How-To Geek

Move Window Buttons Back to the Right in Ubuntu 10.04 / 10.10

One of the more controversial changes in the Ubuntu 10.04 beta is the Mac OS-inspired change to have window buttons on the left side. We’ll show you how to move the buttons back to the right.


While the change may or may not persist through to the April 29 release of Ubuntu 10.04, in the beta version the maximize, minimize, and close buttons appear in the top left of a window.


How to move the window buttons

The window button locations are dictated by a configuration file. We’ll use the graphical program gconf-editor to change this configuration file.

Press Alt+F2 to bring up the Run Application dialog box, enter “gconf-editor” in the text field, and click on Run.


The Configuration Editor should pop up.


The key that we want to edit is in apps/metacity/general.

Click on the + button next to the “apps” folder, then beside “metacity” in the list of folders expanded for apps, and then click on the “general” folder.


The button layout can be changed by changing the “button_layout” key. Double-click button_layout to edit it.

Change the text in the Value text field to:



Click OK and the change will occur immediately, changing the location of the window buttons in the Configuration Editor.


Note that this ordering of the window buttons is slightly different than the typical order; in previous versions of Ubuntu and in Windows, the minimize button is to the left of the maximize button.

You can change the button_layout string to reflect that ordering, but using the default Ubuntu 10.04 theme, it looks a bit strange.


If you plan to change the theme, or even just the graphics used for the window buttons, then this ordering may be more natural to you.


After this change, all of your windows will have the maximize, minimize, and close buttons on the right.


What do you think of Ubuntu 10.04’s visual change? Let us know in the comments!

Trevor is our resident Linux geek, but always keeps his eyes open for neat Windows tricks too.

  • Published 03/23/10

Comments (292)

  1. Sam Tate

    First post!

    Anyway… I really like the new theme, Gnome has never looked so good! I prefer the dark as opposed to the light theme though. I still cant wait for Gnome 3 though!

  2. Steve

    I suppose that you could also move the close button to the outer left this way as well?

  3. brgulker

    A really silly, confusing move by the Ubuntu dev. team here. It’s especially problematic for those of us who are forced to work in Windows environments all day in professional settings. It doesn’t accomplish anything functionally. Silly.

    Thanks for providing the fix.

  4. Duane

    I love the change. I work in a Windows environment nine hours a day, and have no problem changing back and fourth with the new layout. It does take some time to get used to the new layout, but if people would give it a fair chance I think they would like it.

  5. Neut

    Sweet, I was looking for this for some weeks now. Thanks!

  6. Trevor Bekolay


    Yes, you can rearrange the maximize, minimize and close buttons however you want. See this page for some more information.

    For example, if you don’t want the “menu” to show up in the top left, I think you can get rid of that and just have “:minimize,maximize,close” to clean the look up a bit if you don’t use the menu in the top-left of a window.

  7. sachin

    Awessome. I’m really impressed by ubuntu creators, they roll out a NEW version every six months, and make hugely impressive changes like changing the close button side, and addition of new im client. No wait, thats something done by gnome and empathy team. Oh yeah, ubuntu creators go to forums and spread BS about Microsoft.

  8. Spencer

    “Awessome. I’m really impressed by ubuntu creators, they roll out a NEW version every six months, and make hugely impressive changes like changing the close button side, and addition of new im client. No wait, thats something done by gnome and empathy team. Oh yeah, ubuntu creators go to forums and spread BS about Microsoft.”

    Meanwhile, the trolls go to sites like this and, well, troll.

  9. SquareWheel

    “First post!”


  10. Wes

    This works for moving the buttons from the right to the left in gnome as well, which I just did on my Linux Mint Helena. Thanks!

  11. Simon

    You see all those obscure steps you have to go through to change a UI setting? This is why Linux isn’t getting any traction in the average home user market. Any time you want to do something, you have to resort to cryptic methods that most people have no patience or desire for.

  12. Wes

    Agreed. Of course, setting these button locations in the Xfce desktop is a simple matter of clicking on the menu and clicking on the Window Manager app. Keyboard skills not required.

    How do you move the buttons in windows or mac? Can they be moved?

  13. shivaram

    nice one, will do it thanks

  14. Duane

    @Simon That’s a product of Gnome, it’s super easy to change the button layout in KDE, or XFCE. In Linux you have different window managers – you can use any one you want – choice is what Linux is about.
    As @Wes said, is it even possible to change the button layout in Windows or Mac?

  15. recken

    I don’t mind the change, but my gf is likely to blame the new button layout (and by extention me for installing it) for every thing that goes wrong on her laptop for at least 6 months…

    This fix saves me ! :D

    So 3 cheers

  16. mk

    @Simon: I have not tried this on my desktop, but you can probably do this:

    $ gconftool -s /apps/metacity/general/button_layout -t string menu:minimize,maximize,close

  17. Mike

    You can also use “Ubuntu Tweak” to make this change in a more user friendly manner. Unfortunately, your screenshot is not accurate. Once you change the buttons back to the correct(right) side, the new “light themes” are broken. I’m not sure where you got that screenshot, but it wasn’t from just making the single gconf change.

    That is what it looks like after moving the buttons and using the default new Ambiance theme. That same thing happens in the new Radiance theme. Notice the box’s around the buttons. They’re specifically drawn to be on the left side and in a specific order.

    Fortunately, there is a fix for the themes while also making the gconf changes for you.

    Add that PPA in your software sources and run a normal update. The “light theme” package will update and make all the changes for you. Log out and back in and all will be as it should.

  18. Anon

    Moving it to the left was a retarded move. I don’t like the direction Ubuntu is taking. Yahoo deal, music store and trying to make it look like OS X.

  19. Brian

    Ah…. something for left handers in a right handed world. Thanks Ubuntu ;-)

  20. PJ

    I don’t like it at all and I hope it gets changed back in the final release.

  21. Navjot
  22. Sean


    Their screenshot is not incorrect, if you move the buttons over and keep them in the same order it does not break the theme. The reason it is broken in your screenshot is because you switched the maximize and minimize buttons back to the way they normally are.


  23. shane

    Simon wrote:

    “You see all those obscure steps you have to go through to change a UI setting? This is why Linux isn’t getting any traction in the average home user market. Any time you want to do something, you have to resort to cryptic methods that most people have no patience or desire for.”

    You are comparing Linux… or more correctly Gnome in this case… to which OS? Windows with the infamous system registry or OS X with almost no reconfigurability? Are you new to the art of trolling? LOL

  24. calebstein

    But if you just use KDE, you don’t have to deal with all of these edits.


    Long live FreeBSD and KDE!

  25. Wes


    You really can’t fault Ubuntu for wanting to make their distro more attractive to the casual user. That has been their goal all along- making linux accessible and attractive to people who just want an OS that works.

    I personally don’t care about a music store, and changing the default search engine is easy (the joke’s on you, Yahoo), as is removing apps and replacing them with what suits you. But, really, with all the distros available, all the potential user bases are covered in linux, so why shouldn’t Ubuntu go off on their own tangent?

  26. HerbCSO

    I have to admit, I have the habit of looking to the right for min/max/close buttons deeply ingrained in me. It’s one of the most disturbing things about working on a Mac to me (which admittedly I don’t do often). I hope they go back to the old standard in the final release. These types of seemingly minor, yet deeply ingrained behaviors that your users have come to rely on are in fact breaking changes that will make your end-users deeply unhappy on a visceral level. It won’t even necessarily be something they could point a finger at, making it even more insidious of a change.

    Honestly, I don’t understand the reasoning behind wanting to do stuff like that. It’s like the decision to remove icons from the menus… WTF!? That’s one of the primary ways (other than physical relative positioning on the screen as to how I find the items I’m looking for. Scanning for an icon is much faster for me than having to read the text – there is an extra cognitive step that slows things down for me.

  27. GMNightmare

    Stupid as hell. There’s a bloody reason why the buttons are on the right side. If I want to edit something, and I accidentally move my mouse too high, I’m not going to accidentally close my stuff.

    Not to mention they did it wrong anyways, the close button should always be on the outside corner.

    It was obviously a move for kicks and giggles, they didn’t really think it through.

  28. jk

    This argument is funny. The best layout is: :menu,minimize or menu:minimize. And set double clicks on the title bar to maximize.

