Things to do after installing elementary OS – luna


  1. Introducing the “Terminal”
  2. Update your system
  3. Enabling Canonical/partner software repositories
  4. Display hidden auto-start entries
  5. Install elementary tweaks and 3rd party community applications
  6. Installing file archiving resources
  7. Install multimedia codecs
  8. Apple iTunes compatibility codec
  9. Enable DVD Support
  10. Install Microsoft core fonts
  11. Check your video graphics card is supported
  12. Learn some common keyboard shortcuts



After installing elementary OS luna and you have familiarized yourself with its out of the box features, you might be wondering what to do next.  That is what this article is all about.  The elementarynow guide to “Things to do after installing elementary OS” is a series of “how to” instructions, some of them essential some of them optional.  We view these articles as a “one stop shop” that enable you to enjoy your elementary experience and avoid certain frustration, especially if you are fresh from a Windows or OSx background.

Lets get started…..

ico-terminalIntroducing the “Terminal”

Some of the “how to” guides we share at elementarynow require the use of a small but powerful application called “Terminal“.  This application can be accessed from your applications menu (Slingshot) or by using the keyboard shortcut [CTRL]-[ALT]-[T]. You will be sometimes asked to copy lines of code from our tutorials and paste or type them into the terminal.

Important for beginners

  • Some commands take a second to run, others can vary depending on the speed of your internet connection and the size of the software package you are installing
  • Be aware that when typing into the Terminal  – commands are always case sensitive. Make sure you type in the case we present.
  • When required to enter your password you type it on one character space, the cursor does not move – (this is for security reasons, so other people don’t see your password or its length).
  • Most commands we share require some attention when you run them, you might be asked to press the enter key to continue or “Do you wish to continue? Y or N”.

system-software-updateUpdate your System

Strange as in may seem after completing the installation of a new operating system that the first thing you do is to update your system.

How to

Go to your applications menu selects System Tools > Update Manager (when in category mode) or just Update Manager when in grid mode. Select the Check button then when ready Install Updates. On a few occasions you will be asked reboot your computer.

…or by using the  terminal

To do this – open the Terminal [CTRL]-[ALT]-[T] and paste the follow line(s) then press enter

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Enabling canonical/partner software repositories

If you are planning to install additional 3rd Party software from the Ubuntu Software Center (recommended) you must enable access to their repositories. To do this….

Open Software Center from the Applications menu (“Slingshot”) and select “Edit” and then select “Software Sources”
Make sure the following options are checked

  • Canonical Partners
  • Canonical Partners (Source Code)
  • Independent
  • Independent (Source Code)

then repeat the “Update Your System” instruction” above

Recommend reading:
  1. Using and understanding software repositories and PPA’s
  2. Popular 3rd party software applications to get you started

Display hidden auto-start entries

Each time you start elementary OS there are applications and processes that auto-start in the background. You can manage and find these by navigating to System Settings (Switchboard) >> Start-up Applications.

When you first install elementary OS these entries are hidden. To reveal them run the following command in the terminal

sudo sed -i 's/NoDisplay=true/NoDisplay=false/g' /etc/xdg/autostart/*.desktop

ico-settingsInstall elementary tweaks and 3rd Party Community Applications

How to install and use elementary tweaks is explained in detail in our Customizing your elementary desktop article. elementary tweaks is only one of many applications hosted in the community software repository designed specifically for elementary OS.

You can review a list of other available packages by clicking this link.  To install any of these application simply type:

sudo apt-get install [package-name]

before  installing any application from this source  you must add and update the community repository. Do this by running  the following line in the terminal

sudo apt-add-repository ppa:versable/elementary-update && sudo apt-get update

Install file archiving resources

File archives come in many forms in Linux and entering the command below will cover all your bases for archive extraction/decompression

open the Terminal [CTRL]-[ALT]-[T] and paste (all one line) then press enter

sudo apt-get install unace rar unrar p7zip-rar p7zip zip unzip sharutils uudeview mpack lha arj cabextract file-roller

 Install these codecs for your multimedia

Cover all your bases by installing these (“probably more that you need”) codecs for your multimedia.

