Posts Tagged ‘nautilus’

customize your ubuntu desktop using gconf-editor

December 2, 2008 2 comments

I think you would have heard about the customization power of linux distributions.Now let us see the customization power of ubuntu and similar distributions with GNOME desktop.For these tweaks no coding would be necessary,you just have to know how to use your keyboard and mouse.

If there is one single place for all your customization needs then it would be gconf-editor.Open gconf-editor window pressing alt+F2 in your desktop a “Run Application” window will appear type gconf-editor in the window that appears and click Run.Now gconf-editor window will appear.It is here we are going to customize our ubuntu desktop.There are tons and tons of features available now we will look at some most looked features.But before editing a key make a bookmark of those keys.



By default in ubuntu desktop there is no home or computer icon available.Most users wanted to have their home folder icon,computer icon and trash icon available on their desktop.To do this go to:/->apps->nautilus->desktopIn the right pane you will see several options.There you can click the checkbox next to computer_icon_visible to have your computer icon on your desktop,click the checkbox next to home_icon_visible to have your home icon on your desktop,it same for the trash icon and network icons.You can also note that you can also change your icon names from the same place.To change the name double click on the key for which you want to change the name,an “Edit Key” window will appear select the type as string and give the name you wish and select ok.

some users might want to make their desktop look clean and they do not want any mounted volumes visible on the desktop.For this go to the same place as above,


and there will be a key named volumes_visible at the bottom which is checked by default,uncheck it to make your desktop clean.

Now some users wanted to change the location of the close,minimise,maximise buttons of an application window to the right as in mac os.To do this go to the location:


In the right pane you will see a key named button_layout.the value of the key would be menu:minimize,maximize,close by default.To make the buttons to come to the right simply modify this as close,maximize,minimize:menu and another important thing is that you can put close,maximize,minimize in any order and the buttons would appear in that order it’s this simple.

For those users who have resource constraint system and installed ubuntu,there is a key available in the same place as above:


Named as reduced_resources.If this key is set to true your ubuntu system will use less resources for example when moving your application window,it uses wireframe instead of moving the whole application window.Here you have to sacrifice some usability,but it will be useful for low end systems.

Another most wanted feature is giving name for your workspaces.For this move to:


in the right pane you can give name for your workspaces by editing the key and giving your name in the value field.

Now you can make the names visible in the workspace switcher by editing the key:


and there would be many submenus from applet_0 to some applet_20.Find the one which has a submenu to it as prefs for me it was applet_17 it may vary for you depending on number of applets installed.

To the right pane there will be a key named display_workspace_names check the box next to it,to have names of your workspace visible in the workspace switcher.Now you can directly right click the workspace switcher applet and select preferences and you can see some extra options available as in fedora system.

And there are tons of features available which might be useful for you,and you can play around in your own now.But make sure what you are doing while editing important system keys as you might render your system to become unstable.

WARNING:make sure to backup your settings or when you edit a key bookmark the key’s location.This would be very useful when you mess up with these settings

UPDATE: Gconf-editor is now being phased out in gnome as the configuration settings are migrated from Gconf to Gsettings. There is a similar new tool called dconf-editor to manage the configuration settings in Gnome.This tool should be used to modify the configuration settings and if the key you are looking for is not listed here,you can look for it in Gconf-editor. Ubuntu doesn’t include Gconf-editor and dconf-editor by default from Ubuntu 11.04. To install it look for it by package name in software center or enter the following command in the terminal.

sudo apt-get install dconf-editor

for installing gconf-editor replace dconf-editor with gconf-editor in the above command.