The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Ubuntu





Introduction: The Always Up-to-Date Guide to Ubuntu

About: 1/3 Kansas farm girl, 1/3 computer geek, 1/3 nobody knows yet:)

Hi Guys!  This is the Always Up-to-Date Guide to Ubuntu.  It will be updated with each new release of Ubuntu.  The current release is Ubuntu 13.04  Raring Ringtail.  The next release, 13.10 Saucy Salamander, is due October 17 or so.  If you are new to Ubuntu and Linux in general, Welcome!  Ubuntu is an amazing operating system that is fast, easy to learn, and great looking.  It is also free, and will always be free.  Also it is very safe, no need to worry about viruses.  For more info on Ubuntu and why to use it see: and  For an online trial of Ubuntu go to  If you have any questions on why you should use Ubuntu, please leave a comment to ask me:) Now on to the fun part: Installing!

Step 1: Installing Ubuntu Option #2

I won't go into a ton of detail here as the Ubuntu install process hasn't changed in a while, and there are lots of install guides on Instructables and others sites.  Download Ubuntu from here.  Although it says the 32 bit flavour is recommended, unless your computer is over 4 years old, or you know specifically that  you need 32 bit, choose 64 bit.  Once it has downloaded, burn it to a flash drive using Unetbootin.  This will erase the contents of your flash drive, so be careful;)  

After it is done burning, leave the flash drive in your computer and reboot.  When your computer boots, you should see a screen that says something like "press f12(f1, f2, del, etc.) to enter bios(boot menu, boot options, etc.)" .  Press this key then navigate to boot order and change it so your flash drive is first.  All bios menus are different, sorry I can't be very specific:/  

Once you have left the bios, Ubuntu will boot to a desktop just like you will have after you install.  Feel free to play around for awhile, however it will be much faster after you install.  If something doesn't work now, DO NOT install.  Google your issue or leave me a comment explaining it to see if there is a fix BEFORE you install.  I don't blame you for being excited to use Ubuntu:) but it's not worth messing up your computer.  There. I warned you. Back to the fun part:)  When you are ready to install, double-click the install shourtcut on the desktop.  It will ask you some basic info, then bring you to a screen like in picture 2.  If you wish to install alongside Windows, choose the first option.  If wish to install only Ubuntu COMPLETELY ERASING Windows and ALL IT'S DATA, choose the second option.  Hit next, then choose how much space for Ubuntu, if you chose to install it along side Windows.  Finish filling out your info while Ubuntu installs, then watch the handy-dandy slideshow at the end. Isn't modern computing cool?;)  

For a complete step-by-step guide go to  Installing on a Windows 8 machine is basically the same, but you should definitely take a look at this guide for more info.  Installing on a Windows 8 machine can be tricky so proceed with caution!(insert scary voice here).  Once you have successfully installed, lets move onto the fun part, Using Ubuntu!

Step 2: FUNdamentals

Firstly, please excuse the pun in the title.  I couldn't help myself;)  Anyway, now that you have Ubuntu installed let's get started, shall we.  The first picture gives the names of the parts of the desktop, so you know what in the world I mean when I say, "Lock the the blah blah blah to the launcher."  The next steps will each be about one topic, email, browsing the web, etc.,  First things first, change your wallpaper.  Now I can hear you saying, "Oh it's just a wallpaper, big whoop", don't think I can't.  This is a good thing to start with, a nice picture will make you happier(or at least it does me...). Right click on the desktop and then click...Wait for it...Change Desktop Background. This is pretty self explanatory, see picture 3.  Feel free to play with these settings a bit, you won't mess anything up:)  If you think you will change the background a lot, you can lock it to the launcher by right clicking its icon any selecting 'Lock to Launcher'.  Next, Click the top icon labeled 'Dash Home'.  Searching here will search all the lenses, see 4th picture, and  Search for 'System Settings', then select it.  System settings can also be found in the appindicator with a gear.  Here you can find all the essential settings for your computer (5th picture) One thing you may wan to do is disable search results in the dash.  Click on Privacy, then switch off 'Include online results when searching in the Dash'.  If you want you can go back to the System Settings page and tweak some of your other settings.  Next you should install updates.  Search the Dash for 'Software Updater'.  Open it then click 'Install Now'.  Put in your password, then let it do its thing.  This might take awhile.... You can still use your computer while it updates.  Whenever new updates are available, it will open Software Updater automatically, so you don't need to worry about checking a lot.  Well thats it for the basics.  Have fun exploring and getting to know Ubuntu:)  Next up, web browsing!

