10 Tips for After You Install or Upgrade Ubuntu

Ubuntu is becoming more and more complete and easy to configure. However, like any operating system there’s work to be done after the installation. Here’s a list of 10 tips that you can use after installing or upgrading Ubuntu.

1. Install software faster

As a commenter on Slashdot said:

I felt a great disturbance in the force, as if thousands of apt-get repositories had cried out in pain, and were suddenly silenced.

The Ubuntu software repositories can get really slow, and even stop responding completely around the time of a major Ubuntu release. Without a repository mirror, you can’t install software. The Synaptic package manager can help you find a faster mirror.

2. Install restricted extras (and enable the multiverse repository)

Install support for playback of many types of audio and video, web fonts, Java, Flash, and DVD playback all in one go. Ubuntu restricted extras allow you to easy install everything that Ubuntu can’t include by default for legal reasons.

Open Applications->Add/Remove. In the Show drop down box, select All available applications. This will enable the multiverse software repository, and give you access to the restricted extras and non-free software. Start typing restricted extras into the search box and check the box beside Ubuntu restricted extras when it appears in the results. Click Appy Changes to begin installing.

3. Silence the internal speaker beep

Some Ubuntu applications make heavy use of that annoying speaker inside your PC’s case, such as Firefox when you are searching in a page. It’s not difficult permanently or temporarily disable.

4. Clear partition icons off the desktop

I like to keep my desktop clean and free of icons. Ubuntu doesn’t, and will drop icons for other disk partitions on the desktop that you likely rarely or never need. You can change a setting using gconf-editor to fix this.

5. Remove old configuration files

If you’ve upgraded your Ubuntu installation, or use a separate home partition, all of your settings will be carried over to the new Ubuntu installation. Your desktop could look exactly the same as before! This can cause problems when newer software is loading older configuration files. To start fresh, you can remove the old configuration.

Open your home folder in the file browser, and select View->Show Hidden Files. Files and folders beginning with a dot are for configuration. Back these up first, and them remove them from your home folder. The next time you log in, you will see a pristine default Ubuntu desktop.

6. Remove old kernels

This is a tip for those of you who have upgraded from a previous version of Ubuntu or installed during development. Is your boot menu full of options for booting Ubuntu with older kernels? Mine was too. You can safely remove the ones you don’t need.

7. Give Ubuntu a cool new look

The default Ubuntu theme hasn’t changed, except for the wallpaper, in years. Why not find a new theme? Give Blubuntu a try, it’s an easily installable and complete blue alternative to the brown Human theme.

8. Run Windows applications with the latest WINE

New WINE releases arrive every two weeks; the version in Ubuntu 8.04’s repository is already out-of-date. To be able to run Windows applications as well as possible, you should stay with the latest WINE releases.

Open System->Administration->Software Sources, and select the Third Party Software tab. Click Add and paste in the official WINE Ubuntu repository:

deb hardy main

When prompted, reload the repositories. Install the package wine from your package manager. Whenever a new version of WINE is released, you should see it in your Ubuntu updates.

9. Customize Compiz desktop effects

Ubuntu’s default Compiz desktop effects settings are pretty tame. Want the cube and burning windows? Install the advanced configuration software and tweak as much as you like.

10. Easily toggle Compiz on and off

You may need to run an application or two that doesn’t work properly with Compiz, or find that it slows down 3D games. Fusion-icon runs in your notification area and makes it easy to switch between window managers.

What do you do after you install a new Ubuntu system? Have any tips of your own?

Archived Comments


You might want to set up the medibuntu repository too, so that you have encrypted dvd playback, google apps and more. See for more information on how to proceed.


I wouldn’t remove all my settings if I we’re running a email-program using POP. Bye bye emails.



Removing files beginning with a dot? Are you insane!

You would loose ALL your configs, this includes Wine and its settings and drives. If you have KDE, you would loose all of the settings and the settings for every KDE program. Firefox configs are stored in a folder beginning with a dot too, you would loose all that.

Yes, this would give you the just installed look, but you would have none of your bookmarks or anything like that! It could potentially render a lot of programs useless too, like wine for example.


What a whinner, the only program you know of is wine, it’s all you talk about.. wine wine wine.. you obviously use alot of windows programs,, so why don’t you just admit that you are really a windows user and you run ubuntu in a VM and stop wasting all of our times.


What would be more interesting is, why does firefox-2 no more allow me to install add-ons?

And no, deleting Extensions.rdf does not help.


Maybe because firefox 3 is out and has been out for a long time.


I love the selective reading by kabtoffe and Tim…RTFA (Read the Fine Article):

Tombuntu said:
“Back these up first, and them remove them from your home folder.”

