19 Best Things to do After Installing Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop

With your fresh Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa installation, especially coming from an entirely different operating system, setting things up to your taste can be a daunting and expensive endeavor.

This tutorial has curated a handful of things to do after installing Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. Canonical officially moved from Unity to GNOME, thus we explain based Gnome Desktop.

1. Check for updates

The first thing to perform after a fresh installation is to check for updates. You can perform this either using the Software Updater (GUI method) or from the terminal.

Software Updater updates the installed packages and patches software that have security issues.

To open Software Updater, Press the Superkey (Window key) on your machine, click on the search bar at the top-center, and type update.

select Software Updater
select Software Updater
checking for updates
checking for updates

Upon completion, click on Details of updates to selectively apply updates by unticking the ones you do not need. Then click on Install Now.

select packages
select packages

Depending on the updates installed, you may need to restart your system as a final step.

Alternatively, you can update and upgrade the Ubuntu packages from the terminal, type:

$ sudo apt update && sudo apt upgrade -y

2. Install additional repositories

Some package repositories from ubuntu partners are disabled by default, due to licensing issues. However, to unlock additional software packages, you should enable them by pressing the window key, click on the search bar and type software.

select Software & Update
select Software & Update
select Ubuntu partners repo
select Ubuntu partners repo

You can tick the repositories you wish to enable and click close. You will be prompted to allow updating your changes, click reload and wait for the process to complete.

The canonical Partner repository contains third-party software to which canonical doest have access.

3. Enable Livepatch

Ubuntu's Livepatch feature automatically applies software updates that do not require a reboot of the system. To enable it, open Software & Updates as previously.

Goto the Livepatch tab, then click on Sign In to connect your Ubuntu One account; if you do not have one, you will be prompted to sign-up before connecting.

sign in Ubuntu One
sign in Ubuntu One
Livepatch active
Livepatch active

4. Install Multimedia codec and plugins

Multimedia codec is not installed by default on Ubuntu 20.04. To play video and audio files it is required.

To install the multimedia codec on Ubuntu, type:

$ sudo apt install -y ubuntu-restricted-extras

If you enabled Ubuntu partner repositories previously, some proprietary packages will be marked for installation as well. Thus, you will be prompted to accept each of their respective licenses, as with the Microsoft fonts.

Microsoft license agreement
Microsoft license agreement

5. Install Your Favourite Browser

Firefox ships with Ubuntu 20.04. However, you can find and install your favorite browser(s). For the purpose of this tutorial, we will install google chrome.

Open Firefox and go to the URL https://www.google.com/chrome/. Click on Download Chrome.

Download Chrome
Download Chrome

Choose 64 bit .deb file for Ubuntu.

Accept and Install
Accept and Install

Choose to Save File option and click OK. This will save the .deb file to the download folder.

Save the deb File
Save the deb File

In the folder, double-click on the deb file to automatically open the software updater.

software updater
software updater

Click the Install button to start installing the chrome browser.

6. Install VLC

VLC is one of the popular multimedia players to play all multimedia files, DVDs, and CDs. You can install VLC either from GUI or from CLI.

Click the Show Applications button on your Desktop and choose Ubuntu Software. Using the search button at the left corner, find VLC - on the installation page of VLC - click the Install button.

install VLC from GUI
install VLC from GUI

To install VLC from CLI, you can choose any one of the following methods.

To install VLC using apt, type:

$ sudo apt install vlc

Alternatively, you can install using snap:

$ sudo snap install vlc

7. Check Webcam and Microphone

Gnome comes with a program called Cheese which is used to take photos, videos with your webcam

If your Ubuntu machine has a camera, you can actually test your camera and microphone with the cheese software that comes preinstalled.

Just run cheese on your terminal and click on the video icon, to capture sound and frames.

Cheese Application
Cheese Application

Then play the video.

For testing the microphone go to Settings - Sound - scroll down to the Input section. If the dotted lines are showing orange then your microphone is working.

Sound Settings
Sound Settings

You can also test your microphone using arecord tool.

To record a 5 seconds sound on the system's default capture device, type:

$ sudo arecord --device="sysdefault:0" -d 5 my-record

Play the sound just recorded:

$ sudo aplay my-record

8. Install Additional Drivers

By default, Ubuntu installs open-source drivers. In some situations such as while using a graphics card or wireless, we require proprietary drivers. These drivers are provided by hardware manufactures.

