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I'm looking to customize different aspects of ubuntu and really don't know where to start any help will be appreciated.

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Most of them are in /etc, though some—perhaps the login screen stuff—will not be. I would suggest a) being more specific, and b) asking multiple specific questions, such as "where are the login screen settings" and "how to set the grub background." – zpletan Jun 11 '12 at 5:26
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Ubuntu Tweak is a very nice and powerful tool to configure system settings.

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