Step 3: Browsin' the Web

So, I know you guys love surfing, right?  No?  Well how do you feel about surfing the web? Aha, that's what I thought you'd say:)  The default web browser for Ubuntu is Firefox.  If you've used Firefox on Windows or Os X before, you should feel right at home.  Well first things first, let's connect to the internet.  Click on the network AppIndicator, picture 2.  If your computer is connected via an ethernet cable, you should be automatically connected and ready to go.  If you are wanting to connect to WiFi, select you connection name from the menu (picture 3), then put in the WiFi/router password if there is one.  It will search for a few seconds then display a notification saying your are connected.  Next, open Firefox by clicking it's icon in the launcher or if it's not locked to the launcher, search for it in the Dash.  If you are connected properly you should be greeted by the Ubuntu Start Page in picture 4.  Congrats, you can now access the World Wide Web on Ubuntu. Sweet right? Ya.  Feel free to play with Firefox settings by mousing over the panel, clicking Edit, then Preferences.  Other Web Browsers are available for Ubuntu such as Google Chrome, Chromium, and Opera.  I will cover installing them in the Software step.  Next stop: Email!

Step 4: Setting Up Email

The default Email client for Ubuntu is Thunderbird Mail.  To open it, search for it in the Dash.  You otta be good at that by now right? ;)  Follow the on-screen instructions for setting it up.  And *Poof* there is now a messaging app indicator (see picture 2).  Awesome, right? As long as Thunderbird is open, when you receive an Email, you will get a notification and the messaging indicator will turn blue.  That's all there is to it:) There are other Email clients available, I'll cover installing them in the Software step.  Have fun people:)

Step 5: Software

Ya know on Windows whenever you want to install a program you have to dig through the Internet looking for it?  Yah.... not fun.  On Ubuntu, though, there is the amazing 'Ubuntu Software Center', where you can find almost any program (usually called an 'app' on Ubuntu).  It is similar to the app store for iPhone.  To open it click on the shopping bag icon in the Launcher (picture 2), or search for it in the Dash.  You can browse and install from here any apps in the Ubuntu default repositories, or from any repositories you have added.  I bet you are going reposiwhat?  A repository is a collection of software.  The main Ubuntu repository has all the software submitted and accepted to the Software Center, as well as the Ubuntu default apps.  Sometimes, though you may need an app that just isn't in the Software Center.  These are usually in repositories call ppa's or Personal Package Archives.  A ppa looks like this: 'ppa:developersname/softwaredescription'  To demonstrate how to add them I will show you how to install my favorite music player, Beatbox.  It isn't included in the Ubuntu Software Center, and I don't know why, because it rocks.  Literally and figuratively.  Its ppa is ppa:sgringwe/beatbox.  First open Ubuntu Software Center.  Click Edit, then Software Sources (picture 3).  Click the Additional Software tab (Picture 4), then click add.  Type in the ppa, ppa:sgringwe/beatbox (picture 5).  Hit Add Source, then close Software Sources.  Back in, the Software Center you can search for Beatbox, and there it is! Awesome, right?  Now just click it, then click Install.  Another way to install software is to download it from the Internet.  For Ubuntu you should download a .deb, like on Windows you would download a .exe.  A program I usually install this way is Google Chrome.  Download the .deb for 64 bit or 32 bit, depending on what Ubuntu Flavor you downloaded (remember in the Option #2 step?).  When prompted select Save, click OK(picture 7), then wait for it to download.  When it is finished you can close the download window.  Open the
 Home Folder, first icon in the Launcher, looks like, well, a folder.  Go to the Downloads folder (picture 9), then double click the .deb.  It will open in the Software center, where all you have to do is click Install.   Another good program to install is Ubuntu restricted extras.  Installing this will allow you to listen to music and watch dvds.  It is in the Software Center no ppa required:)  Also it is a good idea to install flash.  Simply search for Adobe Flash Plugin in the Software Center.  This will give flash support to Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera, Chromium, and a few other browsers, allowing you to watch youtube videos and play games.  Now who wouldn't want that?  Well, that's it! Enjoy finding new software, and if anyone's interested I can add a list of software I like.