    The worst that happens is a click in the upper right minimizes the window instead of closing it. If you have enough memory and cpu that is probably what you really want to do anyway.

    Double clicking on the window title bar maximizes, which is what I want it to do. There’s no risk of hitting minimize or close. Nobody uses that “windowshade” feature when there’s a taskbar at the bottom of the screen.

  29. Rich

    Well, I guess if you’re going to make the buttons look like Mac, then why not put them over on the left? However, the rest of the UI as it pertains to open and close is still far more Windows-like than Mac-like. I don’t see the point in mixing these paradigms up unless you’re also going to add Finder-like behavior where the desktop top menu bar context-switches to the active application, and closing the last open window of an application doesn’t close the app. I’ve got Windows (XP laptop for work and 7×64 desktop for home/gaming/etc), Mac (wife), and Ubuntu (VM on Windows 7) all in the same household. I can foresee Ubuntu being a little irritating by being just a little Mac-like, but not enough Mac-like. To me, the beauty (and frustration) of the Mac interface is the extremely tight UI design. Of course, the most fun will be running the VM in VMware Workstation’s Unity mode (where Ubuntu application windows appear to be part of the native Windows 7 desktop/workspace.)

    All things being equal – little round circles look super-neat. Why couldn’t they use yellow and green as well? Trademarked by Apple? To mis-quote Joe Biden: “It’s not a big f***ing deal.”

  30. paulos

    SWEET! (Just remember folks, do NOT sudo gconf-editor. Just run it as your normal user.)

    Long live freedom of choice!

  31. digim0nk

    The new theme looks like crap and the change in the button layout and location is a usability failure !
    Then again Ubuntu has always been the most ugly looking distro.

    Window control’s are in the wrong place .. ( and please Shuttleworth don’t say Apple does it that way )
    On the mac there are no menus so it looks clean .. on ubuntu it just looks ugly and confusing with the menus text below the controls.

    It shows that there is no community input in the design or testing at Canonical. ( and probably not important as the proof is in the various articles, blog posts and comments all over the net )

    I personally think the Mac look is very dull and Ubuntu copying it just makes me wanna laugh.

    From the people who brought you the most ugly looking distro, comes a new look thats like how the people that brought you the most dull looking OS have done years back. ( with the window controls in the wrong place )

    … i wonder how long will it be that a user can only use Ubuntu with a two button mouse …

  32. mrgrey1

    Here I was thinking they couldn’t possibly stuff up as badly as they did in 9.10 by removing all the login configuration options and they just had to prove me wrong. I would have thought that looking at all the negative responses about win 7 moving the show desktop button to the bottom right might have given them an idea that messing around with what has been a ‘default’ for years is NOT A GOOD IDEA. Especially when there is NO LOGICAL REASON TO DO SO. People don’t like changes like this. They are totally unnecessary. If you want to change something like this then make it OPTIONAL and make it EASILY changeable. Yet again another truly BRAIN DEAD design choice from Ubuntu. Think I’m going to have to find another distro.

  33. Patrick Lindsey

    Here is what happens when code monkeys are given to much power, they do not think of the end user. Someone did this just to show us they could. What will the first impression be when the Windows users comes to try out Linux for fun? Probably confusion. Nice job making a bad choice. Some things you just do not change. Ubuntu wants a larger part of the desktop market? Not with moves like this my friends, not a chance. Some things familiar are better off left alone. I think the programmers who made this change should have all their door knobs moved to the other side of their doors and their light switches to places unfamiliar. I am embarrassed to be an Ubuntu user.

  34. Ahmed

    Well, Thanks a lot i was just getting frustated after a theme i have installed and DIDN’T worked and all those windows minimizing keys went to the left like in a MAC hhhhh

    Thanks !

  35. Jicks

    Buttons on the left… ignorant.

  36. GZ

    I’m pretty flexible on the design. I could see close far left and min/max on the far right. From a design standpoint though, the buttons all being on the left seems heavy. You’d need to off set the window title to the far right.

    As for me, I like the old way better. Everything thrown right.

  37. siam

    Oh !! many many Thank for this solution i’m most like old design.

  38. lidra

    Thank you so much for this. I believe the 10.04 is lovely on the visual effects and colors and I believe they did a lovely job.

  39. Rafael Beckel

    I use Ubuntu for 5 years and Mac for 1 year. One of the most annoying UI design in a Mac is these f*cking buttons on the left. Don’t get me wrong, I think Mac is a great system, I just don’t like the fact that I can’t configure its appearance in a easy way.

    Moving the buttons to the left is the worst decision in all Ubuntu’s history. I would approve this change if it was not the default and easily configurable. I’m an advanced user and I can do it easily, but for the normal user, it can be one of the main reasons for not using Ubuntu. There are lots of Windows users curiously willing to change, but things like that make them to give up before installing it. They’ll use the live CD once and that’s all.

    As for Yahoo being the default search engine, I think it’s also a shoot-in-the-foot, but it causes less damage than moving buttons to the left.

  40. Christian Conservative

    HATE the new button location… it should be on the right be default, but with an easy to change OPTION in the Preferences > Appearances menu for those who REALLY want to make it more Mac like.

    For many people, the installation of Ubuntu is to replace Window$… as such, it should be as intuitive as possible for post-Windows users like my parents!

  41. unixnerd2010

    I’m with mrgrey1 on this one. DON’T change things which work OK, especially if they’ve been like that for years! It reminds me of a message board I used to post on, which decided to move everything to the right,when almost all similar boards had everything on the left. Many of us hated it, but the mods thought it was “better” and more “logical” (lmao). Lots of us thought otherwise, and voted with our feet ;)

    But I digress.

    10.04 Beta is, rather surprisingly, actually *more* stable on my system than 9.10 is (It’s only been a couple of months since I stopped using 9.04, due to the ongoing problems in 9.10). But I HATED seeing the buttons switch to the left, and I simply can’t get used to it, sorry. I’ve been online for 15 years and using PCs/workstations for even longer, so it’s a hard habit to break. Like suddenly expecting us to all use Dvorak keyboards would be.

    I’ve just changed the buttons back to the right. Otherwise, I really like it so far – everything I need seems to work reasonably well so far (considering it’s still in beta, that is).

    Like mrgrey1, I’ve also been considering a move to another distro – Ubuntu seem to be messing up too many things with each distro update now, yet ongoing problems never seem to get fixed. I’ll wait to see how the stable release performs after April 29th, though :)

  42. Brian Paone

    I don’t know if Canonical has any idea what a pain in the tail this is going to be for the average user. For decades now, the vast majority of the world’s computer users have been used to min/max/close on the top right. On the units I sell, it’s going to be that way whether Canonical likes it or not. Thanks to HTG for once again saving the day in that regard.

    I think it would be a great idea, though, for Canonical and other Linux-based OS makers to make the new layout a permanent feature on all BETA releases, to differentiate itself from the stable releases as well as give people one more reason to shift from beta to stable (some people are REALLY bad about not installing over RCs or betas unless forced). Talk about an easy way to tell the two apart!

  43. DaveK

    Ubuntu is getting steadily more confusing.

    – Buttons on left instead of right
    – Login/shutdown options disappear from System menu
    – Rhythmbox starts up in tray
    – Notifications has no configuration
    – etc

    They keep adding/changing things while providing no means to customize it ourselves. Why? First rule in GUI development: give your users options, not mandates.

    It seems like it is simply getting tailored to how one guy likes it (shuttleworth?) instead of being a flexible platform to adapt to different users. I still like Ubuntu because I am able to hack it, but every day wonder if there are greener pastures…

  44. ubatuba

    Thanks for the information on how to get my buttons back to where I like them. Thought Linux was to have it your way not Mark’s way! Mark seems to be feeling invincible with the popularity of Ubuntu and seems to be heading in the direction of Jobs and Gates, “My way or the Highway”. To many other good versions of Linux to put up with his crap!

  45. Mohammad Helmy

    This 100% works… MULTI THANKS for your support :)

  46. marcusklaas

    I’m sharing a lot of the sentiment in the comments here. I haven’t tried 10.04 yet, but I think I’d prefer them to be in the top right. Also, I think it top-right is better of a default setting because that’s what Windows users are used to. Ubuntu was all about being easy, so I think we should astray from the intuitive (who says it is, but hey, we’re used to it) location.

