After you download and install Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa you may wonder what to do next or how to best customize your Ubuntu 20.04 system to make everything you do as efficient as possible.

This guide helps you to identify things to do after installing Ubuntu 20.04 that are right for your specific needs.

We list below our recommendations and link to other guides that provide you with more detailed instructions on how to achieve a specific system configuration or customization.

If you do not know much about the new Ubuntu 20.04 release, have a look at our Things to know about Ubuntu 20.04 article.

In this guide you will learn:
  • How to customize your Ubuntu 20.04 desktop by, for example, using GNOME shell extensions and the GNOME tweak tool.
  • How to configure your Ubuntu 20.04 system, which will include, enabling automatic login, changing timezone or adding more fonts.
  • How to install software on Ubuntu 20.04 via command line, software manager and snap store.
  • How to take care of your system's security by regular updates and proper use of firewall or running system backups.
  • How to set up cloud storage such us Dropbox or Google Drive.
  • How to test the connection to external devices, including webcams and microphones.
  • How to set up remote desktop sharing on Ubuntu 20.04 as well as how to share an Ubuntu 20.04 desktop with Windows 10 client.
Things to do after installing Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux
Things to do after installing Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux

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Customize Desktop

When you install Ubuntu 20.04 it will come with the default GNOME 3.36 desktop. Gnome 3.36 is full of improvements and results in better performance and a more aesthetically pleasing graphical experience.

In this section we focus on customization of GNOME only. However, we also point you (in the last subsection) to articles that consider installation of other desktop environments which gives you even more options to chose from.

Customize your Dock Panel

GNOME is the default desktop environment for Ubuntu 20.04, and one of the first things you'll see on your desktop is the dock panel to the left of the screen. The dock panel is highly customizable, so it's easy to tailor it to your liking. For instance, you can move it to the bottom of the screen as displayed below.
Customized dock panel on Ubuntu 20.04
Customized dock panel on Ubuntu 20.04
To customize your Gnome Dock panel navigate to:



Add Applications Menu to GNOME

If you miss the regular applications menu on your GNOME desktop you can install GNOME extensions to add the GNOME applications menu to your desktop.
Application menu on Ubuntu 20.04 GNOME Desktop
Application menu on Ubuntu 20.04 GNOME Desktop
To add application menu to your Gnome desktop see:

Create Desktop Shortcuts

You will definitely want to add a shortcut launcher for a commonly used application to your desktop.

desktop shortcut launcher on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
Desktop shortcut launcher on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
To create desktop shortcuts read:



Access Terminal

You might like to access terminal on Ubuntu 20.04. There is a variety of ways how you can do this which we explain in the guide below.

Access Terminal on Ubuntu 20.04
Access Terminal on Ubuntu 20.04
To learn how to access terminal on Ubuntu 20.04 navigate to:

Set Wallpaper

Many users will want to choose and set a wallpaper for their Ubuntu 20.04 desktops. We show you how to do this using command line. Additionally, we provide you with a tutorial that configures the Ubuntu 20.04 wallpaper background to change automatically between set amount of images.

Configure Ubuntu 20.04 wallpaper slideshow
Configure Ubuntu 20.04 wallpaper slideshow
To learn how to set wallpaper on Ubuntu 20.04 navigate to:

  

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Turn on Night Light

The emission of blue light from your screen is automatically adjusted by the Ubuntu 20.04 Night Light feature. According to research, it is important for you to turn on this feature to promote natural sleep pattern and reduce eye strain. In the morning your screen returns to normal settings.

Navigate to Settings --> Screen Display --> Night Light to switch this feature on as shown on the screenshot below.
Turning on Night Light on Ubuntu 20.04
Turning on Night Light on Ubuntu 20.04

Use GNOME Shell Extensions

Gnome Shell Extensions are plugins written by the community to extend and modify the behavior of the GNOME desktop environment. You can browse for and download these extensions much the same way you would install extensions for Firefox or Chrome.

Using GNOME shell extensions, such as the gnome-weather application is a great way to customize your desktop. An Ubuntu user can retrieve weather information for any location specified. The gnome-weather application is also incorporated into the default desktop calendar window.

