After I installed the GNOME shell in Ubuntu, I decided that I didn't like having the "Close/Minimize/Maximize" buttons on the right, so I switched them over to the left using

gconftool-2 --set "/apps/metacity/general/button_layout" --type string "close, minimize, maximize:"

After resetting the shell, however, I found that with the GTK+ theme, only the close button shows up. Using system title bar and borders will make all the buttons appear, but I really want to use the theme because the system title bar makes the top bar too thick.

Logging out and back in didn't fix it, and I tried reinstalling Chrome, but the problem persists.

2 Answers 2


Okay, I've found a workaround involving the use of Ubuntu-Tweak. Using Window Manager Settings, check Custom under Window Titlebar Button Layout. Then simply moving one of the elements to a different location and then moving it back again will cause all the buttons to appear correctly.


One way to fix this is to install gnome-tweak-tool. Once installed and launched select "Shell" and you will have some options for the titlebar buttons.

I think this is what you are after.

gconftool-2 --set "/desktop/gnome/shell/windows/button_layout" --type string "close, minimize, maximize:"

After that just restart gnome-shell.

  • hmm... nope. And after resetting the shell, the buttons are back on the right again. Jan 16, 2012 at 0:19
  • Updated answer with what I think is the correct key to set using gconftool-2.
    – Zoke
    Jan 16, 2012 at 0:32
  • heh. now everything only has the close button... Jan 16, 2012 at 0:49
  • Well, I've found a workaround, but it won't let me answer my own question because I have less than 100 reputation (I have 99. So close...) So I'll need to wait 6 more hours to answer, unless someone would be kind enough to bestow me with one more reputation point. Jan 16, 2012 at 1:02

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