    Also, I’m not keen with Empathy. I understand it kind of merges nicely with the rest of the software, but I still favor Pidgin. Main reason is the gfire plugin for pidgin. I’m pretty sure Empathy does not have such a plugin.

    Software store is nice, but I’m not loving the online music store for example. Because it’s not free, I suppose. And what happened to GIMP, it should be there! It’s kind of the mother of all linux applications.

    Things I do like in 10.04: New default style, faster boot and Ubuntu One.

  47. marcusklaas

    Agreeing wholeheartedly while DaveK btw. I was annoyed by these two things too: Rhythmbox in tray and notifications cannot be moved or configured!! Also, the Conservative Christians nicely words my thoughts.

  48. Move Window Controls

    This works. THanks ! Very best.!

  49. jon

    This is a weird move by Canonical. I have generally liked Ubuntu up to this point. This may make me switch to a different distro. I know…it’s probably petty, but it seems so fundamentally flawed.

    1) It’s an LTS release
    2) It’s inconsistent with other themes, other apps (chrome), other OSes, other distros
    3) It’s a fairly serious usability flaw with respect to proximity to the menu.
    4) Those that use and support Ubuntu made it fairly clear that they didn’t like it, but that voice fell on deaf ears.
    5) The meritocracy argument is only valid if there is proof of merit. With respect to usability, there is no evidence of merit here. I would be very surprised if any usability tests were performed.
    6) The buttons contain a background element. This screws up the design when reordering. You should be able to put the buttons in any order you want, and not have that affect the design.
    7) They use an up and down “arrow”. This conveys a confusing message. If your panel with the window list at the top, when you minimize, it goes up, not down. The older icons convey their function more appropriately.

    The list could go on….

    Yes, you can change their order (and thanks for the instructions, by the way) and this is a great thing.

    I won’t complain about the themes in general (except the buttons). You really will never please everyone and you can generally personalize the look with great ease. At the same time, however, why would you go for something that really does seem Mac-like? Surely there are better designers out there that can come up with something more original. Do the designers use Macs to design themes for Ubuntu? That would be comical!

    There was some half-hearted talk about opening up the right side for some new functionality. First, why not use the already mostly vacant left side and leave the buttons as they are?

    Anyhoo, enough. It’s all been said before. It just feels good to rant sometimes.

  50. Linuxn00b

    Thanks for the tip i look forward to using it once ive downloaded the final release.
    I dont understand the rest of you that have to slash canonical for changing buttons. Talk about mindless, you lot are mindless. You want to move on to another distro because they changed buttons mrgrey1?? Well you obviously dont deserve ubuntu then so please go BUY a copy of windows 7 then. I am a total linux noob and wont mind changing a couple of buttons because all im gonna do anyway is load the win2-7 pack from anyway. The point is there are always people willing to help you and if you dont like something its easy to get help to change it. Seems you have forgotten that you did not have to pay for ubuntu, it was given to you for free to do with as you will. Youve definately lost the plot.

  51. .haNk

    i hate the new theme.

    linuxn00b shut up…

  52. the old rang

    Move the dot now, to the same bar (and using tiny menu, smaller space) as the Menu button, and this will make sense.

    Taking useful desk space for a otherwise useless bar… not smart.

    For those in Rio Linda, so to speak…

    Have Menu be displayed in a tiny menu format, and the “menu:maximize,minimize,close” on the other end of the same real estate bar

  53. SilverFox

    $ gconftool -s /apps/metacity/general/button_layout -t string menu:minimize,maximize,close Worked like a charm! Big thanks!

  54. Dylan McCall

    Or, a simpler solution: pick a different theme ;)

  55. Sean J

    Moving the buttons is totally disruptive. The first thing I did after installing was use gconf to move the buttons back to where I want them, and have been used to them being.

  56. stealth

    With the stable release you can keep the normal order (mix, max, close) and there is no disruption in the theming

  57. Ben2talk

    There’s a philosophy of GUI design – MAC is more advanced in this respect and the global menu works well. However, without research, I cannot see why buttons on the left is better.

    When I use my mouse, I use my right hand – and the cursor generally rests on the right side of the screen when not in use, rather than the left.

    Is this really a Ubuntu change? or simply a Gnome change? Did anyone actually say WHY they made this change? It isn’t a security update – so what’s their reasoning?

  58. Brad Moreland

    Some people like the buttons on the left side. Some people like the buttons on the right side. Some people like the close button innermost. Some people like the close button outermost. Change it to what you want and the world moves on.

  59. dewarim

    Thanks, that article was really helpful.
    I am at a miss to find friendly words about this UI change, so I think I just stop before I go into full rant mode.

  60. Tobias Wilken

    I really like the new design, except the fact on which side the buttons are. This problem is solved with this post, thanks. I think this is just a habit thing, but as long as you can change it, it is fine for everybody.

    What I really like is the letter icon, which came with one of the last versions and is this time extend with the broadcasting services. Everything leads in the cloud computing direction.

  61. swifty

    Thank you so much for uploading this. I do not see the point in moving the buttons to the left when most ubuntu users are just so used to them being on the right!

  62. ricardisimo

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. What is the obsession with Mac at Gnome?

  63. John

    Moving the controls to the left hand side of the windows is unfortunate. Granted, controls on the right is typically associated with Windows, icky icky, but to suddenly move the controls to the left is baffling. Why move them after so long? People who want them on the left should be able to choose that, sure, but by way of some easy preference setting. To suddenly change the default to the left is bizarre.

    :( :( :(

  64. bender

    cool, thanks.

    First thing I did with new ubuntu look: changed windows bottom_height from 5 (or 4?) to 1 in /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/metacity-1/metacity-theme-1.xml

  65. Slappy

    THIS ONLY WORKS FOR SOME OF THE THEMES. When you switch to another theme the buttons can return to the left.

  66. ieee488

    Not a Mac person. Want the buttons on the right. Thank you!!!

  67. James

    I HATE the buttons on the left. Ubuntu is NOT osX and I don’t want it looking, performing or being like it in ANY way!

  68. David Kraft

    A really silly, confusing move by the Ubuntu dev. team here. It’s especially problematic for those of us who are forced to work in Windows environments all day in professional settings. It doesn’t accomplish anything functionally. Silly.

    Thanks for providing the fix.

  69. David Kraft

    Stupid as hell. There’s a bloody reason why the buttons are on the right side. If I want to edit something, and I accidentally move my mouse too high, I’m not going to accidentally close my stuff.

    Not to mention they did it wrong anyways, the close button should always be on the outside corner.

    It was obviously a move for kicks and giggles, they didn’t really think it through.

  70. Max

    This was very useful and at least I have learned something. Now my Opensuse got also the buttons on the left (will change it soon though). Cheers!

  71. mac

    I hate the button on the left. Nothing wrong with moving them, but give an option to select where one wants them, just don’t assume – give the user a choice.

  72. Troy

    Thanks mate for the button fix.

    Just installed (upgraded) from 9.10, and it blew me away how pretty it now is booting! Gone is the turd brown!! Yay. Then firefox threw me a curve ball with the buttons on the left….


  73. Dim

    Remove all back!
    No need so mach improvisations! We all regular to use righ direction.

    Thank’s for this page !!!

  74. Mikolaj

    I’m using the Ambiance theme, and I have set the setting to: menu:minimize,maximize,close
    it looks very good now! thanks a lot for your help! :)

  75. Jinnat Ul Hasan

    Thanks for the help. I was feeling uncomfortable looking for the buttons on the left.

  76. Pierrem-m

    Many, many thanks for this tweek!!!!

    For the life of me I can’t work out why the Ubuntu people would make what seems to be just a change for change’s sake! Weird!!

    Oh, and I’m a lefty btw and I didn’t like it and even more so didn’t like not being consulted about it and not being given an easy way at upgrade (e.g. “Which side would you like your window buttons on?”) to select what I wanted!.

    Come on Ubuntu Developers! This is the sort of thing the evil empire does not what we in open source do surely?

  77. Enkee

    What happened to my buttons? Yesterday I changed them the way you instructed and things worked fine, I even told others. But this morning they are completely gone! Not on left nor on right.

  78. Alan Howlett

    Thanks for the fix- very helpful.

    I think Ubuntu is really good- far ahead of Windows in many ways.

