Change or move the window buttons

Posted on Friday August 24, 2012 / by Eric Potvin

By default, the close, maximize and minimize window buttons are located on the left side of the title bar of the window. If you are not use to this, there's a solution to fix this uncomfortable situation.

First of all, you have to open the gconf-editor tool. If this tool is not installed, you can install it using this command:

sudo apt-get install gconf-editor

After this is installed, you can open it from the menu. You can also open this tool using the Alt+F2 (this will open the Run Application window) and then by typing gconf-editor into the text box and click Run.

Then navigate to /apps/metacity/general using the side pane and then double-click the button_layout item. This will allow you to change the value to put what ever you need.

Default value


Menu on the left, minimize,maximize,spacer,close on the right side


minimize,maximize,close on the right side


You noticed the :? This is the left and right separator. What's before the : will be placed on the left side of the title bar and what's after the : will be placed on the right side of the title bar.

Click OK and the location of the windows buttons will be updated immediately.

Command line

You can also change this configuration in command line using the gconftool-2.

For example, you want the menu on the left side, the minimize,maximize,close, in this specific order, on the right side:

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