I have recently created an Ubuntu 12.04 partition on my Windows 7 laptop. When installing it, I switched to "high contrast" mode, which has rather large cursors (by large I mean about twice as large and thick as they should normally are).

Now I have successfully installed the partition, the large cursors have stuck around even after exiting this high contrast mode, but only when I am hovering over stuff e.g. hovering over text inputs, links, and when resizing windows. All of these cursors are too large. They cursor is only normally sized when the computer should be displaying the normal mouse pointer.

Does anyone know how I might go about fixing this?


6 Answers 6


I would suggest you update your cursor theme and cursor size.

First in a terminal type:

sudo update-alternatives --config x-cursor-theme

enter image description here

Choose the number of the theme you want - e.g. 0 for DMZ-White

Changing the value here requires a reboot - a logout and login will not suffice.

Secondly, using dconf-editor (install using sudo apt-get install dconf-tools)

enter image description here

navigate to org.gnome.desktop.interface

change the cursor size to 24 and cursor theme to DMZ-White

  • Thank you very much! That would have driven me to insanity after a couple more hours.
    – Tom
    Apr 27, 2012 at 23:21
  • 3
    The location has changed in 14.04 (I used CTRL-F to find \cursor-size) but I find the value is reset after a reboot? Apr 2, 2015 at 8:03
  • Weird that these kind of mouse settings don't come up in System Settings->Mouse and Touchpad!
    – neuronet
    Jul 11, 2016 at 12:43
  • update-alternatives: error: cannot stat file '/etc/alternatives/x-cursor-theme': Too many levels of symbolic links Dec 13, 2016 at 1:20
  • 4
    Doesn't work on Ubuntu 18.04. Sep 17, 2018 at 23:58

For a command-line / automated way of doing it, try:

dconf write /org/gnome/desktop/interface/cursor-size 48

Works for me on Ubuntu 16.04.

In 18.04 LTS there is a new key. The following still works for me in 19.10 (I'll report back if it persists or not...)

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface cursor-size 48
  • 1
    for 16.04 I suggest using unity tweak tool, as per this question
    – xdavidliu
    Mar 13, 2018 at 20:23
  • 1
    Does not persist on 16.04.
    – Steve3p0
    Apr 26, 2018 at 2:37
  • 1
    Doesn't work on 18.04. Sep 17, 2018 at 23:58
  • 1
    Ubuntu 16.04 name has changed: gsettings get org.gnome.desktop.interface cursor-size Nov 20, 2019 at 2:53
  • 2
    Neither works in 19.10
    – exebook
    Jan 15, 2020 at 12:38

it's very clunky, but do-able.

  1. Download your favorite cursor theme from Gnome Look or other sources, and untar it in the folder you downloaded.
    enter image description here
  2. Next, open a terminal and type sudo nautilus and a Root Nautilus will launch. BE VERY CAREFUL DELETING AND MOVING FILES IN IT enter image description here
  3. Now, go to your downloads folder (from the Root Nautilus you just opened) and copy the folder of the downloaded cursor theme (not the .tar archive)
  4. After doing so, go to /usr/share/icons and paste the folder of the cursors. but don't close it just yet. enter image description here
  5. Within the 'icons' folder you'll see a 'default' folder - open it - and open the 'index.theme' file (in gedit, in-case it doesn't open automatically), and change the theme name to the name of the cursor folder you copied (for example: 'neutral'). save and close the file. enter image description here enter image description here
  6. Almost done. Now install Gnome/Unity Tweak Tool and change the cursor theme within them. enter image description here In the Gnome Tweak Tool it look like this: enter image description here
  7. Log out and log back in and you're set.

Truly Canonical and the Ubuntu community need to do some work for this in terms of End-User customization, but bottom line is that this works.

  • Upvote for this. However I got stopped at step 1. This answer says to download my favorite mouse theme. Huh?
    – SDsolar
    May 3, 2018 at 1:32
  • changing cursor theme (xx-large cursor : gnome-look.org/p/999574 ) was the only thing that worked for me on a lxde desktop (the setting cursor-size in .config/settings.ini having no effect whatsoever )
    – mikakun
    May 31, 2019 at 8:31

Check your mouse theme using the dconf-editor:

  1. Install the package dconf-tools Install dconf-tools
  2. Run dconf-editor

  3. Navigate to org.gnome.desktop.interface and check the mouse cursor settings:

enter image description here

DMZ-White should be set as the theme. Then log out and back in and see if you still have the problem.


  • Thanks, but this didn't work for me.
    – A B
    Dec 4, 2011 at 8:59
  • On my Linux 3.0.0-14, Ubuntu 11.10, metacity 2.34.1 system, using dconf-tools to change the cursor-size number changes the cursor size in several kinds of windows, such as in firefox, gnome-terminal, pan, thunderbird, but does not change its size in emacs, dconf-editor, tool bar, et al Dec 18, 2011 at 2:01
  • The application of cursor theme isn't consistently handled in 11.10. Changes as above indeed don't impact the normal cursor pointer but do take effect in some cases like when hovering over a link or within a text entry field both the cursor size and theme set in dconf are used not for the cursor displayed while moving around the screen.
    – fragos
    Jan 6, 2012 at 2:45
  • this gets reset after reboot in 16.04
    – xdavidliu
    Mar 13, 2018 at 20:10
  • Upvote for the command and thorough screenshots. But if it gets reset at boot it will only last until the next software update. Darn.
    – SDsolar
    May 3, 2018 at 1:33

Try change the setting in gconf-editor (Alt F2, gconf-editor). It is either under



  • doesn't work for me. Are there another solutions?
    – user20959
    Oct 14, 2011 at 15:07
  • Thanks, but this didn't work for me.
    – A B
    Dec 4, 2011 at 8:58
  • Are they the same option (symlinked), or different ones?
    – lindhe
    Jun 23, 2017 at 8:05

enter image description heresudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool

Then change its cursor Theme. in Apperance

  • 1
    And how do you change the size there? Nov 21, 2021 at 8:44

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