    One of my pet hates about Microsoft is that they don’t seem to know the difference between “change” and “improvement”, so every release sees things tinkered with for no readily discernable reason. What used to work just fine and was readily comprehensible suddenly gets changed to something completely different, making it much harder to use.

    Why oh why are the Ubuntu guys starting to do the same?

  79. Enkee

    Don’t know what happened, this evening the buttons suddenly returned. Thanks for your instructions now I can continue to tell others

  80. Joe in MN

    (Occasional lurker, first post here)

    Another method, using Appearance Preferences:

    Choose a theme that has the buttons on the right side, like Clearlooks. Then hit Customize, and set the Controls and Window Border to Ambiance or whichever one has the appearance that you want.

    The story as I understand it is that they are planning to put some new feature on the right side of the titlebar in the next release, and this is an intermediate step to acclimate users to having the buttons on the left in the meantime.

  81. gonetil

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank youuu!

    I can’t belive that folks from Canonical decided to change buttons positions, and not to offer an easy way to put it back in case you don’t like the change. Thanks God it’s the Ubuntu Community beyond Canonical :D

  82. cheqmate

    Thanks for the tip.

    Moving the buttons was a strange choice.

  83. Chris

    “You see all those obscure steps you have to go through to change a UI setting? This is why Linux isn’t getting any traction in the average home user market. Any time you want to do something, you have to resort to cryptic methods that most people have no patience or desire for.”

    So, how do you change what side the buttons are on in Windows? OSX?

    Oh, that’s right, you DON’T.

  84. ntg

    Thanx! it was too close to the File menu…

  85. Chavão

    Nice, works great.

    Thank you.

  86. GreggyD

    I think I’m the only one on the planet who liked the change. I prefer them on the left, but its nice that people can configure it to their liking.

  87. Pielisen Reijjo

    I usually run ubuntu in virtual box in openSuSe (Yo dawg!) for testing, developement etc. and… yeah. Placing the buttons to left side is too much for my mother to handle. She just understood what is the meaning of those buttons.

  88. confused_user

    Thanks, what a waste of everybodies time though!

    What do i think of ubuntu’s new look? First of all my netbook still does not actually reboot or shutdown all the way, i have to hold down the power key to turn it off and deal with the filesystem errors as they come.

    Power management does not work properly, sometimes when i close the lid it will hibernate, other times it just stays on

    My fan is always on 100% which means my battery only lasts 2hrs, 3.5hrs on windows 7.

    To be honest i would rather they fixed issues, serious ones like those, than fuss about moving buttons around and putting ugly splash screens in the way.

    My issues have been here since 9.10, there has been enough time to fix them but they dont, so i find myself booting into windows7 more and more.

    I prefer the look of 9.10 anyway

  89. Queixa

    Thanks for the info. I am fairly new to Ubuntu and Linux (about a year) and have been using computers since the CP/M operating system (pre-DOS). I use a Mac notebook at work, and still don’t like the interface. Not only are the buttons on the wrong side, but they are too small. Hard to aim that carefully with a trackpad.

    L O V E the flexibility of Ubuntu.

    However, I am of the opinion that Ubuntu deliberately makes the desktop ugly to encourage newbies to explore the settings and figure out how to change them. This is the first time I have been in the gconf-editor. In fact, I was not aware that such a thing existed. Maybe the brains at Ubuntu made this change to make those of us who are not quite newbies but close to it explore the options further.

  90. Typhin

    I just had the Update Manager update my Ubuntu to 10.04. (I wish it would have told me it was going to take HOURS, though.) I’m fairly new to Linux, so I didn’t know about gconf-editor. When making a major change like this, especially one that DOES NOT APPEAR in “Appearance” or “Windows” settings menus, it would have been nice to have had something to tell a user how to change things back if they want.

    Some kind of “Welcome to 10.04! Here’s what’s new! If you don’t like it, you can do this to change it!”

  91. Valentas

    I don’t care, just took my time to go and look for the reason to do this which turned out to be none.

  92. dilson

    Perfect!!! Direct and clear. TY

  93. mike

    Thank you very much for these instructions. To me it makes better sense to have the close button on the right, since most web content favors the left side of the screen.

  94. Memo

    Well, at least we have to admit that changing things in Ubuntu (or any other Linux distribution) is at a click away, just fill the right search words. Imagine having to change anything on Windows 7 :) You have to convince someone else to talk to someone else, to persuade the other person to launch an update to fix a broken thing, because there is no config file, no source code, no way to do it your self, and that’s what i love in Linux. If searching is to hard for you, then you should buy a Windows PC, or a Mac, … or a Windows PC, or a Mac.

  95. Agberg

    I miss the old Ubunto logo and splash screen (8.10 & 9.04).
    Anyone know a way to get it with 10.04?

  96. Amorina

    Thanks! I have a two-year-old who had some frustrations issues with the change, LOL.

  97. Mike

    Hate the change in Ubuntu 10.04. Glad I found this article–thank you so much for posting the how-to on changing the window icons back.

    Shame on Ubuntu for changing from the righthand side!

  98. Mike

    Oh, and now need to figure out how to get that nasty Pepto-Bismol pink login screen changed! Not happy with that or the window button change. 10.04 is NOT getting off to a good start with me…

  99. John-Peter

    Thanks for this! I use Google Chrome and it was really disorienting, because Google Chrome doesn’t follow any Gnome settings.

    My button layout is: “:minimize,maximize,close” (old Windows habits die hard)

    Meanwhile, IMHO this was kind of a bad move by Ubuntu, Gnome, or whatever team made the decision. I think they want to move towards being more like Mac OS X to gain converts, but the people who have used Ubuntu for years may not appreciate the change. Engineers love to start from scratch, but they have to realize that there’s already an established user base and so changes to button layout and basic use should come with easier ways to revert, undo, change. Otherwise, it’s a step back for many users.

  100. line

    You are all so aggravated by this change, I’m starting to wonder what’s wrong with me, for not being in a total state over the buttons. I was much more disturbed by OpenOffice crashing the other day for no apparent reason.

  101. Stan

    Thanks for the fix.

  102. choyak

    OMG!!!!! This ‘configuration editor’ reminds me of REGISTRY in GATES (bugdows) Help please inform me that this is not the same.

  103. Trevor Bekolay


    The configuration editor does modify Gnome’s registry, which is not entirely dissimilar to Windows’, and indeed some people absolutely hate it because of that. I’m not that familiar with what’s in the Gnome registry, or what kinds of applications use it, as moving the windows buttons is the first time I’ve had to do it.

  104. Alexandros

    I simply LOVE the new button-layout! It is much more intuitive.

  105. KS

    Nice, but when i change this way, and then use another theme, and then turn back to this theme, they are back in left! Am I stupid to edit gconf-crap anytime? I think this sucks.

  106. Grant

    I can’t believe ubuntu moved the buttons to the left, and then you have to use gconf-editor to change it back? Worst idea ever. That is one more customization I’ll have to do every time I install a new ubuntu box. How is having everything at the left better in any way? All it does is defy expectations.

    Ubuntu, I’m angry at you.

  107. fil

    Great!Exactly what hat i needed !
    Ubuntu should reconsinder this change…

  108. Gorio

    now I might have had a few too many tonight, but having just upgraded to 10.04 I was really annoyed at the controls being changed to the left. So did a bit of googling to see what could be done about it, and came across a few threads including this one. Remarkably, and without a word of a lie, my controls are back on the right where I am used to them without having done a thing! Awesome

  109. Jack

    Thank you for this. Having the window buttons to the left was one of the first things I noticed after running a live cd of 10.04. It would be in the bin, had I not found this “fix”. Here’s hoping common sense will prevail in future versions of Ubuntu.

  110. Linus

    I hate the new layout. Why do you think I’m here? Moving those buttons to anywhere but top-right is going to cause trouble. I will resist this change as long as I humanly can.

  111. ukjeremyclarke

    Just upgraded to 10.04.

    Wondered what difference buttons on the left would make. Thought I’d try living with it for a bit.

    Then I had to use an old program that runs on Wine. Old program’s buttons were on the right side. Went to close it down: closed a sub-feature not the whole program and spent ten minutes getting my previous settings back.

    So, one more reason why this change is a bad change. Buttons on right by default on future distros, please.

  112. Tomas

    I did NOT enjoy the new layout of buttons, this was a quick and easy fix. Many thanks. And I dislike dark themes in general so I got rid of it, I only prefer my terminals to be dark, but that’s a personal preference I guess.

