Getting started with Ubuntu: the essentials

A more elegant option is to use Windows 7’s disk-management features to create a third partition alongside your Windows and Ubuntu partitions.

Getting started with Ubuntu: the essentials

You can use the Libraries feature of Windows 7 to include files stored in folders here in your Windows Music, Documents and Video libraries, and then use Symbolic Links – the Ubuntu equivalent of shortcuts – to link to the same folders from within Ubuntu.

To do this, navigate to the folder, right-click on it and select Make Link, then drag the new link to the relevant folder in the Ubuntu file system. Copying a link from a shared Music folder to Ubuntu’s Music Folder (Places | Music), for instance, will ensure that the content appears in your Rhythmbox library.

Sync your browsers

If you’re using Firefox or Chrome on both systems, there’s no need to import anything. Go to Chrome in your Windows system, click on the spanner icon and select Preferences. Click on the Personal Stuff tab and then on the Setup Sync button. Choose which elements
you want synced. Now repeat the process on your Ubuntu system.

Everything from the theme you use to installed apps can be synchronised.

Everything from the theme you use to installed apps can be synchronised

The same trick works with Firefox, provided you’ve downloaded and installed either the Firefox 4 beta or the free Firefox Sync add-on. On your Windows PC, sign into the service, copy the sync key the program provides, then go to your Linux system, sign in and enter the sync key.

Migrate your mail and contacts from Outlook

You can Export Outlook data as a PST file using Outlook’s Import/Export wizard, then import it into Evolution, the Ubuntu email client, using the File | Import command.

If you use nested folders to keep your mail and contacts organised, however, things get more complicated, as Evolution will struggle to parse the different folders. One way round this is to download and use a tool called readPST, which takes the Outlook PST data and spits it out in separate mbox files that Evolution can read.

The easiest way, however, is to use the Thunderbird email client as an intermediary. Simply install the latest version on Windows and use the Import wizard to import your email and contacts from Outlook. Then check where Thunderbird stores your mail – it should be in C:usersapplication datathunderbirdprofiles.

You can copy the entire contents of this Thunderbird profiles folder to an external hard disk or USB stick, then paste the whole shebang into the folder /home//.evolution/mail/local. You may need to go to View | Show Hidden Files from the Nautilus top menu to see this.
Now when you start the Evolution application it will automatically import all your mail and contacts.

Update Ubuntu

Ubuntu’s own Update Manager (which can be found at System | Administration | Update Manager) handles all the updates for your OS and applications, and you can use the Settings tab to select how often it checks for updates and which packages it handles.

When a new version of Ubuntu is released, you’ll get a button in the Update Manager, which you simply click to upgrade. If this doesn’t appear, click on the Settings button, then the Updates tab and make sure that the “Show new distribution releases” option at the bottom is set to Normal Releases.

Be warned, however: updates can take a seriously long time and cripple your system while they’re being installed. If you don’t have a multicore processor or the fastest and most reliable web connection, save the operation for a quiet time of day.

Configure displays for a dual-screen setup

If you have dual monitors, in some cases you can simply go to System | Preferences | Monitors, then hit the Detect Monitors button. Select both monitors from the list and click OK, then ensure that the Mirror option is unchecked and click Apply. If you need to, you can drag the monitor icons so they’re in the correct left and right positions, or you can change the individual display settings for each.

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