According to http://wiki.compiz.org/CCSM#line-108, the settings could be saved at one of the following places:

  • GConf
  • KConf (not applicable in a default Ubuntu 12.10 installation I guess)
  • INI configuration file (located in ~/.config/compiz/compizconfig)

In particular, I'm looking for the unityshell plugin settings. E.g. the panel opacity. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find all of those settings.

"Most" settings seem to be present in GConf, in apps/compiz-1/plugins. But the unityshell plugin isn't present in that directory.

The ~/.config/compiz/compizconfig/config file is present (it seems to be automatically created when I start unity), but it remains empty.

The ~/.compiz-1/metadata/unityshell.xml file seems to enumerate all options I'm looking for, but those are the default values, probably not necessarily the active options.

~/.cache/compizconfig-1/*.pb seems to contain all options, but those are binary files, and since it's a cache, I doubt this is Compiz' location to permanently store its configuration.

DConf also showed a few Compiz settings under org/compiz, but again, not everything.


Thanks in advance for the information!

2 Answers 2


All the settings related to Unity and Compiz are stored in the directory~/.config/dconf/ as a binary file user.

If you are looking to modifying the settings using the configuration file, you can't quite achieve that as it is stored as a binary file and is not human-readable. If tweaking the settings is your motive, I would suggest you use a configuration tool like Unsettings for that.

  • Thanks. I did come across that file indeed. Isn't that file editable with dconf-editor? Because as I wrote, DConf doesn't seem to contain anything I'm looking for. And yes, I will need a way to programmatically alter those settings, but in the case of DConf that shouldn't be a major problem.
    – Eti
    Jan 22, 2013 at 14:38
  • 1
    It is a binary file and is probably editable by a hex editor rather that dconf-editor. If you are looking to programmatically manipulate the settings, I would suggest using the gsettings API for that. Where the settings are stored is pretty much irrelevant.
    – jokerdino
    Jan 22, 2013 at 14:52
  • Alright, thanks for the information. But using the gsettings command, I still can't find anything else besides what I found with dconf-editor. Maybe it's because I left the default values unchanged? Maybe the settings aren't stored until they are actually changed... I'll take a closer look at it later on.
    – Eti
    Jan 22, 2013 at 15:43
  • 1
    Well yes, you need to have a value different from what is default for all the relocatable schemas' setting.
    – jokerdino
    Jan 22, 2013 at 16:00

I got here looking for a way to backup my compiz configuration and to transfer it to new computers I get, since I like to have my custom config in all of them.

Although I think to remember that @jokerdino 's answer has worked for me at some point, I've recently tried it and I didn't get any config transfer. So I've come with a better and more standard solution to do this:

How to transfer compiz configuration between computers

(Tested in Ubuntu 16.04 and Ubuntu 17.04)

You should have installed the CompizConfigSettings Manager utility, if you don't, install it right straight with: sudo apt install ccsm

Then, go to Preferences > Profile > Export and save it in a usb pendrive, in the cloud or somewhere you have access from your other device.

Then, proceed to your brand new computer. Make sure you have installed ccsm and the same compiz plugins you have in your other computers (for example, I use 'Put' plugin with isn't in compiz-plugins-default, so I have to install compiz-plugins-extra). Similarly, go to Preferences > Profile > Import and select the recently exported profile from the other computer.

You don't even need to log out and log in! All your compiz configuration should be up and running.

Let me know any issues you face using this method.

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