  113. elle

    To bad that usability, which is an important matter, is taken into account without users in mind.

  114. Rob

    I tried to get used to the new location, but it just wasn’t happening. Thanks for the fix. Otherwise, I love this latest release. Really looks good…..much nicer than Karmic.

  115. milly

    Thanx a million! :)

  116. Jim

    Most Ubuntu users who use another OS use Windows as that other OS. Shifting back and forth from right-to-left is an unnecessary distraction.
    Thanks for the fix.

  117. ionut

    10.04 and not working :(

  118. Trevor Bekolay


    What’s not working? I just did this last night and worked fine…

  119. Faraz

    Thanks Trevor for this.

    I’m not sure if you’ve seen this post:

    Basically changing the location of window button through gconf-editor is discouraged. The recommended way for changing it is through Appearance control as laid out in the above post. I’m copying it here:

    ” The buttons are in the old location on all default themes apart from Ambiance,Radiance and Dust, If you still want the Ambiance ,Radiance or Dust theme but with buttons on the right, choose one of those other themes and use the Customize button to achieve what you want. e.g.
    1. System > Preferences > Appearance
    2. Select the theme icon “New Wave”
    3. Click the button “Customize..”
    4. Select tab “Controls” and select “Ambiance”
    5. Select tab “Window border” and select “Ambiance”
    6. Select tab “Icons” and scroll down and select “Ubuntu-mono-dark”
    7. Select “Save Theme” to your choice.
    Using gconf-editor is not the right approach as this could bork future themes. This change makes it easier for themes to do interesting things with window borders. Unfortunately, if the wrong approach spreads, they won’t be able to do that. “

  120. Peter Pedro

    Thanks but what will happen when the developers add the new options to that part of the window?

  121. Trevor Bekolay

    @ Faraz and Peter Pedro

    This process can easily be undone if you’re worried about future updates.

    Whatever they add to the right part of the window is likely just going to be part of the button_layout string, and when that happens, we’ll probably write an article on how to move that around too.

  122. Steve J

    Thanks for all the advice and comments. Faraz, your explanation is clear but I have a problem with the way the options are presented in Preferences: all the illustrations show the minimise buttons on the right hand side so it is not clear which ones are left or right. Also I want to use Clearlooks, not NewAge. Having a left/right option is great but I think the Team need to make it much clearer to users how to deal with this in the Appearance options. I only found out about it by doing a Google search and finding this forum. I had to the Config Editor option to modify my ClearLooks presentation. Otherwise I am happy with version 10. Cheers.

  123. Mike H

    Changing it to “:maximize,minimize,close” worked great. but now the title bar caption is not fully left justified using the default theme. Any suggestions?

  124. girLette

    Thanks for this simple brilliant guide! It looks crowded having the buttons placed at the left-hand side.

  125. Duke

    dude, last post!

  126. Abdulatif Mahgoub

    Thank you very much for your great effort, BTW the problem is aslo in the 10.04 the Final version!

  127. Sobac Retok

    The movement of the buttons does beg a question, which is:

    “can they be duplicated in BOTH corners to save mouse cursor movement?

    I switch hands to avoid RSI and notice the difference.


    Thanks ! worked great!

  129. Adwait

    I changed it to “menu:minimize,maximize,close” I don’t get the strange theme anomaly… It looks perfect on my machine :)

  130. cz-man

    How can i remove title bar in maximize application?

    Excuse my bad English…

  131. tree line

    Effing A! thanks – the was driving me crazy…

  132. some guy

    Thanks. I can’t stand having them on them left. I appreciate the tip

  133. Stefanos

    I think it is better menu:minimize,maximize,close

  134. Jon


    First thing I’ve done having installed 10.04, even before updates!

  135. Cody

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! The button layout was driving me insane! And I agree with Stefanos. Especially if you grew up learning that horrible OS M$! Plus things like Chromium place the buttons in that order anyways so it’s much easier to not have to switch back and forth.

  136. Krystal

    Thank you so much for this – clear and simple. The great thing about linux systems is how easy it is to configure things like this. The whole debate over whether it was a good idea or not is silly when it only takes 20 seconds to change it if you really don’t like it.

    And I like the colors, but I’m generally a dark theme kinda person plus I love purple. :)

  137. Axe

    It worked perfect! – Just what I was looking for. Added bonus: I didn’t even know gconf-editor existed. thx!

  138. Zero

    Thanks for the tip!

    Love Ubuntu. Hate the left hand mmc buttons. Fine I guess if you flip between MAC and Linux all day long but for the rest of us forced to deal with windoze on a daily basis, really dumb. I already have a menu item added for the gconf editor. Need to get more familiar with it.


  139. vBulletin themes

    My button_layout value:

    Just like on Windows, hehe!

  140. Anandaraman

    Quiet nasty !!!

  141. Mortz

    Thanks a lot. Very helpful. The gconf editor seems to be quite a powerful tool, any pointers as to how to get more familiar with it (other than playing around with it :P)

  142. Zac

    Poor choice by the Ubuntu devs. Thank you for showing us how to switch it back.

  143. John

    There is a simpler way to put the buttons on the top right, which I found by chance.
    Go to System preferences/appearance and select whichever layout you like, there. I chose Clearlooks, and the windows buttons are on the right.
    Now, does anyone know what’s needed to get the super[windows]key+tab to cycle through open windows? My 32 bit version does this, but my 64 bit version doesn’t. Is there anything I can do to make the 64 bit version do the same thing? Thanks

  144. Larry

    Moving the buttons, just to move the buttons, was a pretty lame idea. I’m shocked at those posters who think it was a good idea, OSX or not. I’m just happy that a configuration editor was available and that they could be moved back and I guess that works for anyone else who might like to change the order or whatever. I have to move between OS’s and this one had me tripped up!

  145. Daniel

    First of all, thank you for writing this article.

    Moving such a key UI feature was a horribly bad idea. Making it so difficult to move them back was even worse! Remember that we’re still working on getting people to move over from you-know-who. Breaking such basic UI compatibility will make it even more uncomfortable for those users and add mostly irritation for current users who upgrade and find their UI so radically changed. I realize the use of the word “radical” can seem out of place, but you’re screwing with the place on the screen users move their mouse & look to change windows and that seems radical to me.

    The fact that I had to Google this to correct it only doubles its impact. This should have been changeable via the control center under “window manager” or some such.

  146. ArrayCountry

    Nice Tip, very useful !

  147. Dai

    I didn’t see the point in Ubuntu changing the layout of the window keys, apart from being different from YouKnowWho. However, this change just makes more like a Mac, which I personally don’t get on with. Seems a pointless change, but at least changing the buttons back to their “default” position is relatively easy to do!

    Thanks for a clear, concise and overall excellent post in helping us all to do this.

  148. roze

    I actually like the buttons on the left and i don’t know what i did since im new at using ubuntu 10.4. how can i move them back to the left?

  149. Gigi

    Thanks a lot!

  150. Edyta

    I was searching in many places in ‘Preferences’ and could not find how to move icons to the place where they should be (at least on my desktop :)). First, why it was changed at all, and second, why it is impossible to change the button location from level of ‘Preferences/Appearance’? Btw, based on what pictures in ‘Preferences/Appearance’ shows, the icons are on the right from the beginning :)

    Thanks a lot for the post!

  151. Anil

    Thank you. It is nice post……….

  152. nbilal

    Thanks so much! That was very helpful!

  153. Sameh Saeed

    Many Many Many Many Many thankssssssssssssss

  154. mofongo

    Thank you!

  155. inf_

    Many thanks! I hated the buttons on the left!

  156. ruperts

    Thx. Given the realities of MS Windows being the predominant desktop, and wanting to get traditional MS Windows users to seamlessly move over to Ubuntu, moving the window buttons to the left was simply an ignorant decision.

  157. Fred

    I’m glad this fix is available. Moving the buttons was a small, annoying little change I just didn’t need.

  158. folk

    “You see all those obscure steps you have to go through to change a UI setting? This is why Linux isn’t getting any traction in the average home user market. Any time you want to do something, you have to resort to cryptic methods that most people have no patience or desire for.”

    Haha, try changing this on Windows or OS X. :D And like someone said, this is problem in Gnome, not in KDE.

