Yes, I have seen the other similar questions; if this is a duplicate please link me to the question that answer this, because none of them appear to; all appear to only address (1) of the two issues below:

There are TWO times when the sidebar will magically vanish:

1) By default when you move your cursor off it and focus on a different app.

This is fixable by setting the auto hide behaviour, as described here: How to make the Unity launcher always visible?

2) When you move a window over / under it, or maximize a window.

Even when the autohide setting is 'never' this will cause the sidebar to mysterious decide to hide itself. In fact, it doesn't appear what settings you change, this behaviour refuses to change.

This is extremely undesired behaviour.

I'm using a stock standard 11.10 install.

I've ALSO uploaded a video to youtube showing this not working in a virtual machine here:


The steps to reproduce are very simple:

  1. Install ubuntu on virtual box (do not enable 3d acceleration)
  2. Set the hide behaviour

I can confirm that the setting DOES work when you swap to unity 3D. To reproduce:

  1. Install guest addons
  2. Stop your virtual machine
  3. Enable 3D acceleration
  4. Restart~

In summary, this seems to be an issue in unity 2d, not unity 3d. However, I still want a solution if anyone knows one. I run ubuntu as a vm in lots of situations and 3D acceleration is not always available.



2 Answers 2


There are a couple of dconf settings you can use to control the launcher auto-hide capabilities.

12.04 & 11.10

To make the launcher always visible:

dcom write /com/canonical/unity-2d/launcher/use-strut true
dcom write /com/canonical/unity-2d/launcher/hide-mode 1


In 12.04 you can control this behaviour in a GUI.

enter image description here

As the picture shows - firefox overlaps the launcher but the launcher doesnt hide because the default is not to autohide.

Linked Question:

  1. How do I configure Unity 2D?

In CCSM choose unity plugin - hide launcher - choose never

this work for me in 11.10

  • You've actually tried this? You drag the window over the edge and the sidebar does not vanish? Does the window go under the sidebar, or over it? This is not the behaviour is see in a clean fresh brand new 11.10 install which has literally been installed and then had the compiz config installed and the sidebar changed to 'never' on the hide.
    – Doug
    Nov 24, 2011 at 13:03
  • Already answered here askubuntu.com/a/43708/34751
    – skumara
    Nov 30, 2011 at 1:53
  • it really isnt.
    – Doug
    Nov 30, 2011 at 6:20

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