Common sense would tell you to restore what you decide you need


4 huh?
One very nice change with 8.04 is that the default does not add every partition it can find to /etc/fstab. You only have what you choose. :)
Major improvement to me, with 29 partitions on 2 drives.



Hardy uses firefox beta 3 (or 4 not entirely sure) so most plugins may not work yet.

I can not wait for my ubuntu cd to get here. I found most of these tips useful great read, cheers.


Remove all the .xyz fires/directories? Backup or none, that is plain stupid.


DON’T DELETE ALL CONFIG FILES! I would romve this ponit from your list, or angry rookies will be here soon…

Cyrus Jones

Actually Ubuntu uses Firefox Beta 5.


Very nice list. Gonna have to try Blubuntu for sure.


Nice article… I am not too computer tech but found the “The perfect desktop” tutorials at quite good for step but step instructions.


If you want a realy fast ubuntu try install xubuntu.
it’s based on xfce instead of gnome which is more efficient.

you can get xubuntu from ubuntu’s web site or just install xubuntu-desktop after installing ubuntu.


11) Sit around and wait for all your beloved Firefox extensions to be updated to work with v3.


That is a good piece of advice. With regards to Compiz or Desktop Effects, there are more information here pertaining to Hardy Heron -

Or alternatively, using command line to perform distribution upgrade is also quite easy -


After installing the Wine respository, do this to get rid of the GPG warning messages.

wget -q -O-
sudo apt-key add -


I think that enabling emerald at start-up might have been in that list.

So in “session” add “emerald –replace” to start emerald at start-up.

Oh, like someone said adding the “non-free-codecs” and dvd playback from the medibuntu repo is good.

A tought about the “ubuntu-restricted-extra’s”. It install the open-java package instead of sun-java6-jre. This is a bad thing as open-java doesn’t work for all java apps. I had to remove open-java and install java6 to get frostwire working.


i can’t even get java6 to install, could you help me out?


Following your advice regarding installing WINE, I received the usual PGP error message. In future posts, about installing software that uses PGP, please show how to add the PGP key to make these installations work properly.


Instead of that blubuntu theme. Why not head over to where you can find hundreds of GTK themes/wallpapers/icons to customise your installation. Coupla good tips there though.


Thanks for your tips… But a warning, if you install the restricted extras, they include the package msttcorefonts, which includes some fonts that (at least on my Thinkpad R52) are quite ugly. I prefer to remove that package and let most webs use my gnu fonts instead of the ones from Microsoft. Comic Sans, by the way, is horrible. :)


Have to agree with the comments about deleting config files. If you use tomboy, there goes all your notes. If you use Amarok for podcasts, get ready to add them all into Amarok again, so have your feed urls ready. Not advised unless you really know what you’re doing.

Ubuntu Hacker

You can also recommend installing Ubuntu Tweak for tweaking more stuff.


One another tip: if you like Windows fonts and you want your system fonts to be crisp, do the follow:



Thanks for the tips.

VOTED for this post at:


It’s really dumb that you recommend removing the files with periods infront. Also, there’s no real need for the fusion icon as you can open up an ALT+F2 dialog and type metacity –replace to turn off compiz and compiz –replace to turn compiz back on.

Linux Quiz

Thanks for the Ubuntu tips, I just cleaned out debian so i can do a fresh install with your tips.


please help me in installing mythtv in ubuntu
gives error message -failure to login to database

Panda Bears

Some other good tips to follow can be found at



I think Tom updated the article after our comments. Can’t remember the original talking about backing up.


I recommend installing opera :)


Yah, i also installed media format extras and VLC first as it doen’t play any audio or video by default.

But thanks for the wine one. I hope now i can run most windows apps :)

ubuntu rocks

Andrew Roazen

This is my checklist after installing Ubuntu. Bear in mind that installing Mint shortens it a bit.


Hardy uses Fiefox beta 3, not 5.


To install wine you will need to add the authentification key.

Type this in a term :

wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -


THANK YOU “sacha” Much appreciated… it should read as you said :

1. Run Windows applications with the latest WINE

New WINE releases arrive every two weeks; the version in Ubuntu 8.04’s repository is already out-of-date. To be able to run Windows applications as well as possible, you should stay with the latest WINE releases.

Open System->Administration->Software Sources, and select the Third Party Software tab. Click Add and paste in the official WINE Ubuntu repository:
deb hardy main

When prompted, reload the repositories. Install the package wine from your package manager. Whenever a new version of WINE is released, you should see it in your Ubuntu updates.

*** To install wine you will need to add the authentification key.

Type this in a term :

wget -q -O- | sudo apt-key add -


The main tip I have that’s not covered on this site as far as I can see is to make sure *during* the install you set up a separate partition for /home so you can install later versions over the current one without losing your documents and settings. A third partition for /usr/local is also useful for keeping other stuff between installs.