  159. Pinoguin

    Wow, it really did work quick. Thanks.

  160. iwinton

    Thanks, that change was really annoying. The gnome config editor seems much more usable than it was when I last used it.

  161. cloud21st

    thanks. I was wondering how to move the buttons to right side. Googling retrurned this website at first place and I am happy now :)

  162. David

    You can vote to get the buttons on the right here:

  163. Adrian

    Great advice, clearly put and very effective. One of the most basic standard window features (whatever OS) and I will say that while I want to make the transition to use both MS and linux, this updated “feature” of 10.4 put me off every time until I found this fix. Thanks – I will be returning to see what other hacks and features can be done!

  164. ferrall

    Thankyou very much!!!

  165. James

    Careful if you’re in England – its minimiZe not minimiSe as you’d naturally type.

  166. N7JW

    This works with Ubuntu 10.10, as well.

  167. km

    thank you

  168. Khnum

    thanx for the tip

  169. joe

    Awesome. Works great with 10.10

  170. arturo

    Tried the new Crapintosh-inspired buttons for a few days and ended up hating it. Thanks for showing how to change it!

  171. quiltkitty

    Thank you! That was driving me crazy!

  172. mickleberry

    Works on 10.10 – brilliant. i have to keep finding this every time i reinstall because i forget where it is in the config editor. Like many, i don’t understand the move, as it breaks away from the entire Linux and gnome understanding.. and for what? The developers still haven’t explained what they are thinking. But i love the fact that i can find answers from great sites like howtogeek.

    @Simon’s post made me laugh: “..all those obscure steps you have to go through to change a UI setting? This is why Linux isn’t getting any traction in the average home user market.”

    a) you can’t make a change like this in either windows or mac
    b) appearance is much easier to change in ubuntu than mac osx (where you can’t even change colours) and yet osx has been increasing market share more rapidly than linux (i could be wrong there).
    c) @shane “are you new to the art of trolling” – nice play ;-)

    thanks, michael

  173. ian

    Great Stuff– thanks

  174. Japan Shah

    It works !! nice tutorial !!!

  175. Johnboy

    i am a windows man and have been for sometime now(work choice not personal), but slowly moving to ubuntu… i think having the buttons on the left is different and i actually like it. when i think of ubuntu, i think opposite of windows, and when you have the buttons on the right hand side i just think windows… we need to remember… ubuntu = free and choices (hence you can change it if you wish)… windows = ££££ and you have to follow microsofts rules (or if your good, try to hack it…)

    good tutorial anyway though…. :) keep up the good work!!

  176. RhWalden

    I like the new changes, as a matter of fact, I will use this tip to move the buttons on my older version of Ubuntu to the new format.

  177. Kevin

    The reason they did this was to make things MORE user friendly. Most operating systems have them on the left including Mac, Knoppix, Unix, Most Linux distros, and even the original Windows. Microsoft had to move them when 95 came out so Apple wouldnt sue them for the trademarked GUI. In fact, some people say the next version of Windows will have the buttons removed entirely, and windows will be closed by clicking on the top, or dragging it to the task bar.

  178. chad

    thanks, just used this info to move the buttons back to the left after changing the theme moved them to the right.

    On a widescreen monitor, the controls for a maximized window are kind of out of the way over there on the right. No functional advantage? 10.04 was my first exposure to this scheme and I gave it an honest shot and liked it.

  179. Avenger

    Well, liked the new theme, but yeah wanted my buttons back, thanks, nice tutorial.

  180. Sohail

    Thats fantastic. It works and works great. thanks

  181. Craig Whiffin

    That is so much better. I don’t usually click on the buttons anyway (why have a keyboard if you insist on clicking everything?!), but if I do, it’s nice to have the buttons where I expect them…

  182. Fistro

    i couldn’t get used to new button scheme, so many thanks for your help.

  183. flashlite

    Hmm… the button arrangement isn’t Mac like AT ALL. On Macs, they are close/min/max (I use a WindowBlinds skin on Windows) and here they are max/min/close. So everyone who said stuff about Macs must be lying. I am using Ubuntu on a VM, and I am going to try it now as it is confusing me to death. Thanks!

  184. flashlite

    correction: not must be lying, did not look at the images

  185. blib

    I’m on 10.10 now and they still have the buttons on the left. I guess old habits die hard and I guess they should have read here a little bit.

    I found it frustrating trying to get to this particular configuration to change it, in other flavors it’s easier.(spell checker wants the EU version of flavor :-)


    I really like Ubuntu and this is after trying dozens of other distributions periodically.

    Mac / PC, I’ve got an opinion there but it really doesn’t matter. It’s LINUX after all and it’s FREE and it’s GOOD!

    Thankfully now, I won’t have to suffer with infernal left sided buttons.

  186. Nikola

    Tnx, great post!

  187. Dan

    I am so glad a quick fix was available. I don’t understand why they couldn’t make it a menu-based change like many other things in Ubuntu. Great thing about Linux is that it’s open to change things by yourself. Thank you very much for this post!

  188. M.Hampton


  189. tedtrash

    Excellent instruction. Thank you so much!

    It was a frivolous and maddening change to be sure. Forget that right hand buttons are common to windows. Up until 10.04 they were the standard in Ubunto as well.

  190. unai

    Thanks for the troubleshooter!

  191. feijao

    Thks! It works for me ;)

  192. bill

    to put the minimize button before the maxime type in this !!!


    but otherwise vgood tutorial!!!


  193. Sandy

    Many thanks
    Widows in office ubuntu at home I was getting frustrated

  194. Roddie

    hi, thanks for the tip. I still wonder why they have changed the button location in the first place

  195. josue

    y como se le hace para regresarlos al lado izquierdo???

  196. ron

    Left side is OK for some people. Just put the option to change it in an easily accessible location. Forcing one to have to google how to FIX the buttons back to the right side using gconf-editor does not win converts to ubuntu gnome.

    Same for location bar in nautilus. Put an option in Nautilus to ALWAYS show the location bar again, instead of breadcrumbs.

  197. Jon Rutherford

    Many thanks for this valuable tutorial. I found it months ago and got the buttons put back _where they belong_, but after a more recent fresh installation, I found myself confronted by the awful left-hand placement again — and couldn’t remember just how to do this. So I found you again, and you saved the day — again.

    It’s not just buttons-on-the-left that Ubuntu is throwing at users. There are innumerable little things that end up grating on my nerves, and, as I know from reading, on others’ as well. And, though I realize this is not unique to Ubuntu, after virtually every “update” (whether for security or other reasons), something new breaks, and either seemingly can’t be fixed, or takes precious minutes or hours to deal with. If I knew a better distro to go to, I’d do it. Unfortunately, I don’t, and haven’t even been able to get some of the others to work.

  198. LinuxGuru

    Interesting points of view here. Brief side point before I elaborate….I am one of those freaks that bought my laptop and INSTALLED ubuntu at the store to show off to the customers that it can be done. I have not touched the xxx os for years now…no wine, no virtualbox….nothing from the evil redmond empire on my laptop at all.
    Now on to the main point, I chose linux – ubuntu for many reasons, its free….open source…and vastly more configurable then the ‘dark horse os’s’ that are out there. I’m a hacker/slacker . I know how to command line and bash my way through problems…how to google a quick hack or fix here or there. This is MY system…if I don’t like an aspect of it, how it looks….what apps are installed or whatever…I the user can change it to my whim.
    So….what I’m reading time and time again is that alot of users out there don’t know what they want…they know on what they don’t like….but very few users know what makes them comfortable in there computing experience, such as where the window buttons belong. What I’m reading is “this isn’t like windows wtf?” ….ahem….WERE NOT WINDOWS…and taking some steps to seperate us…at least initially from the compition isn’t a bad idea…it shows that there are other ways to do things… then the ‘company standard’.
    Linux is for people who want to explore and understand there computer more….yes it sucks when your in noob status and you don’t know what to do to ‘fix’ things. Ya, whatever….the first time I ever installed red hat it was offf 6 3.5 floppies and I had to know the stats on my monitor…<including the dreaded verticle refresh rate to manually configure my xorg/xwin…whatever it was back then…settings. Now, autodetect and such seems to work well. There is only one problem I got now with my 'pet joshua' and I am enjoying the hunt and search and hack for a solution.
    You folks really got to ask yourself…WHY are you using linux….is it to be chinky and cheap…or becouse you want to embrace a new and more personal use of your computer. If you don't have a hacker mindset…then "ahem"…linux ain't for you.

