files deleted by other applications, and vacuuming Firefox to make it faster. Better than free, BleachBit is open source.

sudo apt-get install bleachbit


ZRAM creates a RAM based block device which acts as a swap disk, but is compressed and stored in memory instead of swap disk (which is slow), allowing very fast I/O and increasing the amount of memory available before the system starts swapping to disk.

This gives amazing performance improvements on systems with low RAM. Especially netbooks! However it is not known if this gives a beneficial effect to Solid State Drives (SSDs.)

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:shnatsel/zram
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install zramswap-enabler

Other Tips & Tricks

Setting up Aliases

First off, lets create the bash_aliases file

touch ~/.bash_aliases; vi ~/.bash_aliases

Add your aliases in this file. One on each line. Here’s an example with a few of my favorites:

alias update='sudo apt-get update'
alias upgrade='sudo apt-get upgrade'
alias upgradef='sudo apt-get update; sudo apt-get upgrade'
alias ins='sudo apt-get install'
alias rem='sudo apt-get remove'
alias search='apt-cache search'
alias autoremove='sudo apt-get autoremove'
alias autoclean='sudo apt-get autoclean'
alias aliases='printf "

Alias Usage:

update = Will Update the Package Index
upgrade = Will Upgrade Packages
upgradef = Combo of update and upgrade
ins = ins [Package] Will Install Pakage
rem = rem [Package] Will Remove Pakage
search = search [Package] will search apt-catch
autoremove = autoremove will remove packages
autoclean = will remove all unused packages
Note: These will not work in any terminal windows/tabs you had open before adding the new aliases. Simply close the old ones or open new ones.

Something went wrong! How do I reset Unity or Compiz?

You can easily reset Unity or Compiz using the following commands (be careful when using these commands and only use them if you really have to!):

– to reset the Unity launcher icons:

unity --reset-icons

– to reset Unity:

unity --reset

– to reset Compiz:

gconftool-2 --recursive-unset /apps/compiz-1
unity --reset

Get more cool icons – Faenza icons

If you are not impressed with the default icons of Ubuntu, you should give a try to Faenza icons. And you will like them. In the screenshot given at the end of this post, I am using these icons.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:tiheum/equinox
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install faenza-icon-theme

Shortcuts to know

Super Key'(Windows Key) - Opens dashboard
Hold Super Key - Invokes Launcher.
Hold Super Key and hit 1, 2, 3 etc - Open an Application from Launcher. When you hold the Super Key, specific numbers will be displayed in order above each application.
Alt + F1 - Put keyboard focus on the Launcher, use arrow keys to navigate, Enter key launches the application, Right arrow exposes the quicklists if an application has them.
Alt + F2 - Opens dash in special mode to run any commands.
Super + A - Opens up applications dash.
Super + F - Opens up files and folders dash.

Disable overlay scrollbars

gsettings set com.canonical.desktop.interface scrollbar-mode normal

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