I know I can edit gconf to move the [Minimize,Maximize,Close] buttons back to the right-hand side, but is there a way to do this for all users?

Ideally at install time so I don't have to explain this to every user every time I set up a new machine.

4 Answers 4


gconf-editor has an option to do this. Just right-click on a value you want to set for all users, and click "Set Default". PolicyKit will open and ask you for your password. After that every new user will have that value.

  • This is really good to know, but I accepted ParanoiaPuppy's answer as that one has the virtue of being scriptable.
    – jbowtie
    Jul 29, 2010 at 19:52

I don't know about install time, but when new users are created, the files from /etc/skel are copied to the new home directory. You could add a file


with the contents

<?xml version="1.0"?>
<entry name="button_layout" mtime="1273173410" type="string">

to /etc/skel.

Or you could create the perfect user-setup (let's name him perfectuser) on a new account, and replace




in /etc/adduser.conf.

That way, each new user you create would have the same configuration as perfectuser.

Maybe the install CD could also be modified in a similar way?

To change the setting for all users, you could write a script that adds

<entry name="button_layout" mtime="1273173410" type="string">

to all /home/[user]/apps/metacity/general/%gconf.xml.


Download UbuntuTweak go to Window Manager Settings and click "Right"

Edit: I'm not exactly sure if this does it for all users but it is easy.

  • I may advise certain users to do this as switching themes can sometimes cause the buttons to shift back to the left. But I'm sure it doesn't work for all users.
    – jbowtie
    Jul 29, 2010 at 21:11

For people arriving late like me when the above solutions may not work anymore, you can also use gsettings for this:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.wm.preferences button-layout 'appmenu:minimize,maximize,close'



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