  199. Dave

    That’s much better. I was forever closing my Chrome browser instead of clicking the “back” arrow.


  200. dav

    I don’t mind the change, I just wish they had put some configuration option in the ‘customize theme’ area.
    thanks for the fix.

  201. JC

    Ridicules thing to do, appealing to mac users.

  202. vamsyee

    Thx buddy…………….thx 4 d Fix and i am completely loving dis OS(Ubuntu)

  203. Doron

    This works on Ubuntu 10.10. Thanks!

  204. ian

    Great post. Hate buttons on the left , cursor is usually on right for scroll etc

  205. Jared

    This is going to probably make me sounds a little OCD but that’s how I roll. When I moved my buttons to the left, my border text went to the right. How do I get the text to be in the center of the window while still keeping the buttons on the right? Any help is appreciated.

  206. Anthony

    This article is outstanding! Such a simple fix for such an annoying trivial change. I also like how we can like these tips via Facebook – very handy :o)

  207. chamilsanjeewa

    love it

  208. Mang Memed

    Thank you….

  209. Rafael Granado


  210. Wolfechu

    Thanks for the advice, that’s been driving me slightly mad.

  211. bkw

    thanks for posting this. quick and easy. not sure why anyone felt the need to change the button location – but in general, the more ubuntu/firefox emulate mac, the less I like it. But as long as I can change it easily (or with a little help), i don’t mind.

  212. Agenda 21

    WORKS FAST AND EASY, do this:

    [] Open ‘Terminal’

    [] Copy and paste this below line into terminal:

    gconftool -s /apps/metacity/general/button_layout -t string menu:minimize,maximize,close

    [] Press “Enter” key

    done… fast and easy !!


  213. stivekx


  214. csaga

    Thanks the post is very helpful with me!

  215. LisaW

    I’ve never used a Mac and I didn’t particularly care for the buttons being on the left hand side, either. In addition to it being unfamiliar, it also makes it too easy to accidentally click on your menu items.

    You can also change your buttons in the gui by clicking System -> Appearance-> click Customize Button -> click Window Border Tab -> select Inverted. One of the nice things about Ubuntu Linux and also what makes it a good distro for Windows converts is that most things can be done through the cli and the gui.

  216. esgaril

    The new place of the window buttons was pretty annoying. I haven’t used Mac before and I think most of Linux users haven’t done that either so I don’t see the point of this change. It’s strange to everyone, I can’t get used to it so started to use Alt+F4 instead of close button. Thanks for this article, I can start to enjoy my new Ubuntu! But other than this, I like the GUI so far!

  217. dimitris

    just magic!!!!!

  218. dwaallicht

    ooohhh, thanks so much, I feel relieved !

  219. Wukaka


  220. Aris


  221. ubunty

    Thanku so much.

  222. cando

    Thak you for the post, this saved my day.

    The new themes are great, but the placement of the buttons is for right-hand people a mess. Users are trained for decades to handle windows on the right top corner. to move across the whole screen and search for the buttons is a very bad approach! please consider this in the next version and stop experimenting on this. The current settings are an ergonimical nightmare.

  223. stebbl

    Thanks for this article!
    I wasnt upset about the new layout but then i realized, that i alway moved the mouse to the right when maximizing etc.. So this was the first thing to change on my new installed ubuntu 10.10, but i didnt find a way in the system menu. Then i asked google and found this aricle.
    I also changed the order to minimize,maximize,close and the standard theme draws it right!

  224. MacNoob

    First, thanks for this article! :-) very much!

    Moving these buttons to the left is just simply ridiculous. No value whatsoever.
    Good thing there are sites like this one, that will help “not linuxguru’s’ to learn a bit about Linux.
    No one should ask themselves why they use linux. Just be happy you have choice now, and by using it you make statement. Some statements can be cheap and chinky, yes, as we even can see on this site. So what. Rather have expensive and chinky OS? I’ve been on this site several times and I hope many more people will do so. It will help a lot of new Linux users. And to all those new users, The linux community has very helpfull en kind members who are willing to help you. If they are medicated properly. ;-)
    So don’t give up on using Linux if you have some trouble, you made a good choice! Stick with it.

  225. Grn

    Thank you for the article! For those of us that use a laptop touchpad, buttons on the left becomes very physically painful after even a day of use – it’s much further to reach in terms of my standard usage. I don’t mind using the hotkeys, but sometimes if your hand is on the mouse already, it’s hard to avoid reaching up for the top window controls.

  226. Kris

    @Simon (waaaaaay towards the top)

    Sure, you have to take a few steps to make this work, but if you were in Windows, you would have to take the steps and then reboot the system (if something like this was even possible in Windows).

    Anyway, the word “menu” seems to be the key word for moving the buttons to the right side. I modified it a little by doing this: menu:minimize,maximize,close – this makes it the same order as windows.

  227. Mik

    Cheers, thank for that

  228. XD

    mac sucks also this poor and hateful imitation…. i’m so angry., We don’t need to imitate an inferior OS

  229. Clarifile

    Thank you thank you thank you for writing this post! I have to use Windows for work and love using Ubuntu when I can, and this window control button switch was just plain irritating and unnecessary. I’m a huge Linux/Ubuntu fan, but it’s this type of stupid little developer’s decision that reinforces the stereotype of a Linux community that wants to be different for the heck of it. It puts one more little bump in the path of a Windows user becoming familiar with a terrific operating system.

    Anyway, thank you for taking the time to publish this, and for making it so clear and easy.


  230. John

    Thanks for the tip. This is just what I needed.

  231. Louis

    Thanks, made my day!

  232. DesertEagle


    a thousand thanks!

  233. Heidi

    I’m on Ubuntu because my laptop’s internal hard drive is broken, and linux/Ubuntu was the only OS that’ll boot/install to an external hard drive. Honestly, I think I’m going to keep Ubuntu on this computer, even after I replace the Internal hard drive.

    Were the buttons annoying on the left? Sure. Will it put the average Windows user off? Hell to the no! Not when programs pop up instantly after you hit a button! On this same computer, you know how long I wait for Firefox to start up in Windows? 2-4 minutes. How long do I wait for Firefox to start up in Ubuntu? Timing by my watch, 1 second. With stuff like that, I’d love to install Ubuntu on all my computers and call it a night. Unfortunately, I like to play the Sims 3, which I don’t think comes on a Ubuntu system just yet. I also am a bit lazy about getting around to configuring the network system to work with my father’s Windows computers (it only will access the Windows network on a wired connection. Go figure!).

    Honestly, I don’t see why some people are claiming people *wouldn’t* choose Ubuntu over Windows simply because of the button placement. The only reason I could see my father not making the switch is Ubuntu doesn’t support every computer out there fresh out of the box. Which is also what I assume makes Ubuntu capable of launching my programs in 1 second.

  234. catalin

    Thanks verry much.
    It worked perfectly :)

  235. Tuga

    Thank you very much, my Ubuntu set up is now perfect!!

  236. Nirmal

    its very usefull. Thank U…..

  237. Tom

    Nice. Thanks. The single most annoying change in 10.04, now that’s I’ve finally gotten around to updating my 8.04 install. Took me forever to get around to installing the update, but my 8.04 just worked, day in and day out since I installed it almost 3 years ago.

  238. Zac

    Thanks, I have no idea why they put those option on the left as default its a pity changing it back involve so much inside knowledge when a left/right tick box in the display options would be simpler and more intuitive.

  239. Greg

    Thank you.

  240. richard

    thank you !! newbie to ubuntu an ex windows user, thanks for your expertise. How To Geek is so informing., goes good with my favourite cup of coffee after reading my emails., How To Geek is now one of my daily staples!

  241. SarnXero

    Don’t you ever let those damn mac-***s tell you programmers where to put your buttons ever again!!
    Yes leave the option to change it to be however the user wants. But leave it the way 95% of the world is used to using.

  242. Kavi

    Thanks for the nice fix!!!! The theme is Awesome!!!

  243. Wolfgang SNAFU

    One of the GOOD things about Windows is the consistent user interface and the fact that it’s basics CANNOT be modified by the (average) user.

    In this sense Linux sucks by nature; and thanks GNOME (Ubuntu?) it is getting worse.

