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Ubuntu, other than most distributions as well as MS Windows, decided to move its window menu buttons to the left side of the top window panel. This brings along many accustomization problems for people who are used to rush their mouses to the top right instinctively.

If you want to, you can revert this change with the help of gconf-editor.

Open it by entering gconf into Dash or


into a terminal. Browse the left pane for /apps/metacity/general and look for the value of button_layout which should be close,minimize,maximize: . This value defines where the buttons are positioned and in which order - the commands stand for the appropriate button whereas the colon determines on which side they will be. You can also add a menu button by including menu.

To move the buttons to the right and adjust their order, a value like


would be appropriate. Don't forget to set the colon or metacity will crash as soon as you have entered and confirmed your value!

Change selection box color in Windows 8 and 7

Thursday, August 9, 2012 - posted by CSch

The selection box that appears when you hold the left mouse-button and drag your mouse away is blue by default on all versions of Windows. However you can change this setting by using two registry values in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Open the registry by typing regedit into the Windows 7 menu search on Windows 7 or by right-clicking the bottom left corner on Windows 8 and opening a Run... prompt. Enter regedit into it.

- In the registry you will see a tree structure on the left pane - in it, browse for Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Colors and click it once.
- On the right pane, look for the value of HotTrackingColor. It is given in three values representing the ratios of red, green and blue that range from 0 to 255. Enter values that mix to the color you want to have (you can check the color values in a graphic editor).
- Do the same for he value of Hilight.

These two values also alter the color of hyperlinks and the color of highlighted text. After you set the values, close the registry and reboot your machine. Afterwards the selection box should have the color you chose.

The two different values each stand for a different part of the box - the first determines the color of the inner transparent space, the second determines the color of the non-transparent border. This means you can have different colors for each.

Gnome-Screenshot is the default tool to take screenshots on Ubuntu and Mint and brings a great deal of functionality. While it also has the ability to exclude the mouse pointer for screenshots if you use the graphical interface, you won't find this feature if you want to take them from the command line - the only option to exclude them there is to set the option as default which is possible with dconf-editor.

If dconf-editor isn't installed on your system yet, install it by entering the following into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

Afterwards you can change the default behaviour of pointer inclusion with

dconf write /org/gnome/gnome-screenshot/include-pointer false

If you want to revert things, just set it to true again:

dconf write /org/gnome/gnome-screenshot/include-pointer true

Next time you open the GUI or take a screenshot via PrtScr or the terminal, the mouse pointer won't be included on the screenshot.

Load all Firefox tabs on program startup

Thursday, August 2, 2012 - posted by CSch

The newest versions of Firefox use a different default handling tabs in a newly started instance of Firefox - while earlier versions loaded all tabs at once, newer versions only load the active tabs. This is supposed to save loading time, but can be annoying if some of your tabs need an update to indicate new messages, such as twitter, and you forget to load it - the status of the tab won't change at all until you click it once.

If you prefer the old default that loads all tabs at once, you can reset it in the Firefox preferences. To get there,

- open the Firefox menu and select Options > Options. This will open the preferences window.
- On the General tab, select Show my windows and tabs from last time from the When Firefox starts drop down menu under Startup.
- Then uncheck the Don't load tabs until selected checkbox.
- Accept the changes by clicking OK.

The default settings in the Unity desktop environment move a window's control panel away from the actual window up to the top panel of the screen - this is called 'global menu'.

Since that is a major change of paradigm and might hinder your workflow if you decided to switch, here is how to reverse the settings:

Open a terminal and enter following command:

sudo apt-get autoremove appmenu-gtk appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-qt

Afterwards you need to log out or reboot your machine. To enable it again if you should change your mind, just reinstall the packages:

sudo apt-get install appmenu-gtk appmenu-gtk3 appmenu-qt

Change selection color in Ubuntu 12.04 themes (Linux)

Monday, July 30, 2012 - posted by CSch

The color of selection elements in themes used by Ubuntu 12.04 is determined by a single value and is therefore the same for all of them: highlightened buttons, files, menu items as well as the selection box that you get by holding and dragging your mouse.