Gnome Shell Extensions on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux Desktop
Gnome Shell Extensions on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux Desktop
For more details how to install GNOME shell extensions on Ubuntu 20.04 navigate to:

 


Use GNOME Tweak Tools

GNOME Tweak Tool is another way to customize Ubuntu's looks and behavior.

Tweak Tools on Ubuntu 20.04
Tweak Tools on Ubuntu 20.04
For more details how to install GNOME Tweak Tool on Ubuntu 20.04 navigate to:

Change Desktop Theme

Another thing you can consider doing is changing a desktop theme. Different theme gives you an alternative visual option like, for example, enabling dark theme. If you were a mac user in the past you may also consider installing the mac operating system theme.

macOS theme on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux
macOS theme on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux
To learn how to change Ubuntu 20.04 theme navigate to:

  


Experiment with Desktops

GNOME 3.36 is a default Ubuntu 20.04 desktop environment but this does not stop you to install and use other desktop environments. In fact, you can install a desktop environment with a single command!

For example, KDE Plasma desktop is a widget-based environment which makes it very adaptable. You can move, add or remove anything you like to make it suit your style as well as possible. Plasma is fast and efficient. It uses only few resources and is full of well designed features.

KDE plasma desktop on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux
KDE plasma desktop on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux
For the overview of the 8 best Ubuntu desktop environments see:

Configure System

This system configuration section includes such improvements to your Ubuntu 20.04 system as enabling automatic login, changing timezone or adding more fonts.

We continue to use the default GNOME desktop to cover the most likely case of the Ubuntu 20.04 user but, hopefully, if you decided to use another desktop environment the below sections will also give you a strong guideline in how to proceed with your system configuration.

Add Users

If you are sharing a computer with someone it is a good idea to add users to your Ubuntu 20.04 system. This will allow every user to enter a private session after login. You may also be interested in creating a guest session for someone who just would like to use your computer temporarily.
Guest Session Login on Ubuntu 20.04.
Guest Session Login on Ubuntu 20.04.
To find out how to add users in Ubuntu 20.04 see the following:

  

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Enable Automatic Login

When you enable automatic login in Ubuntu 20.04, you as a user, will be able to enter your session without being prompted for your password. There can be only one user with automatic login.
Enabled Automatic Login on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
Enabled Automatic Login on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
Find out how to enable automatic login by clicking on:

Sync Time and Change Timezone

Time synchronization is an important part of keeping your system clock up to date and configuring timezones correctly. In this section we will show you how to setup time synchronization on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa and how to change timezone by using both the graphical user interface (GUI) and the command line.
Change timezone on Ubuntu 20.04 Server / Desktop
Change timezone on Ubuntu 20.04 Server / Desktop
See how to sync time and change timezone on Ubuntu 20.04 by navigating to:

 


Disable Middle Mouse Button

If you find the middle mouse button paste in Ubuntu 20.04 annoying you can quickly disable it by following the steps outlined in our How to disable middle mouse button click paste on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux guide.
Disable middle mouse button click paste on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa GNOME desktop
Disable middle mouse button click paste on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa GNOME desktop
To see how to disable the middle mouse button navigate to:

Disable MOTD and News

If you would like to opt out from receiving MOTD and news on Ubuntu 20.04 you can disable these messages by following some simple steps.
dynamic motd and news on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux
Dynamic motd and news on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux
To see how to disable MOTD and news navigate to:



Disable Lock Screen

You may not wish for your screen to lock after a period of inactivity. If this is the case follow our instructions on how to disable lock screen on Ubuntu 20.04.
Disabled Ubuntu Lock Screen on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux
Disabled Ubuntu Lock Screen on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux
Have a look how to disable lock screen here:

Add More Fonts

Adding more fonts to your Ubuntu system is relatively straightforward. You can achieve this easily using a font manager application or installing fonts manually. Whatever your preference, we've got you covered with both methods in our article below.
Installing new fonts on Ubuntu 20.04
Installing new fonts on Ubuntu 20.04
To add more fonts on Ubuntu 20.04 navigate to:


