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· 4 min read


Recently, my Dell XPS has been running slower after each Windows 10 update. Every interactions on my Dell, like opening a web browser, feels sluggish and laggy. Having tried Ubuntu on older computers earlier, I have set my eyes on a light-weight operating system that combines speed and performance together.

What is Xubuntu?

Xubuntu is an open source GNU/Linux Operating System (OS) that prides itself in portability, performance and good user experience. It is also a different "flavour", or derivative of the open source operating system Ubuntu. Xubuntu's notable feature is its desktop environment XFCE that is light-weight. Its sibling, LXDE or LXQt is also another great alternative available in the derivative OS Lubuntu.

Xubuntu packs basic tools and applications for daily usage that are always free to use. The basic set of applications provide great Graphic User Interface (GUI) for anyone who is not familiar with using command lines in a terminal.

Since my workflow involves a lot of text editing, web browsing, and some light web development, I know Xubuntu can accommodate them well. In fact, after a period of usage, I have noticed that Xubuntu allows my computer to pick up my workflow much faster than Windows 10.

Preview Xubuntu on a live USB

Most Linux OSes, like Ubuntu and its derivatives or the Arch-based Manjaro, often allow live preview before installing. I reccommend running the preview version upon booting the computer to scout for potential compatibility problems. My test on the preview version showed no issues. I could interact with the OS the same way in Windows. For example, opening applications by double clicking the icons, or playing songs on my computer.

To preview Xubuntu on a computer, do the following:

  1. Download the official Xubuntu ISO image. Choose the suitable versions that you'd like to run. Ubuntu and its variants/ flavours like Xubuntu all release a latest version and a long-term support (LTS) version.
  2. Use Rufus to create a bootable USB. You can follow Ubuntu's guide on creating a bootable USB on Windows.
  3. Press F2 to boot into BIOS mode. Press it as soon as the keyboard's backlit light is turned on.
  4. Check if UEFI is enabled and Secure Boot is disabled in BIOS.
  5. Select the bootable USB to start previewing Xubuntu > Click Live preview.
  6. Try replicating tasks in your workflow and see if something doesn't work.

Install Xubuntu

Once I was satisfied with testing in the preview version, I proceeded to install Xubuntu on my Dell XPS.

To install Xubuntu, do the following:

  1. Select install Xubuntu on your computer.

  2. Choose between dual booting or a full Xubuntu install, which will reformat all data on the current disk.

  3. Enjoy your new Xubuntu!

Post-Installation Checklist

I had to tweak a few things to get Xubuntu up and running smoothly.

Enable Wifi

Wifi doesn't work on my Xubuntu out of the box. I did the following to enable Wifi again:

  1. Open Software & Updates > Additional Drivers tab.
  2. The window should display the proprietary driver for Wifi, which is the "Broadcom Inc. and subsidiaries: BCM4352 802.11ac Wireless Network Adapter".
  3. Click Using Broadcom 802.11 Linux STA wireless driver source from bcmwl-kernel-source (proprietary).
  4. Click Apply Changes.

Change the time to the correct timezone

I have realized that my Dell XPS's BIOS clock is set to local time, instead of UTC time, which prevents Xubuntu from displaying the correct time. Windows 10 set the BIOS clock to local time, which interferes with how other OSes set time.

Since the BIOS clock is set to local time, Xubuntu attempts to convert the local time to the timezone specified in its settings, which will display the wrong time. To fix this, set the BIOS clock to UTC and let Xubuntu convert it to local time. The following solution fixed the issue for me:

  1. Restart computer, then press F2 when the Dell logo appears.
  2. Click General > Date/Time.
  3. Change the current time to UTC time.
  4. Restart your computer.
  5. Check Xubuntu's date/time settings and make sure the Time and Date application sets the correct local time zone.

· 4 min read

If you are using a Xubuntu distribution, check out this short list of essential terminal commands for managing files and folders.


  • Xubuntu installed on the computer.
  • Access to Terminal or other command line/ shell application that can interact with the OS.
  • Access to root (administrative) permissions, in case you need to execute an action as an administrator/ root user.


  • Directory: the current path to the folder. If you look at your file manager's path, it would show a line: /path/folder/subfolder and the available files in the folder.
  • Terminal: a type of command line application that accepts text input and process it, then displays the information in plain text. cmd on windows is a type of command line application much like Terminal. The difference is in what kind of command can be executed in each program and platform.

File Directory

Using the following command lines, you can freely manipulate and navigate between files and folders using only keyboard, instead of graphic user interface and mouse. The following commands belong to the GNU's [coreutil]( package that is included in most Linux distributions like Ubuntu, Debian.

The terminal will execute commands and modify files based on the current directory. You can check the current directory by looking at the input line.

File Navigation

Navigate to a folder: cd

$ cd Documents
# you are now in the Documents directory. See the Manipulation section to start editing files and folers
/Documents $

View all available files: ls

$ ls
Desktop Downloads Documents

View all available and hidden files: ls -a

$ ls -a
. Downloads Desktop Documents
.. .emacs.d .pki .thunderbird
.bash_history .gitconfig .profile
.bashrc .ICEauthority .purpl

File Management

Create a file: touch filename

# view available files in the current directory
$ ls
# create a new file using touch
$ touch todo.txt
# viewing all files again. We see the new file created in the current directory
$ ls
notes.txt todo.txt

Remove files: rm filename

# remove a file in the current director
$ rm filename
# outputs a prompt in the terminal to confirm deletion
$ rm -i filename
# delete files recursively, including any subfolders and items contained in a parent folder
$ rm -rf foldername

Move one file from one folder to the other folder: mv filename ./path-to-new-folder

# View all available files in the current directory
$ ls
. .. Documents contract.pdf
# Move the PDF file into the Documents folder
$ mv contract.pdf ./Documents
# Change directory into the Documents folder and we'll see the moved PDF file
$ cd Documents
. .. contract.pdf

Copy: cp filename directory

# Create a copy file and move it into the specified path to the directory
$ cp ./Documents
# was duplicated
$ cd Documents
$ ls
. ..

Rename a file: mv -T currentfilename newfilename

You can use the same mv command to rename a file by following the syntax below:

# view all available files in the current folder
$ ls
# you can use mv to rename a file, using the flag -T
mv -T note-123.txt my-note.txt
# the file was renamed
$ ls

If you need a graphic user interface (GUI) for managing files, you can invoke the file manager's GUI in the current directory with a dot, like this:

# This will open the Thunar file manager GUI in the current directory
$ thunar .
# VS Code will open files in the current directory
$ code .

Create a folder mkdir

# Creates a folder called Music
$ mkdir Music
# The folder Music is created in the current directory
$ ls
. .. Music

Delete a folder rmdir

# Removes a folder called Music
$ rmdir Music
# The folder Music is deleted in the current directory
$ ls
. ..

Further Reading

The following articles provide additional commands that you can use in Xubuntu terminal for more advanced tasks:

Read more about the GNU coreutils package included in Xubuntu. It is a very comprehensive documentation of command lines and programs bundled: