How to set up your computer with Linux
Whether you use a Linux distribution as your primary operating system, or have it installed alongside Windows in dual-boot, even though it tends to be quite self-sufficient in that it takes care of itself and is infinitely more malware-free than Lord windows, there are always things you can take care of so your computer stays sharp.
In addition, there are tasks that only a user who cares about their affairs tends to perform, many of which can prevent future headaches. So, you better start the year doing a little maintenance and putting everything in order, because there are things that neither Linux can handle alone.
Apologies in advance to those who do not use a distribution based on Debian / Ubuntu, because most of these tools and instructions will be dedicated to such distros because they are the most common and we have tried everything. However, many things have their equivalent and can work in a similar way, and in general, the advice apply to anyone with a computer, use whatever system.
Check health of your discs
There are many ways to check the status of hard disks or SSDs installed on your computer. This is a task that you should do with some frequency so that you are aware of some failure and you can find a solution before it is too late and all your files go to the beyond.
One of the simplest tools you can use is smartmontools . By typing some commands into your terminal you can check a lot of information about the health of your hard drive and even start to monitor and perform automatic tests.
Smartmontools is located in the Ubuntu repositories, so you can use it in any derived distro by opening a console and typing:
sudo apt install smartmontools
You can try a quick command like:
sudo smartctl -a /dev/sdato quickly parse a partition. Or, you can write
smartctl -hso that the terminal shows you all the available options.
If you want to learn more about this tool, you can read the official documentation online.
If you do not like to walk by writing commands in the terminal, there is a simple tool with a graphical interface that basically does the same thing and is called Gnome Disks. To install it find it in your software center or simply open a terminal and type:
sudo apt install gnome-disk-utility
Once installed, you should appear in your list of applications as “Disks”. Run the program and the list of your drives and partitions will appear. Select the one you want to evaluate and then click the nut button on the top right. You can test drive performance or start SMART testing.
The latter may not be compatible with very old disks, and are capable of evaluating the rate of read and search errors, those that have the disk on, have a counter of sectors relocated, shows the unit temperature of the unit (should not exceed 45 – 50 ° C), and shows the G-sense error rate.
Another good idea that you should never get out of your head, is to constantly make backups of your files and documents . But if you plan to upgrade your distro to a new version or want to move to another family, you may want to save your settings and applications as well. For this there is no better utility than Aptik.
If yours goes beyond simply copying files from the Home folder to an external medium, Aptik Migration Utility lets you migrate all settings, data, applications, themes, icons, directories, repositories, and even tasks scheduled in any distro Based on Ubuntu.
To install Aptik open a terminal and type:
sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install aptik
When you start the program you will see a list of all the things you can backup and then restore. It is ideal if you want to do a completely clean installation of your distro and do not want to go through the tedious process of configuring your applications and preferences again.
If you already made a backup and verified that everything is working well, including discs, it is a good time to update your system. While most distros tell you constantly when updates are available, there are too many who postpone them.
Take advantage and open your update manager and start the process. If you plan to upgrade the version of the distro and you fear that something will break in the process, especially if you have more than one version ahead, it is a good idea to back it up with Aptik and reinstall the system completely.
Sometimes our distro works very well, but with a more current kernel would work better. If you just want to update your kernel in a very simple and novice-proof way, I present the Ukuu tool. It was created by the same person behind Aptik and is equally efficient and easy to use.
This utility is compatible with Ubuntu and derivatives. What it does is compile the list of available kernels in kernel.ubuntu.com and show notifications when an update is available. Ukuu downloads and installs packages automatically.
To install it, open a terminal and type:
sudo apt-add-repository -y ppa:teejee2008/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install ukuu
The hard disk space does not distinguish between operating systems, and the price of SSDs either. In the case of the latter it is always ideal that they have at least 20 to 25% of the free space order to function optimally and at maximum speed. If you have too much SSD it will take longer to perform the operations.
Freeing up disk space can be as simple as emptying the trash, deleting files we do not use, or backing up what we do not need to store on the computer all the time and thus make room for new things.
Delete what you do not use
Most distributions come with a good bundle of default applications that serve to perform most of the basic tasks a user needs. However, in many cases you do not even use 50% of them, so open that software center and start eliminating unwanted programs.
It would also be a good time to remove repositories that you do not use or that no longer work , this will not free up space, but if annoying errors when updating the system. You can use the command
sudo add-apt-repository —remove ppa:nombre-ppa/ppa
If you use Chrome take advantage and do a little cleaning. Open the browser and in the address bar type
chrome://settings/clearBrowserData, select delete stored items to the origin of the times and check all the boxes. That, or choose the ones that you prefer, only that first thing is more drastic and fun.
If you use Firefox, open the browser and paste the following in the address bar:,
about:preferences:#privacy press Enter and you will be in front of the privacy options. From there you can delete browsing history and all cookies.
And, now go clean the mouse and the keyboard, which must be very dirty.
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