A Simple User Guide For Ubuntu Oneiric

Ubuntu Oneiric, while added much improvements to its Unity desktop, also brought lot of changes that make it more confusing and difficult to use. Users who have come from previous version of Ubuntu will find that some of their favourite applications are missing and replaced with another application that is either more resource intensive or more difficult to use. New users will also be confused where they can find all their applications and system settings. In this tutorial, we provide a simple user guide to help you familiarize with Ubuntu Oneiric.

1. How to Add/Remove Applications to/from the Launcher Bar

The launcher bar comes with a set of default launchers that you may not have use for. To remove application from the launcher bar, simply right-click on its icon and uncheck “Keep in launcher”.


To add application to the launcher bar, first open the application, then right-click on its icon and select “Keep in launcher”. You can drag and rearrange the icons to the order of your preferences.

2. How to open an application in Unity desktop

Unlike the old Gnome desktop, there is no Applications menu at the top panel where you can click to launch the application you want. To open an application in Unity desktop, you have to search for it.

The default method:

Click on the first icon on the launcher bar (or press “Super” button) to access the Dash. Search for your application by typing its name in the search field. Select the application and Press Enter.

Alternatively, you can click on the Application icon at the bottom of the Dash (second from left) and scroll through the list of application until you found the app you want.


Alternative method 1: Install Classicmenu indicator

The ClassicMenu Indicator is a third-party appindicator that brings the classic Gnome menu back. To install:

Run ClassicMenu indicator from Dash. You should be able to access your applications from the system tray now.

Alternative method 2: use quick launcher app like Gnome Do or Synapse

Quick Launcher app like Gnome Do or Synapse allows you to open your application very quickly. You just have to press a hotkey (Ctrl + Space) to activate the search box and you can quickly search for the app you want.

3. How to Add Quicklist to the Launcher in the Launcher Bar

Quicklists are the list of options when you right-click on an icon in the Launcher Bar. For example, when you right-click on the folder icon, you can quickly access your Home, Documents, Music and various folders that you have added to bookmarks.

Follow the instructions here to add quicklist to the launcher.

4. How to Configure the Unity Desktop

The default installation of Ubuntu Oneiric doesn’t come with any option to configure the Unity desktop. You can, however, install CompizConfig Settings Manager to access the configuration menu.

Once installed, run the app and scroll down the list till you see the Ubuntu Unity Plugin. Click on it. From here, you can configure the behaviour of the launcher, the shortcut key, the switcher and some experimental features.


If you are using an old computer that doesn’t support Compiz, most probably you are running Unity 2D instead of the usual Unity desktop. To configure Unity 2D, you have to install dconf-tools by clicking here or use the following command in the terminal:

Next, in the terminal, type:

Navigate to Desktop -> Unity. You can find several configuration options here.

5. How to Restore Synaptic package Manager

The useful and popular Synaptic Package Manager was removed from Ubuntu Oneiric in favour of Ubuntu Software Center. Luckily you can easily restore it by installing the Synaptic application. Click here to install Synaptic Package Manager or type the following command in the terminal:

6. How to install .deb File Without Using Ubuntu Software Center

Ubuntu Natty and Oneiric open the Ubuntu Software Center when you double-click to install any .deb file. As USC is quite resource-intensive, the whole installation process is often very slow. A faster and quicker way is to use the gdebi package to manage your deb file. Click here to install or type the following command in the terminal:

Once installed, right-click on any deb file and select Properties. Go to the “Open With” tab and select gdebi as the default application. That’s it. Whenever you double-click to install a deb file, the gdebi package installer will open up instead of Ubuntu Software Center.

7. How to Change Login Screen Background

To change the background of the login screen (LightDM), open a terminal and type:

At the field starting with “background=…“, change the background path to your favourite wallpaper. Leave everything else untouched.


Once done, press “Ctrl + O” follow by Enter. Lastly, press “Ctrl + X” to exit.

Log out. You should see your new login background in action.

8. How to Restart Ubuntu Oneiric

If you have noticed, there is no “Restart” option at the Power menu. You can only Logout, Shut Down, Suspend or Hibernate. What if you need to Restart your PC? Fret not, the “Restart” option is integrated with the Shut Down option. Click the Shut Down option and you will be able to select between Restart or Shut Down in the popup window.


9. How to Restore Gnome Classic

If you don’t like the Unity desktop, you can switch back to the classic Gnome desktop.

Log out and choose “Gnome Classic” in the login screen.

Note: The Gnome Classic is running on the Gnome 3 platform, so don’t expect everything to be the same as the old Gnom

Damien Damien

Damien Oh started writing tech articles since 2007 and has over 10 years of experience in the tech industry. He is proficient in Windows, Linux, Mac, Android and iOS, and worked as a part time WordPress Developer. He is currently the owner and Editor-in-Chief of Make Tech Easier.


  1. The worst thing I have ever seen happen to any linux 
    Had easily figured out how to use previous versions of Linux – I think they called it intuitiveis my computer a phone now ?? and what happened to the programs an install used to have

  2. I really love Unity! In 11.04 it was not that great, but in 11.10 it rocks!
    Also, the new USC in 11.10 is much more lightweight and installing software litterally flies here (even from without the repos).

  3. OMG Ubuntu!!
     We need a guide on how to rename files and folders in nautilus because I have never seen something so confusing. They behave in a different way every time I click on them in different places or press F2 to rename them or choose rename from the context menu.  Why did they change it to something worse, more confusing and more difficult to use??

    It is hard time the owner column, in the Nautilus file explorer, shows the user only and not the description of the user beside. There should be a different colum to show the description and/or it should be shown when you examine the file’s properties.
    The user’s home folder should never be called “home” . A home folder inside a home folder??

    I wonder how long does it take you to resize 10 windows from the top margin. Let’s see who can do it faster.
    How long does it take you to know who is the user in a graphic terminal now that you don’t have the name written in the top panel. Couldn’t they put it somewhere else but in a place where you can see it quickly?

    Nautilus continues to be the worst designed applications, yet the central application.
    And you still can’t have the recently opened documents in a list every time you go to open or save a file.

    1. 1. For me, I have no problems renaming files in Nautilus. The F2 button or context rename option are quite consistent.

      2. The user folder has been called Home all the while, but I understand where you are coming from. There is a Home folder under the root directory and a username folder in Home, and most of us refer this username folder as the Home, so it is rather confusing here.

      3. Resizing is never an easy task in Gnome. I have even came up with an article on quickly resize window in Gnome

      Nautilus is never the best file manager in Linux. But in term of integration with Gnome, it is considered the best.

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