I would like to disable Compiz in Natty (Ubuntu Classic). I have tried to access this through System > Preferences > Appearance but the "Visual Effects" tab is no longer there.

On previous releases the following gconf key makes the switch:


Value to have visual effects off: metacity

Value to have visual effects on: compiz

On Natty this key is set to gnome-wm which seems to have a lot of added eyecandy (effects/shading) as opposed to metacity in the previous release, and which I would like to turn off.

  • 1
    Sorry, that works in previous versions. In Natty it says gnome-wm and I don't see anywhere where I can turn off shading and effects. I would expect this to be an option that can be accessed graphically.
    – komputes
    Mar 29, 2011 at 16:25
  • I don't have any answer but Komputes question is more than clear. How do you disable Compiz in Natty (Ubuntu Classic)? I also would like to know. And I would prefer not having to logout and login again.
    – user13882
    Apr 8, 2011 at 16:43
  • Have you tried running:
    – bntser
    Apr 10, 2011 at 3:02

5 Answers 5


The easiest way is to use the session that's there to do exactly what you want. ;-)

  • Log out.

  • At the GDM login screen choose the Ubuntu Classic (No effects) session:

    enter image description here

  • Log in.

    → You will be in a classic GNOME session without Compiz. Subsequent logins will use this session as default.

  • Using GNOME+Metacity (classic no effects) still seems to have advanced visual effects (shading, click app from panel does zoom icon effect, alt-tab shoes window thumbnail instead of icon).
    – komputes
    May 23, 2011 at 15:04
  • any idea how we can get this working in 12.04? Seems like half the settings are now helpfully missing. Jun 21, 2012 at 11:41

If you don't have some other reason to believe that compiz is running (double check with ps aux | grep compiz), then it sounds like your real question is "what's the relationship between gnome-wm and metacity?" or "how do I turn off shading and effects in Natty?" (Both very good questions, if you ask me.)


You would add metacity --replace at startup applications.

  1. Open it

  2. Add

    metacity --replace
  • Yes, it do works.
    – desgua
    Apr 9, 2011 at 20:14
  • Broken link to image. Place provide an updated link or new image. Oct 16, 2018 at 3:26
  • i did have to install the metacity window manager first i.e., sudo apt install metacity , then afterwards metacity replace to replace the current window manager i.e., compiz . if you wanna switch back to compiz just simply execute compiz --replace .. one thing to note that i wanted to replace the current window manager ; so that igi2 can work , when i switched to metacity -without killing the compiz process in the background- the game worked like charm
    – polendina
    Mar 4, 2021 at 7:29
  • It used to come pre-installed back in the day.
    – desgua
    Mar 4, 2021 at 16:55
  • metacity wasn't installed on my elementary os 6 hera , yet one thing to note that i was mistaken when i said compiz was still running as a daemon , when executing either compiz --replace or metacity --replace the other window manager stop working entirely , not handling the job to the new window manager and keep pointlessly running in the background
    – polendina
    Mar 6, 2021 at 16:42

I would try a different and very simple approach. When you log in before entering you password you have some options in the bottom bar, select "Ubuntu classic (no effects)" and that's it, it will not use compiz. And in your nexts logs it will pre-select as default that option.

Formerly you just had to disable effects and that will be the end of using Compiz. Clicking right button over Desktop background in the last tab.

Hope it helps.


Install the package fusion-icon (found in the repositories).

You can run the icon from Applications -> System tools -> Compiz Fusion icon. It will allow you to enable or disable compiz on the fly (replacing it with metacity, for instance)

  • 1
    By far the best answer provided you want to switch back and forth without closing your session (and as the appearance tabs previously allowed).
    – vaab
    Oct 30, 2011 at 14:44
  • Installing fusion-icon (0.1.0-3ubuntu1) requires the installation of the package python-conpizconfig which is not authenticated and raises a warning flag (Ubuntu 14.04 LTS) Jan 6, 2018 at 10:38

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