Guest post by Nick Sotos .

Ubuntu is currently rocking as a personal computer OS utility program. Owned and perfected by the South African entrepreneur, Mark Shuttleworth, it is currently distributed as free and open source software with free license to use, improve and distribute it at will. Its amazing features, speed and wonderful customization facilities will almost make a rookie want to climb the mountains with no gear at all. Such excitement confirms its unique performance compared to other major OS programs out there; which explain why it is sponsored by Canonical Ltd, a UK-based company.

Using Ubuntu is very simple and easy, but just like every other software program, it starts from installation. Installing this program is fun and is a simple, self explanatory process; click the link for download and directions: http://www.ubuntu.com/download/ubuntu/download

Now that you have downloaded and installed Ubuntu, here are the six steps you need to take to super-charge its usage.

1. Customize panel

After installing Ubuntu, you will discover that it comes with two panels; a top panel and a bottom panel. If you are like me, you will want to customize and keep only one panel. If this is so, then you need to delete any of the panels you don’t want. I prefer using the top panel so I would delete the bottom panel. To do so, right-click on the panel you want to delete and select “Delete This Panel” from the displayed options.

You can also move the panel to the bottom, just right-click and select “Add to Panel”. Down the menu, you will see “Windows List”, select and click “Add”. Now you need to replace the Menu Bar. To do this, right-click on “Menu Bar” and select “Remove From Panel”. Go back to the panel, right-click and select Add to Panel. From the displayed options select “Main Menu” and click “Add”. From here you can choose items; Right-click on each item, like Firefox and others, and unselect the “Lock to Panel” option next to it. Then shift the added Main Menu to the far left by right-clicking on it and selecting Move.

2. Move window control buttons to the right

Once you launch Ubuntu, you may find the Minimize, Maximize and Close buttons to the left of the window. It is ideal to want them by the right instead. This can be down through the Application control window. Use Alt+F2 to bring up the “Run Application” window. Once it is up, type gconf-editor in the provided box and click “Run”. This will bring you to the Configuration Editor interface. Browse from apps to metacity and lastly general, look for “button_layout”; you will find this by the right panel. Change the value in the layout from close,minimize,maximize: to menu:minimize,maximize,close. When you are done press the Enter key on your keyboard.

3. Hide drive icons on the desktop

When you attach any removable drive to your PC, Ubuntu sees and creates an icon for that drive on your desktop. You can hide these icons through the Application control window. Again use the Alt+F2 to bring up the “Run Application” window. Type gconf-editor in the provided box and click “Run” for the Configuration Editor. Browse through apps, nautilus and finally desktop. From here unselect the “volume_visible” and close the window. While the drive icons will no longer appear on the desktop, all attached drives remain accessible from “Places”.

4. Enable media playback

By default, Ubuntu is a completely free OS with no initial configuration for proprietary media formats. To configure these media properties, double click on a media file, like an mp3 folder. As soon as the default player comes up with a “Search for suitable plugin?” window, click on the “Search” button and then on Install and on Confirm buttons. These will download and install the software. Then restart the player after the installation and use.

5. Manually mount a USB Drive

By default, Ubuntu mounts all attached USB devices automatically. However, if for any reason this doesn’t happen automatically, you can do it manually by following these steps. Browse through Applications>Accessories>Terminal. Create a mount point, usb, by entering sudo mkdir/media/usb followed by sudofdisk -1 which will search for the plugged USB. If for instance you are looking to mount a drive say, /dev/sdb l, then enter sudo mount -t vfat /dev/sdb1 /media/usb -o uid=1000,gid=100,utf8,dmask=027,fmask=137; if the drive is formatted with FAT16 or FAT32 or sudo mount -t ntfs-3g /dev/sdb1 /media/usb; if the drive is formatted with NTFS system.

6. Install extra fonts

For personal reasons, some people prefer the Windows True Type fonts to the default font type that come with Ubuntu. You can get these font features without giving up the cool features of Ubuntu. Just browse through applications, to accessories and finally to Terminal, type sudo apt-get install ttf-mscorefonts-installer in the terminal. Browse through System, Preferences, Appearance and then to Fonts. From here you can pick fonts and size to customize for window title.

Being reluctant as expected while getting a freeware software program, Ubuntu rookies will have noticed that the freeware concept behind Ubuntu is not due to inefficiency but based on the philosophy of extending humanity towards others.

This was a guest post by Nick Sotos. He is the owner of blog offering coupons and promo codes for outdoor merchants such as Rocky Mountain Trail Coupon. Also, you can find Reviews and Tips for outdoor activities and equipment.


Raju is the founder-editor of Technology Personalized. A proud geek and an Internet freak, who is also a social networking enthusiast. You can follow him on Facebook and on Twitter. Mail Raju PP. Follow rajupp