To install these additional drivers, go to Softwares & Updates, click the Additional Drivers tab and wait for the drivers listing to load. From the list, enable the drivers which you require and click Apply Changes.

install additional drivers
install additional drivers

9. Enable Dark Mode

The dark mode is a popular display feature that has been touted to not just provide a professional feel and look to your computing environment but also to save battery consumption (especially in the mobile computing world).

To enable dark mode on Ubuntu goto Settings -> Appearance. There should be three modes listed under Window colors: select Dark (or whatever modes you prefer) and wait for it to take effect.

Enable Dark Mode from Appearance Menu
Enable Dark Mode from Appearance Menu

10. Setup Firewall

UFW is a firewall management interface to configure the firewall. Ubuntu 20.04 comes with UFW preinstalled and disabled by default. If you are a beginner then it's the right tool to start to secure your network.

To check the status of UFW, type:

$ sudo ufw status verbose

To enable UFW firewall, type:

$ sudo ufw enable

Once enabled, by default all incoming and forward traffic is blocked, and allow all outbound traffic.

11. Install GNOME Tweak Tool

Gnome Tweak Tools is used to customize the looks and feel of Ubuntu. Gnome Tweak is available in the Universe repository, make sure it's enabled in Ubuntu Software. Using Gnome tweaks you can change themes, control desktop icons, change fonts, manage touchpad, change power settings, and more.

Go to Ubuntu Software - search for gnome tweaks and install it from there.

install Gnome Tweaks
install Gnome Tweaks

Alternatively, you can install from the command line, type:

$ sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

12. Install Microsoft Fonts

Microsoft fonts are not available by default on Ubuntu. When you open Microsoft documents in LibreOffice, you may find some fonts with different looks.

To install Microsoft fonts, type:

$ sudo add-apt-repository multiverse
$ sudo apt update 
$ sudo apt install ttf-mscorefonts-installer

13. Set default apps

To set default apps, go to Settings -> Default Applications. There you can pick default applications for web, mail, calendar, music, video, and photos

choose default Applications
choose default Applications

14. Keyboard layout

To change keyboard layout go to Settings -> Region & Language. Under the Input Sources section, you can click the plus icon to add a layout.

Add keyboard layouts
Add keyboard layouts

15. Setup accounts

To set up online accounts, go to Settings -> Online Accounts. You should see a handful of online accounts such as Ubuntu single sign-on, Google, Nextcloud, Facebook, and Microsoft

Just click on any and proceed accordingly.

Setup Online accounts
Setup Online accounts

16. Mailing client

Mozilla Thunderbird is one of the most popular mailing clients in the Ubuntu world, it even comes preinstalled.

Open the terminal, run the following command to open thunderbird:

$ thunderbird

You can set up an existing email account on thunderbird.

Setup Thunderbird mail client
Setup Thunderbird mail client

17. Disable startup Apps

Ubuntu has Startup Applications Utility that will list apps that run on boot. You can add, remove and edit the apps that start on system startup.

Press the Window key and search startup app and then open the Startup Applications.

Startup Applications
Startup Applications

18. Install Snap and Flatpak

Snaps are easy to install applications packaged with all their dependencies. It is cross-distribution and dependency-free. Snap is preinstalled on Ubuntu 20.04.

In case not working, install snap on Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt install snapd

Once snap is installed, you can install apps available in the snap store.

For example to install inkscape:

$ sudo snap install inkscape

Flatpak is a Linux app format that allows software deployment and package management in Linux. Similar to snappy, It provides a sandbox environment where apps run in isolation from the rest of the system.

To install Flatpak on Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt install flatpak

Once flatpak is installed, browser to Flathub, the home of hundreds of apps that can be easily installed on any Linux distribution. Download the app to your desktop, double click the file to install it. Alternatively, you can install flatpak apps using CLI.

$ flatpak search vlc
$ flatpak install flathub org.videolan.VLC
$ flatpak run org.videolan.VLC

19. Improve Battery Performance

TLP is one of the best power management tools, especially for laptop PCs. Just installing the tool will automatically apply optimized default configurations for different power situations.

To install TLP on Ubuntu:

$ sudo apt install tlp


In this tutorial, we learned things to do after installing Ubuntu 20.04. Lets us know your experience using Ubuntu 20.04 Desktop.

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