1. Run Update ManagerJust because you’ve installed the latest version of Ubuntu doesn’t mean that there won't be some updates and patches waiting for you. Make sure you run the update manager (if it doesn’t update you first) so that you’re benefitting from the latest fixes and features.
2. Enable graphics card drivers for 3D fun
If you want to use advanced desktop effects such as Compiz (3d Cube, wobbly windows) then you will need to enable the “official” drivers for your graphics card.
Ubuntu should automatically detect and alert you that 3D drivers are available. If so, you will see a ‘circuit board’ icon appear on the top panel. Click this and follow the prompts.
If Ubuntu fails to detect any hardware (do be patient as this isn’t always instant) then you can manually run the hardware configuration tool yourself from the System > Preferences menu.
3. Enable playback of MP3’s, MP4’s & moreIt’s a shame this step has to be included at all but sadly Ubuntu aren’t allowed by law to ship certain multimedia codec's out of the box. Installing them yourself, thankfully, is a breeze – just click the button below!
4. Install more themesWant a bigger selection of themes to choose between? You’ll find many beautiful and stylish ones in the Community Themes package.
5. Change font and/or font size
I know what you’re thinking: those fonts look huge, huh? Set them to a smaller size via the Appearance menu (Shortcut: Right click on Desktop > Change Background > Fonts).
Most readers find size 9pt works well but if you have a very wide display 8pt may suit you better.
If the default font isn’t to your taste a lot of readers suggested installing DroidSans.Many users also recommend you install the Microsoft Core fonts package for better web browsing:
6. Set up UbuntuOne file sync
If you don’t already use UbuntuOne now is the perfect time to do so. You'll get 2 GB of free storage, you are able to sync your Firefox bookmarks, Tomboy notes and Evolution contacts between computers – as well as any file or folder you wish.
Head to Applications > Internet > UbuntuOne to get started.
7. Install Ubuntu Tweak and make your life easier
Ubuntu Tweak is a one-stop shop for managing and installing extra applications, tweaking your desktop (such as putting the window controls back on the right and choosing which icons show on the desktop) and allowing you to keep your system in tip-top shape with the built in system cleaning options. (Ubuntu tweak recently won our ‘Best System Cleaners’ poll by a landslide – and for good reason!)
8. Visit the Software Centre to find great apps
One size certainly does not fit all so if you’re wanting to add VLC, install Photoshop rival The GIMP or play some awesome games then look no further than the Ubuntu Software Centre which can be launched from the Applications menu.
Everything is one-click install so browse around – make sure you check out the featured applications section, too!