DVD playback requires a separate license in many nations to use the patented technology.




New to Ubuntu and Linux, so pleae pardon my ignorance.
I find everything in Linux except for Video Editing application like Adobe Premiere or Pinnacle Studio. Do we have something that will edit video in Ubuntu?


the best tip i have for after installing ubuntu is to place a windows vista (yes,vista) disc in the drive, reboot, install windows and while your waiting for windows to install smile at yourself with glee knowing the fact that even though you paid for this software, it will work without you having to spend countless hours researching pointless fixes to make linux run on our system.

in a nutshell, splurge some cash on vista (or even pirate it) if you want your basic computer tasks to be completed, ie flash and powerpoint presentations, to mention a few. Linux will never suceed in the desktop arena unless it is able to do the basic tasks required by atleast 90% of the computer uising population.

So if you fall into this 90%+ of users, do yourself a favour and ditch linux and move onto something that just works


i have been using linux for 5 years at least (no firewall, no virus protection) no crashes no viruses on my computer EVER! any extra programs/hacks i have had to get are easilly found ! beat that while you reboot,defrag,remoove maleware/viruses and wait for an eternity for the overly laden and utterly problem prone microsoft $#!%


The Arabic software here


thanks for the post



I did try Vista. It’s not such a bad OS :)

Unfortunately, I don’t fall into the 90% of users referred to, so I removed Vista after 3 days.

I have found Ubuntu to work after a few weeks of tweaking - or was it 20 mins for install then a couple of hours for customization, install new programs and run updates? I think it might have been the latter.

Stanger, this is for the “10% of people” post, even though I’m not so sure of the accuracy of your, estimated?, proportion ;)

Also, I believe that flash works on both OSs, but I don’t think it does out of the box.


Flash and PowerPoint don’t work out of the box on either OS. They are just as easy to install on both Windows and Ubuntu. The real difference isn’t how the OS looks - it is how it works. For us in the REAL 90% just want it to work. Vista crashed constantly and ran slowly. It took me less time to install Ubuntu than it took to install Vista and Office. Making an OS look ‘pretty’ is something you do with free time no matter what OS you have. In a nutshell Stanger - when Internet Explorer asks you about that ActiveX control - go ahead and say yes like your ‘90%’ and see how well your OS serves you then.


stanger, I do respect the will from the copyright owner, even MicroSoft. I would never sugest what you did. Without copyright, OpenSource would be in trouble.

I do lots of presentations in work with Ubuntu and Impress which works as good or better as MS Office PowerPoint, as it will not crash during a presentation.

But if it still would, I always make a PDF file too, directly from within Impress and put on a UBS-stck, without adding any software to an Ubuntu installation.
All this without any configuration or installation of other software then from a standard installation from a Ubuntu Live CD.
Installation time aprox 20-30 minutes. How long time does it to install something like this on a clean computer? On a Linux EeePC it comes installed directly.


Number 7 should be replaced with the project epidermis.


This ( is a site entirely dedicated to the sources.list for Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Debian, OpenSuse, Fedora. On the site you will find the text version and the debian version. The debian version is automatically updated when you update your distro. (sudo apt-get dist-upgrade)


Nice to see the linux crowd has as many snobbish experts as the windows crowd.


So is there a safe way to be a linux newbie and avoid being flamed by all these snobbish linux “Experts”?


Yeah, just ignore them when they don’t have anything constructive to say. That’s what I do. Those that preach about using only FOSS packages, “Windoze,” “n00buntu,” etc., are, more often than not, not worth listening to as OS fanboyism clouds their view of the bigger picture. is a respectful community as was last time I visited.


While you still got to it eventually I for one greatly appreciate that at least 70% of your guide isn’t about installing Compiz and Mac-replicating effects. It’s rare to see an ubuntu post install tip guide that doesn’t make the community as a general look like a bench of trend following goons. Great contribution.

Warren T. Void

I have been using Ubuntu (and variants) since Dapper Drake but I still like coming to your site to refresh my mind. I was just reading some of the comments here and I couldn’t help but laugh at the windoze users. Why is it that they can’t seem to wrap their tiny little minds around the fact that there will be post install task (not that different from windoze) to perform. What I really want to know is what makes the post install tasks so difficult? If your a windoze user and you want to make the transition a little easier, please.. refer to a wiki. Try googling “Unofficial Ubuntu Wiki” and go from there. CTRL+F is your friend.


I was bored to install again and again my preferred softwares each time I reinstalled Ubuntu. So, next step, I created a post-installation script infondlinux

It gives a model to personnalize user’s own script. It is opensource and is security oriented.



i m just install ubuntu 12.04. the problem is that when i was running video or audio player then a warning of python requirement was shown.

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