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Change System Language

It is possible to change your Ubuntu 20.04 system language if English is not your preference.
Change system language on Ubuntu 20.04 from command line
Change system language on Ubuntu 20.04 from command line
To change system's language navigate to:

Switch Keyboard Layout

Switching the keyboard's layout will allow you to access the characters of another language and enable switching between multiple keyboards if you'd like.
How to add and switch keyboard layout on Ubuntu 20.04
How to add and switch keyboard layout on Ubuntu 20.04
You can find instructions on how to switch keyboard's layout here :



Autostart Application

If there is an application or software that you use frequently you may wish to autostart it on login to your Ubuntu 20.04 system.
Autostart applications on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux
Autostart applications on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux
You can find instructions on how to autostart applications on login here:

Set Static IP Address

A static IP address is an IP address that never changes. Not everyone needs a static IP address but in some situations such as setting up a home file server, enabling access to a computer when away from home or sharing a printer over a network you will need a static IP address.
Static IP address on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
Static IP address on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
Configure your IP address by following our tutorial:



Install Software

The amount of software you can install on Ubuntu 20.04 is huge. You can install any software you like via the Ubuntu snap store. You can also use Software Manager or Command Line.

In this section, we also show you how to install third party codecs and extras and pay extra attention to installation of graphic card drivers.

Use Snap Store

For any new freshly Ubuntu 20.04 downloaded and installed systems the Ubuntu's snap store should be part of the system by default. However, for any upgraded Ubuntu 20.04 system you might need to install the Snap Store manually.

Make sure you also see the next section for recommendations of which software can be installed on Ubuntu 20.04.

Snap Store on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux Desktop
Snap Store on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux Desktop
To install Ubuntu Snap Store navigate to our guide:

Use Command Line and Software Manager

This section explores various software that you can install on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa in more detail.

There is a variety of things that can be installed on Ubuntu 20.04, hence we give some specific recommendations in our article Things to install on Ubuntu 20.04. We have divided all the software into such categories as desktops, browsers, email clients, communication and collaboration software, document editors, entertainment or scientific software.

We not only provide you with ideas of what can be installed but also link to tutorials that take you through the installation process.

Watching Netflix on Ubuntu 20.04
Watching Netflix on Ubuntu 20.04
To install software on Ubuntu 20.04 follow:



Install Third-Party Codecs & Extras

Due to copyright issues Ubuntu 20.04 does not provide a default access to various media codecs. You can, however, easily install them by opening your terminal and executing:
$ sudo apt install ubuntu-restricted-extras
With the Ubuntu Restricted Extras package installed you will be able to play MP3, MPEG4, AVI and some other media files.

Get the Most of your Graphic Card

Some of the Graphics Drivers you may wish to install on Ubuntu 20.04 is NVIDIA and AMD Radeon. In the article How to install the NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux we discuss various ways of installing this graphic driver. These include an automatic install using standard Ubuntu repository, an automatic install using PPA repository to install NVIDIA Beta drivers and a manual Install using the official Nvidia.com driver.

AMD graphic cards are well supported on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa. The default open source AMD Radeon Driver is installed and enabled. However, since the Ubuntu 20.04 is a long term support (LTS) release the AMD Radeon graphic card users have few AMD Radeon driver installation options to their disposal.

If you're planning on using an AMD graphics card with Ubuntu 20.04, we provide you with the install instructions in the article: AMD Radeon Ubuntu 20.04 Driver Installation.

If you are not sure you can easily check what graphics driver your system is currently using and what graphics card model is part of your system's hardware.

You may also be interested in CUDA, which is a parallel computing platform and application programming interface model created by Nvidia. It allows software developers and software engineers to use a CUDA-enabled graphics processing unit for general purpose processing.

Installed NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux
Installed NVIDIA drivers on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux. After installation, optionally run Nvidia graphic card test by following our Benchmark Your Graphics Card On Linux guide.
Find out how to install the drivers on Ubuntu 20.04 the by clicking on:

 


Protect System

This section's recommendations will make sure that your system is protected against vulnerabilities that may be exploited by hackers' malicious software.

Check for Updates

Ubuntu 20.04 contains a variety of software that are obtainable through its software repositories via mirrors accessible around the world. After installing Ubuntu 20.04 you can also install a range of tools available for Ubuntu 20.04 over the Internet. To do so, select the fastest Ubuntu repository mirror, which is the closest mirror to your current location.