Open the Terminal [CTRL]-[ALT]-[T] and paste (all one line) then hit enter

sudo apt-get install flashplugin-installer gsfonts-x11 libxine1-ffmpeg gxine mencoder mpeg2dec vorbis-tools id3v2 mpg321 mpg123 libflac++6 ffmpeg totem-mozilla icedax tagtool easytag id3tool lame nautilus-script-audio-convert libmad0 libjpeg-progs flac faac faad sox ffmpeg2theora libmpeg2-4 uudeview flac libmpeg3-1 mpeg3-utils mpegdemux liba52-0.7.4-dev libquicktime2 gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg gstreamer0.10-fluendo-mp3 gstreamer0.10-gnonlin gstreamer0.10-sdl gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad-multiverse gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad gstreamer0.10-plugins-ugly totem-plugins-extra gstreamer-dbus-media-service gstreamer-tools ubuntu-restricted-extras

 itunesApple iTunes compatibility codec

Conditional: If you have a big Apple iTunes music library, you will need a codec called libavcodec-extra-53 in order to play your music files. In order for this to work, your music files must not be DRM protected. You also must have access to these from that same machine.

Open the Terminal [CTRL]-[ALT]-[T] and paste the following line

sudo apt-get install libavcodec-extra-53

dvd-logoTo enable dvd support

Open the Terminal [CTRL]-[ALT]-[T] and paste the following lines.

sudo apt-get install libdvdread4
sudo /usr/share/doc/libdvdread4/

Microsoft font compatibility

Installs Microsoft Core Fonts (Arial,Times New Roman and  many more). This is proprietary software and you will be asked to accept the EULA license. To do this when it is presented hit your tab key once and and hit enter to accept.

sudo apt-get install ttf-mscorefonts-installer

Check your video graphics card is supported

Sometimes open source software for video graphics cards can cause some issues and this is worth checking. Follow the steps below Check and install any available drivers for your computer. (only install with labelled recommended)

open the Terminal [CTRL]-[ALT]-[T] and paste

gksu jockey-gtk

If there are no available drivers you need to check if your driver is supported. If you do not know which video card your machine uses check by using this command

lspci | grep VGA

Check your card is supported

Intel : check here
AMD/ATI: check here
Nvidia: click here

If you are not sure what to do from here, go to the elementarynow forum and someone will guide you through the process.

Give as much information about your video card as possible for a quicker resolution

Learn some common keyboard shortcuts

Some keyboard shortcuts are important to learn and master.

  • Ctrl + T – Open a new tab in Files
  • Ctrl + Alt + T – Starts terminal
  • Alt + Tab – Switch between apps that are opened
  • Superkay + A – Show all windows on every desktop
  • Superkey + W – Show all windows on the current desktop
  • Superkey + Tab – Switch between desktops (in order they are used)
  • Superkey + directional arrows – Switch between desktops
  • Superkey + 1,2,3,4,5 … – Switch between desktops



Click here to post a comment

  • Thanks for these.

    In “Install flash on Midori”, in what folder/directory do we save the script?

    Mine just went automatically to downloads and I get “No such file or directory” when I try the install flash command.

    • Hi etim, yes you do save it. The idea is you u create a text file using scratch (paste the script as displayed and name and save the file. If you you saved it to your downloads folder the you need to cd /Downloads before running the command.

      As an FYI we plan to improve that tutorial in the coming days. elementarynow will create and host the text file for readers to download, rather than asking you to create it yourself

    • etim, we actually pulled that instruction from the article and we will re-introduce again when we can make it less complex for new users

      In the meantime to explain: You do not need to save the script permanently on your computer Just put it in a place that will allow you to run the ./imstall.. command once.
      You need to navigate to the place you saved it. I made an assumption you put it in your Downloads folder and “cd /Downloads” is the way to navigate there to run the command.

  • It is my bad for copying and pasting commands from a website,but the multimedia codecs is significantly more that all I will ever need. (In fairness you did mention that would probably be the case.) Elementary is meant to be a lightweight system. The idea is too keep the stuff you don’t need off of your computer. Isn’t installing both xine and gstreamer redundant? Also what is up with the tagging tools? Isn’t Ubuntu-restricted-extras enough?

    Again, my own fault- but I am interested in knowing the rationale behind installing so much more than just codecs. 🙁

    • A few notes: For installing multimedia codecs the Ubuntu-restricted-extras is everything that you are likely to need.

      Overall, however, this site is shaping up nicely. It is exciting to see how the Elementary project is picking up steam. I finally feel like gtk3 has found a home for desktop users. Cinnamon is good, but Elementary is better.


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