Step 6: The End

Well that's it! I hope you guys have a great time using Ubuntu.  If you have any Ubuntu related questions PLEASE feel free to ask me in the comments!  I am glad to help out:)  If anything is unclear please comment so I can fix it:)  If anyone has an idea for a topic to include please let me know:) I really hope this guide has helped someone get started with Ubuntu. I will be adding more topics soon, and updating this guide which each release.  Some good blogs to read to learn more about Ubuntu and how to do specific things are WebUpd8 and Omg! Ubuntu!  The Help guide in Ubuntu is also a good place to look if you have a question, just search Help in the Dash.  Welcome again to Ubuntu, I hope you love it:)



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    19 Discussions

    Awesome! Hope you like it! If you have any questions about installing or using Ubuntu feel free to comment them or pm them to me:)

    I've found Unity to be a significant downgrade... Less customization is possible than with Gnome, and it makes adding more indicators a bit of a pain.

    6 replies

    Yah like I said I've never actually used gnome 2, but unity is definitely better than anything I've ever tried. I like it a lot:)

    Unity is definitely simpler to use, but only because of the more recent incarnations of Windows and most versions of Apple's OS. As far as I, someone who grew up with 95/98, and later Ubuntu versions 7.04-10.10, am concerned, it's incredibly annoying and visually cluttered. Given that Canonical doesn't offer a version with Gnome instead of Unity, I have to go out of my way and find specialized versions of Ubuntu that have Gnome installed.

    Sorry with my first comment I didn't really explain myself very well...:/ sorry. Any way I tried out gnome in Ubuntu 12.10. I can definitely see why people like it:) out of the box I don't just love the look of it, but after playing around with it for a while, I got it to look pretty cool:) I think unity was the right choice for Ubuntu, however, because out of the box it is super simple for new users, but it only takes installing one piece of software, gnome-session-fallback, to get gnome back:)

    Meh, I still like it better;) But if you want ubuntu with the old style gnome you can install gnome-session-fallback like I told liquidhandwash:)

    Currently using Ubuntu, and it's awesome, Unity could be a bit lighter-weight though, but hey, you want a lightweight DE that has a lot of functionality and customization options, that's what Cinnamon, MATE, and Xfce are for, and since I'm really, really digging Xfce lately, I'll most likely just go Xubuntu for 13.10 and future releases.

    Ive always liked ubuntu until they change to the unity desktop. Ill be sticking to gnome, I just think its more user friendly and looks better than that silly "mac like" dock on the side.
    great instructable.

    5 replies

    Thanks! Yes, I've heard that a lot of people aren't Unity fans. My first Ubuntu release was 11.10, so I haven't actually used gnome 2;) If you haven't tried unity in a while, you should definitely try 12.10. It is WAY more stable now:) I also like that you just hit the super key then search for whatever you want. It works really well for me:) But hey that's the beauty of linux, to each his own:) I left this in a comment earlier b/c it wouldn't let me post a reply, but now it just did so I deleted the

    just one thing did you mention in your insturctable about restricted extras? I didn't see it there but im going blind and it late at night....

    I have heard that you can switch back to gnome somehow, and still run 12.10 Im not sure how you do it as im running 10.10, maybe you could find out and let us know, how to do it.

    Yup I have it installed just run in a terminal sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback
    just f.y.i you have to hit alt + right click instead of just right click to edit a panel:)
    I would try it in a live dvd or vbox or something before you install because i've heard that it is a little different than like on 10.10:)