Move Window Buttons in Lucid

FAIL (the browser should render some flash content, not this).

Kris Occhipinti shows us how to move our window buttons back to the right side in Ubuntu's latest release, Lucid.


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Being a Linux user that's not

keekaboo's picture

Being a Linux user that's not keen on editing config files, mainly because I don't know what side-effects that may have, I use the 'appearance' GUI.

Open the following: System - Preferences - Appearance.
Select another theme that has buttons on the right, e.g. Clearlooks.
Click 'Customise'.
In both the 'Controls' and 'Window Border' tabs, select 'Ambiance'.
In the 'Icons' tab, select 'Humanity Dark' (Or Ubuntu-Mono-Dark, if you have it).
Close and then Click 'Save As' and give the theme a name, e.g. 'Ambiance Right'.

Et Voila.

I would like to say thank you

jorline's picture

I would like to say thank you to author of these articles on this site. I read all of these articles and i need to read some new articles. I've watched a video on youtube about this topic for now and i loved it. Also it is one of the rarely topic on this site.

See you on a new topic...

gconf NOT gconfig

robertjm's picture

Not to be picky, but in your description you SAY gconfig-editor, but the actual command is gconf-editor.

If someone is staring at the computer screen while LISTENING to your instructions they will get a big fat file not found, or something to that effect.

What about the menu option

Anon's picture

why not try:


This will put the menu back on the left side of the window.

I go between five different machines everyday, Windows, Mac, & Ubuntu. After a week the Ubuntu left side buttons seem just as natural as the Windows buttons. I have no problem switching between the different configurations. If you want Ubuntu back to normal, I'd suggest adding the menu option back also.

Why the heck?

alex1028's picture

would anyone want to move window buttons from the left side?
Apple didn't place them like that by accident, it's simply much more convenient that way.

And why the heck would

Anonymous's picture

And why the heck would someone want to use a QWERTY keyboard when a Dvorak one is much more convenient?
Oh right, they are used to it.

I dumped GNOME for Xfce

Fred McKinney's picture

I moved to Linux Mint last fall, as it had everything more or less the way I wanted it right out of the box. However, with crap like this plus the fact that GNOME 3 is coming out in the fall (I used to be a KDE guy until KDE 4 came out and therefore I didn't wanna go through that again) plus the fact that the attitudes of some users on GNOME-Look were really beginning to tick me off, I ditched GNOME for Xfce, plus I also recently switched from Mint to PC/OS, which I've found has better hardware support out of the box than Ubuntu or Mint do, too.

BTW, in Xfce, if you wish to change the position of your buttons in the Xfwm theme, that's very easy to do compared to Metacity. What you do is go to the Xfce Menu --> Settings --> Window Manager. In the Window Manager dialog box, you'll see a section on the right labeled "Button layout", which allows you to change the button layout by just using your mouse to rearrange the titlebar items. However, there are some Xfwm themes that don't support button re-arrangement. If one of those themes that doesn't support it is selected, the button layout section will be grayed out and won't let you re-arrange them in order to protect that Xfwm theme from being broken.

In any event, button re-arrangement is WAY simpler with Xfwm than it is with Metacity, and GNOME would do well to take some lessons from Xfce in this regard.

Just my $.02 worth,
Fred in St. Louis

No no no!

Pétur Ingi's picture

Using gconf editor will BREAK the theme, and future updates.

Your doing it all wrong!

Simply change to another theme to fix the issue.

Swim against the tide

zandhuis's picture

I do like the new position of the buttons...
Especially when working with WinXP on another remote PC in a terminal.
Clicking a little to low on the "X" with the intent to close the terminal instead would close the Windows application running on the remote machine. With the buttons on the left in Ubuntu i won make that mistake any longer.
And i do like the whole of the new lay-out to be honest, and so do the kids (probably even more then me) who were initially fully opposed to using Linux and now absolutely don't want to go back to Windows anymore.

Yes! less mac like! more Win

djfake's picture

Yes! less mac like! more Win like!!!

Or Switch Distributions...

Tux Torch's picture

People can also choose a different distribution like I did.

PCLinuxOS Gnome Edition is what I'm using highly recommended and for KDE users their KDE version from what I've been told is the best out there right now.


Well helllllo Kris

Anonymous's picture

He's a hottie. More videos from him, please.

Haha, Thanks :)

metalx2000's picture

Haha, Thanks :)
Everything you ever need to know about Free Software.

Video tutorials are good

Dylan McCall's picture

Video tutorials are good :)

Two little things:

You seem to be running beta 1 in this video. The button order was changed to close,minimize,maximize for familiarity's sake.

With the button order change in Lucid, the convoluted approach of editing the gconf key manually is no longer ideal. A theme can hve has a button_layout key attached to it, so if you head to Appearance Preferences and choose a different theme (for example, Human or Clearlooks) it may set its own preferred button layout. This is what happens for Ubuntu's default Ambiance theme, and Radiance and Impression.
For other themes that don't set a specific button layout, like Clearlooks, the button order is set back to the default of menu:minimize:maximize,close.

While that behaviour is currently specific to Ubuntu, it should make its way upstream soonish. I hope you can appreciate that teaching users the manual approach is undesirable because, if they play with themes at any point, their manually specified button layout will be reset. (A message appears to that end, but it isn't always enough).
The approach of poking through gconf-editor is also overwhelming for some people. When (not if!) they need to do it again, they will probably need to read the instructions again. All in all, it could give people a bad impression.

To get your buttons on the left without making things confusing, download this theme: