Just picked up a precision 5510 loaded with 14.04. Everything is pretty smooth but for some reason the super key does not work ( checked with xev, it works). I downloaded the unity tweak tool and it doesn't register when I try to change the search to use the super key.

5 Answers 5


Dell installs a package dell-super-key that disables this behavior. I did the following to get my super key functioning:

  1. Uninstall dell-super-key:

    sudo apt-get remove dell-super-key
  2. Install Compiz Config Settings Manager:

    sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager
  3. Set super key as the option to start the launcher

    Image link to show the menu in Compiz Config

  • 9
    What's the dell-super-key package about? The package info has a one-sentence description "Disables the super key by default". Why in the world would they do this?
    – Reece
    May 11, 2016 at 5:03
  • 3
    Yes, this is the dumbest design decision I have seen in a few months. Let's make an awesome native Linux distro. Oh wait, let's write an app that takes away one of the key features. "But why?" Because it's the opposite of what they'll expect us to do.
    – neuronet
    Jun 3, 2016 at 2:29
  • 1
    ... does anyone have any idea actually why though? it seems totally nonsensical, and even bad design decisions aren't usually totally nonsensical
    – G. Meyer
    Oct 6, 2016 at 21:38
  • 4
    @G.Meyer askubuntu.com/a/758193/309061 claims there are legal reasons.
    – GKFX
    May 11, 2017 at 21:38
  • Don't forget to restart (or maybe just logout) after the final step for this to take effect.
    – Garrett
    Jul 18, 2021 at 8:20

I had this same issue with my new XPS13 that came pre-installed with 16.04. Dell has an official support page which explains how to remap the super key to open the dashboard.

How to enable the Ubuntu super key on Dell OEM Ubuntu installations

The Dell OEM Ubuntu operating system allows for the set-up of a Super key, which will function similar to the Windows key or start menu button on the Windows operating system. This article walks you through enabling and configuring the use of this super key on computers with the Dell OEM Ubuntu operating system installed.

How to enable the Ubuntu super key

You may find that the Super key on the keyboard which is generally used to open the Start Menu on windows machines or the Ubuntu Dash (menu) on Dell OEM Ubuntu installations does not function upon boot. Dell is unable to ship OEM Ubuntu systems with the Super key enabled on non-Windows operating systems.

The guide below provides one method to enable the menu button and map its function to open the dash.

  1. Open a Terminal (Figure 1):

    Figure 1: Open Terminal

  2. Remove the package named dell-super-key with the following command (Figure 2):

    sudo apt-get remove dell-super-key –y

    Enter the user password when prompted and confirm the install by pressing y on the keyboard.

    Figure 2: Remove dell super key package

  3. Next install a utility that will map the super key’s function to open the Dash menu by typing in the following command (Figure 3):

    sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager -y

    Figure 3: Map the open Dash menu

  4. Remove the input rule that blocks the super key from being mapped with the following command (Figure 4):

    sudo rm –rf /usr/share/gconf/defaults/40_oem-superkey-workaround

    Figure 4: Remove input rule

  5. Reboot the computer and log in.

  6. Open ccsm by searching for it in the Dash the same way we opened the terminal in step 1.

  7. In CCSM, also known as Compiz Config Settings Manager, find the Ubuntu Unity Plugin under the Desktop category as shown (Figure 5):

    Figure 5: CCSM Ubuntu Unity Plugin

  8. Next, disable the launcher’s current mapping by following the steps below (Figure 6):

    1. Click on the Launcher tab.
    2. Click on the button to the right of the first option labeled key to show the dash.
    3. On the Edit Key dialogue box, un-check the Enabled setting.
    4. Click OK.

    Figure 6: Disable launcher current mapping

  9. Finally, to enable the super key’s Dash function, follow the steps below (Figure 7):

    1. Click on the button to the right of the first option labeled key to show the dash.
    2. Re-check the Enabled setting in the Edit Key dialogue box.
    3. Click on the Super button so that it is highlighted green.
    4. Confirm the example mapping displayed shows < Super >.
    5. Click OK.

    Figure 7: Enable super key dash function

  10. Now test the super key to see that it opens the Dash Menu.

I'm assuming the process will be the same for 14.04.

  • 4
    Could you please add the steps here?
    – Zanna
    Feb 6, 2017 at 23:20
  • 1
    This site actually gives the most comprehensive answer but as @Zanna says, it would be best if you posted the steps directly to this site.
    – onyinyang
    Apr 4, 2017 at 3:54

Before you can configure the setting in compizconfig-settings-manager, you need to enable the 'unityshell' plugin. To do that, go to preferences -> Plugin List and disable 'Automatic plugin sorting'. Then move the 'unityshell' plugin over to the enabled side. Leave preferences and search for unity. The settings are there.


There's a scripted way to enable the super key without installing compizconfig-settings-manager

sudo rm -rf /usr/share/gconf/defaults/40_oem-superkey-workaround
sudo apt-get remove -y dell-super-key
dconf reset /org/compiz/profiles/unity/plugins/unityshell/show-launcher

To launch the compizconfig-settings-manager, you need to run the ccsm command. Then, as said by Matthew, you have first to enable the unityshell in 'Preferences -> Plugin list'. Then set the Super key to start the lancher and disable back the unityshell plugin. Indeed, on my machine, the unityshell plugin was hiding the titles of my windows making things unusable.

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