  244. ami

    thnx a lot :)

  245. stine

    Thanks. Surely they would have made that an option in their windows manager GUI? Hell, they could even put a dragbutton next to the windows buttons and allow you to drag them horizonally in the title bar.

  246. vman


  247. ocoloco

    Thanks very much mate, that was really helpful and well explained.

  248. ammar bozorgvar


  249. Bejaysus

    Trevor you sir, are a gent! This was one of my little annoyances with Ubuntu Linux that I couldn’t shake. Thanks for the article!

  250. WhollyFool

    Thanks very much for this article. While I appreciate that lefties finally get something their way for a change, I’m not left handed and this was killing me.

    Also thanks for introducing me to the coniguration editor. Very useful!

  251. compulsiveguile

    Good stuff, man. Even as a Mac guy, this always seemed a little off in Ubuntu 10.10. Glad to see the tweak was simple, and same as the guy above, it was my first intro to the config editor.

    A year later, and the post is still relevant… Thanks!

  252. Fahad

    thanks for the how-to, it might actually be a good idea to have those button on left hand side, close to other menus but i tried to train myself for a couple of days, but my muscle memory developed over ~15 years take my mouse pointer to top right corner whenever i try to close/resize a window. its kind of annoying so i decided to change the location to the right

  253. EV

    Thank you. This drove me crazy for about a week. Took longer to find this page than it did to fix.

  254. zwe

    Hey,i am glad having this solution.I am the same as EV.

  255. nolatux

    This is a great fix however when the current window is expanded, the buttons still revert to the left. It seems like Ubuntu/Meta-city want to make window button repositioning, a non-negotiable issue for users.

  256. Stephen

    I tried the left buttons for a few weeks on a new install, but it’s just too annoying if you use any other OS or version of Ubuntu on a regular basis.

    If they’re going to arbitrarily move stuff around, why not just put them in the middle of the bar?

  257. Tired

    I hate the buttons on the left. Makes for so much more mouse movement, as someone pointed out. If I’ve finished scrolling on a vertical scroll bar I have to traverse the whole width of the window to close it!

  258. Carlo

    Really, really useful !!! thanks a lot !!

  259. katie

    I just took a Mac os10x s class. I loved the way the mac was setup and a lot of the features. However the minimize, maximize, close windows really got me. My brother recently setup an Ubuntu machine for me and the buttons on the left side are to confusing. So we found this side and made modifications to them. 1) put them on the right side 2) changed the order to match a windows machine. So far Ubuntu is very similar to a mac! Thank you

  260. KISS

    gconftool -s apps/metacity/general -t string menu:maximize,minimize,close

  261. vasanth

    Great Post, it works ……………

  262. Amalka

    thank yoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  263. Hany

    Many thx it works on Fedora 14

  264. Jaddis

    Thanks so much for the tip. That was driving me crazy.

  265. China Mike

    I noticed someone named Heidi said something about people not choosing Ubuntu over Wind XX because of the left/right button placement, I seriously doubt that. Also, I think the person who would be interested IN using an Linux system over Win would “most likely” realize they would be able to fix/change something around as simple as button layout.

    Also, Ubuntu is the first Linux system I have found that does it this way–I saw references to some OS in Apple? (never, EVER touch/mess with ANY manufacture that makes proprietary stuff–Sony, Apple to name TWO on my HATE list) that has them on the left (communists!). I simply had to move them on my Ubuntu (Oh! Big thanks for this guide by the way!!!) because it/was just so irritating to pause, yes, even for 2-3 seconds before I realized everything is on the left to close/minimize.

    Certain things should be standard in this world. And the buttons on closing windows on ANY OS should always be in the RIGHT corner, because it’s what we grew up with. You don’t see American car manufactures suddenly putting their steering columns on the LEFT do you? By the way, I lived in mainland China for five years (plan to return later this year) and it was very interesting to say the least, watching mainland Chinese and Hong Kong drivers going to each other’s side of the fence–if you didn’t know, Hong Kong is set up with British drive system and mainland China is like USA. Needless to say there are numerous fender benders daily within miles of the border! :)

  266. jsl

    nice tip, i always seem to fall back to this page when i forget the proper order menu:maximize,minimize,close of fixing this problem

    seems this blog has been going on for over a year now, hope Mark and his posse has been taking note of this blog, everyone hates left side buttons

    and sofar everyone seems to be displeased with Unity, especially the fact Unity is not customizable as of yet.

    If your going to change everything, at least let us be able to customize it back the way “we” like it.
    and we will keep using it. and if not. we’ll move on!

    Ubuntu should never forget that!

  267. s c

    Thanks much. I was avoiding upgrading to Lucid Lynx because I put it on another machine and the button layout drove me nuts (along with the fact that it looks too Mac-like). Last night I was forced to upgrade or be left with an unsupported OS. Next step, customise the rest of the look-and-feel. I liked my old layout :(

  268. Ethan

    Thanks loads, I wasn’t sure whether or not this would work on Ubuntu 11.04, but it does, thanks again, it feels much more natural for a person used to Windows.

  269. Dave

    Thanks for this, very much appreciated.

  270. Kim

    Thanks again!

  271. downlz

    Preserve the natural look just punch in :minimize,maximize,close Works on ubuntu 11.04

  272. Demolishun

    Man, this saved me again! I always have to look this up and I always seem to find this very article. Talk about leveraging yourself to the max!

    Thanks for being such a stud!

  273. Lindsay

    Hrrumph!! I’m 70 years old, have been using Linux since it was just a CLI OS (v1.x.x) and am NOT happy with all the newfangled eye-candy, dickering with the positions of things, etc.! If I have to use a GUI, I prefer things NOT to be changing all the time. I’m using Ubuntu 11.04. Bah! It’s a major PITA to have to go and dig up information on all the things I have to do to make the GUI work the way I expect it to.

    Bah!!! Oh well, I guess I’ll let it be for now. Time to go take my meds.

  274. Jeff

    Thanks so much for posting this! Since I have to use Windows on a daily basis, helps to have the buttons the same.

  275. Jass

    Great tip..! Thanks a lot..

  276. romanr

    Thank You dude!

  277. sreekumar

    thanks for this information and great man u are.

  278. Nikhil

    Thanks, i am big fan of ubuntu and my system just got better with this change.

  279. jasiok

    Thanks a lot! Actually used this excellent tip to… change the buttons back to the left, after a recent update has flushed them all to the right, to my annoyance.

    No, I’m not willing to imitate Mac system (it’s too bright for the eye), I just think Mac had it all right when they put the buttons on the left in the first place. For people like me, who most of the time read in left-to-right languages (I don’t know about the rest of you guys :-P) – the logical flow of the eye on the window starts at the left top corner and that’s where I expect to find, yes, the close button, simply beacuse the one I use most often. As for the “menu” button, which now annoyingly appears there by default, it is something I only inadvertantly click on from time to time and am not quite sure I really need it… I let it sit on the right side of the window now and am perfectly happy with it. So, guys, no Mac/Windows symathies or animosities – just think practical, think functional. Cheers!

  280. Dave

    Thank You VERY much for this tip. I am really more comfortable with the buttons on the right hand side of the window. It seems like it’s been there since the very earliest GUI days.

    I think I could have gotten used to it on the left and maybe even more easily were I solely using the Linux box but this gives some consistancy and takes some of the thought out of it.

    Great Tip!

  281. Gizmocuz

    Don’t mind the change, but this should be easily done/possible inside the theme manager.

  282. Ernie

    thank you!!

  283. metalmaus

    unfortunatelly on 11.04 with Gnome 2.32.1 it doesn’t work

  284. foolyfools

    that was easy! thanks!

  285. John Penrose

    Hello i have just moved my buttons from left to right in chromium under ubuntu 11.04 but there is no close button,just minimize and maximize,any ideas please on how to get the close button as well ?
    thank you.

  286. Roy

    Very useful tutorial, thanks!

  287. Raghu

    Thanks i was looking for this

  288. jon88

    ubuntu 10.4 , it„s working thx

  289. George

    Just did this ins Ubuntu 11.10. Worked great however I had to logout and back in before the change was applied.

  290. Silviu

    Thanks for this. I hate the new buttons arrangement.

  291. zhangyupan

    thinks! 谢谢!

  292. s

    Great. Precise. Thanks.

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