To set the fastest Ubuntu repository mirror navigate to:

Software & Updates --> Ubuntu Software --> Download from --> Other --> Select Best Server

Ubuntu will automatically test all available package repository mirrors and will let you choose from the top responding servers.

It is crucial to regularly inspect your Ubuntu system for available updates, since keeping your system updated protects your device against vulnerabilities that may be exploited by hackers' malicious software. Some users may opt to disable automatic updates on Ubuntu 20.04 but we do not recommend this option if you are a beginner user.
A full list of upgradeable packages
A full list of upgradeable packages
You can find details on how to update Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa in our article How to Update Ubuntu packages on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa Linux. In this article we consider two ways of updating your system. That is, the command line and the graphical user interface method.
To follow our Ubuntu 20.04 update guide click on:

Enable Firewall

By default the UFW firewall is installed but disabled on Ubuntu 20.04. You may like to check you UFW status by using the

$ sudo ufw status
command.

To increase security of your desktop you may enable the UFW firewall from the command line or install gufw which is a graphical user interface for UFW.

How to enable/disable firewall on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa
How to enable/disable firewall on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal Fossa
To follow our Ubuntu 20.04 enable/disable guides click on:



Run System Backup

You can use Timeshift to create a full system backup snapshot of Ubuntu 20.04 system. Furthermore, we show you how to restore from your previously created backup snapshot.

Running Backup on Ubuntu 20.04
Running Backup on Ubuntu 20.04
To backup your system click on:

Organize Storage

In this section we will show you how to check disk space on Ubuntu 20.04 as well as how to sync Google drive and set up Dropbox on Ubuntu 20.04.

Check Disk Space

There are a few tools at your disposal for checking disk space on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa. These tools and commands can be used to check a hard drive's capacity and the size of the files on it, or just to check the size of a particular directory or file.

We'll show you how to get a visual representation of how the hard drive space is being used on your system, as well as a few commands that you can enter into the terminal to quickly find the stats you need.

See storage usage on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
See storage usage on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
To check disk space on Ubuntu 20.04 navigate to:

Sync Google Drive

Here we direct you to instructions on how to install online accounts, set up and sync Google drive and access Google Drive on Ubuntu 20.04.
Access Google Drive on Ubuntu 20.04
Access Google Drive on Ubuntu 20.04
To sync Google Drive navigate to:

Set up Dropbox

This section explains how to install Dropbox using a graphical user interface on Ubuntu 20.04 and how to integrate Dropbox with the GNOME desktop.
Dropbox on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
Dropbox on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
To set up Dropbox navigate to:



Test Devices

If you are using a webcam or microphone you should test these devices before the first use.

Test Webcam

The aim of this section is to show the reader a quick-start method on how to test a webcam on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa.
How to test webcam on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
How to test webcam on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
To test a webcam navigate to:

Test Microphone

You can also easily test your microphone on Ubuntu 20.04.
How to test microphone on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
How to test microphone on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa
To test your micorophone navigate to:

Share Desktop Remotely

In this section we will show you how to set up a remote desktop on Ubuntu 20.04.

Remote desktop is here the Ubuntu 20.04 system feature that allows your desktop environment to be run remotely on one operating system while being displayed on a different client device.

Ubuntu 20.04 Server/Client

We will first consider Ubuntu 20.04 server/client remote desktop.

Ubuntu 20.04 Remote Desktop Setup
Ubuntu 20.04 Remote Desktop Setup
To set up server/client Ubuntu 20.04 remote desktop navigate to:

Windows 10 Client

We will even show you how to easily share an Ubuntu 20.04 desktop with a Windows 10 client.

Ubuntu 20.04 Remote Desktop Access from Windows 10
Ubuntu 20.04 Remote Desktop Access from Windows 10
To share an Ubuntu 20.04 desktop with Windows 10 client navigate to:

These are all our recommendations. If you think this article is missing an important thing to do after installing Ubuntu 20.04 or you find an error please send your feedback to our forum using the comments and discussion section on the bottom of this page.

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