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I'm new to the world of Linux & don't know all the fancy words.

I was using Ubuntu 12.04 on my laptop HP Envy 4 1046TX and had issues like battery draining out fast, excessive heating, Undue CPU usage....

A friend of mine suggested that I install Ubuntu minimal and install all the components that I require. Now, I have a little problem understanding how I can do that.

  1. First of all, minimal installer only gives me a terminal, right? So, how do I add up the applications I need?

  2. Second, how do I find drivers that are specifically meant for my machine? If I stuff up all the drivers standard install comes with then I believe the problem battery overuse will persist !

I also observed that there is an MD5 given with every ISO in minimal ISO page. What does that mean? Please take me as a novice and explain in simplest way possible.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Welcome to Ubuntu ! Will answer you one by one, starting with simple ones !

  • What is MD5
    This is an algorithm used to verify the consistency of your download. There are chances that during download the file may not get properly downloaded.
    Just to verify that the file now on your desktop is exactly the same as on the server, you calculate the its Hash (MD5).
    This is a alphanumeric string corresponding to a file, which is unique to it. If your MD5 string matches with the one on the publisher's website, then you have a proper download !

  • Terminal in Minimal Install
    A minimal install of ubuntu is a bootable CD with file size of ~35MB
    This CD contains only the most essential files which merely boots up the system to and talk to your LAN port (RJ-45) with generic drivers.
    Once you are here, system requires active internet connection, and downloads freshest of the files and the end result is that you have a system with a potent terminal giving you complete control of your system.
    NOTE: This can't be done with any USB modem/Dongle !

Now to install the packages you need, you have 2 choices; use either of the utilities you wish to

  • via aptitude
    This is almost a graphical installes, displaying you all the installed and available for installation packages. just expand the sub-categories and select all that you need!
    sudo aptitude in terminal will take you to aptitude menu !

  • via apt-get (recommended)
    This is more powerful method and most of the ubuntuers use this..
    It is beyond the scope of this answer to explain all the possibilities of apt-get, and unlike aptitude it's not possible to play around apt-get as noob ! However this might help you kickstart !

NOTE: No matter whatever you use, in the end the installations are handled by [dpkg][4] which you might learn if really super interested & a geek !

  • As a noob you may use a very powerful application "tasksel" which will help you install the packages (even a complete desktop env. or powerful LAMP server); and you don't have to bother about any of the packages dependencies.
    Moreover this has the power to auto configure itself according to the system you are using! LINUX is intelligent !
    This question points how to achieve tasksel and use it !

  • Also, post launch of unity or GNOME3, I've started using "Cinnamon" Desktop environment
    and here is how to install it on minimal environment (even tough u'll have to fix icons and eye-candy because minimal system won't have then prior).
    You will also need a login manager if going for custom desktop environment !

  • Installing firmware drivers
    Many major firmware drivers are not included in ubuntu by default just because they don't comply with Open Source license of ubuntu !
    However in almost every case it's extremely easy to get these drivers installed !
    Additional Drivers Utility may be installed from this ubuntu applications page !
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@Chetan , Welcome to the AskUbuntu community.. As a noob, I suggest you next time onwards kindly split your questions into different priorities or topics and post them separately... This help the community to answer them independently and swiftly. Moreover your question might already be asked by someone and independent questions are easy to link with already provided good answers thus keeping the website clean without redundant question... If the answer helps, consider accepting it by clicking the checkmark on the left of my answer's first paragraph ! ;) – Z9iT Apr 30 '13 at 12:15
Hi! Thank you for the help. I just completed the install today and it works like a charm! :) – Chetan Bhasin May 5 '13 at 7:53

I think you can use apt-get if you install minimal cd. This how i install gnome on minimal or server edition:

sudo apt-get -y install gnome-core gdm network-manager-gnome fast-user-switch-applet \ human-theme x11-xserver-utils tangerine-icon-theme gnome-themes-ubuntu ubuntu-artwork \ jockey-gtk gnome-screensaver gnome-utils sudo apt-get install -y gcalctool tsclient

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Hi! Thanks for the reply. How do I find the machine specific drivers though? Can you help? P.S. Can I uninstall the old drivers and install the machine specific if I choose not to go with the minimal CD? – Chetan Bhasin Apr 30 '13 at 10:02
Mostly, you dont, everything just works. Once in a while, a wifi adapter needs some special attention, or your video doesn't work as well as it could, so you need a fix. Mostly, Ubuntu just installs and runs. – Marc Dec 27 '13 at 17:09

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