You can set this value in the settings.ini of each theme. The settings file of the Ambiance theme for example is located in /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-3.0

Before you edit the file, create a backup copy of it in case you want to reset the theme to its original state. Just copy the file somewhere else to do that. Afterwards, open the original file as administrator. This is easily done using the terminal:

sudo gedit /usr/share/themes/Ambiance/gtk-3.0/settings.ini

The value that determines selection color is nselected_bg_color - it is formated as hexadecimal value (#000000). You can now use a graphic editor to find out the hexadecimal value of the color you want to use - if you wanted to use red for example, you would have the value #FF0000.

Afterwards save the file and log out of your current session. After the next login, all elements of selection should now have the color of your choice:

How to enable hibernation in Ubuntu 12.04 and Linux Mint 13

Friday, July 27, 2012 - posted by CSch

Hibernation is disabled on Ubuntu 12.04 and Mint 13 by default - you can only access it with the command line. To have it as an option in the shutdown menu again, open a terminal and enter the following:

sudo gedit /etc/polkit-1/localauthority/50-local.d/com.ubuntu.enable-hibernate.pkla

By that you create a new text file. Paste the following into it:

[Enable hibernation]

Save the file afterwards and reboot. Hibernation should now be an option in the shutdown menu again.

Uninstall VirtualBox Guest Additions on Ubuntu and Windows 7

Thursday, July 26, 2012 - posted by CSch


To uninstall VirtualBox Guest Additions on Ubuntu and similar operating systems, mount the virtual disk again that you used to install them - to do that, click on the Devices menu on the virtual machines top menu bar and select Install Guest Additions. If you get a pop-up about auto-start procedures just cancel it.

Now that the virtual disk is mounted, open a terminal and look for the contents of the disk in the /media folder.

ls /media

In my case, the disk is named VBOXADDITIONS_4.1.10_76795. This name may vary depending on the version of VirtualBox you have installed. Now uninstall the guest additions (don't forget to adjust the path):

sudo sh /media/VBOXADDITIONS_4.1.10_76795/VBoxLinuxAdditions.run uninstall


You can uninstall the guest additions just like any other program on a Windows machine: Click on Uninstall a program in the Control Panel and search for the version you installed. Select it and click on the Uninstall button above the program list.

Disable Autoplay on Windows 7

Monday, July 23, 2012 - posted by CSch

If you are one of those who like to deal with inserted DVDs, USB keys and other removable media yourself, the Autoplay feature of Windows will most likely do nothing but being clicked away by you.

If you want to save yourself a pop-up and a click you can disable Autoplay. To do so, open the menu and type in gpedit.msc. The group policies window will open and you'll see a navigation pane on its left. Browse it for

Local Computer Policy > User/Computer Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > AutoPlay Policies

Pick User or Computer Configuration depending on the range you want your settings to have. On the right pane, there should now be some settings, on of them being Turn off AutoPlay. DOuble-click it for the configuration window to open.

On the left, click the Enabled radio button. On the options pane you can choose between turning AutoPlay off for all media or just for CDs or removable media drives (since those are the most common I'd recommend to choose that). When you're done, click Apply and exit the group policies. Next time you insert something you won't be bothered with pop-ups.

VirtualBox offers a feature that let's you treat windows opened in the running guest system almost as is they were native to the host system - you can drag them around on the host system, copy and paste texts between the system and only see the host's desktop while doing so:

(Windows 8 Release Preview guest system on a Linux Mint 12 host system in Seamless mode)

The requirement for Seamless mode to run is that the VirtualBox Guest Additions are installed. You can quite easily install them by clicking on the Devices menu on the the guest system's window menu and selecting Install Guest Additions... - follow the installer afterwards and reboot the guest system when you are told to. After the reboot you can enter Seamless mode by selecting the guest system's window and pressing right Ctrl + L.