If you are a new Ubuntu user coming from a Mac background, you might be disoriented by the placement of the minimize/maximize/close box on Ubuntu, which mimics Windows by default.

This setting is an easy one to change, thankfully, and combined with a nice OS X theme can really have a nice effect.

To change this setting, use Alt+F2 to bring up the Run Application dialog, and type in gconf-editor to launch the Gnome Configuration Editor.

Once in the editor, find the following key:

apps \ metacity \ general

On the right hand side of the screen you should see an option called button_layout.

This option takes a string value separated by commas, as well as a colon that separates which side of the window the buttons will be on. To mimic the OS X setting, enter this string:


In this example, the close/maximize/minimize buttons are on the left, and the menu button is on the right. You can remove an item from this list if you’d like. For example, I don’t really use the menu button so I usually just remove it.

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Lowell is the founder and CEO of How-To Geek. He’s been running the show since creating the site back in 2006. Over the last decade, Lowell has personally written more than 1000 articles which have been viewed by over 250 million people. Prior to starting How-To Geek, Lowell spent 15 years working in IT doing consulting, cybersecurity, database management, and programming work.
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