Compact desktop icon grids in Ubuntu

OS: Ubuntu 12.10

Desktop: Unity

I had a problem with the default look of Ubuntu’s desktop icons. The icons and their file names together came in different sizes and didn’t give the uniform look which I wanted. Windows did a good job, by default, I think. Linux being Linux and Ubuntu being Ubuntu, I knew I could do something about that.

I did! And here is the before and after affect. Some may like it and some may not; but here it is!

Before After

Before modification

 After modification

Things to do:

  1. Install and start ‘dconf-editor’ using Ubuntu Software Center utility. (Let me know if you know how to do that; I assumed it was easy for the beginners)
  2. Search ‘dconf’ in Unity Dash and open the software

dconf Editor

  1. Use the left panel to expand, ‘org>gnome>nautilus>desktop’
  2. Change ‘text-ellipsis-limit’ from 3 to 1

Desktop text limit

  1. Then use left panel to expand, ‘org>gnome>nautilus>icon-view’
  2. Change ‘default-zoom-level’ to ‘small’
  3. While in the same level, change ‘text-ellipsis-limit’ from [‘3’] to [‘1’]

Icon view

  1. Right click on the desktop and select ‘Organize Desktop by Name’

Missing Appearance Icon in System Settings

OS: Ubuntu 12.10

Desktop: Unity

The other day I had nothing to do. With enough time and Ubuntu in front of me, I suddenly was hit with an idea of checking out Gnome 3.6.

Installed Gnome, tweaked, customized by applying themes, etc. When I was done playing with Gnome, I had to get back to Unity. When I did I noticed couple of odd things, out of which I had this issue of missing ‘Appearance’ icon in ‘System Settings’.

After a little bit of googling, here was I did to bring back the icon:

1. Open terminal (Control + Alt + T)

2. Type,

sudo gnome-control-center-unity

After watching it do its thing. Voila! I got the icon back!! Thanks to Seth from!

Connecting to a Windows share from Ubuntu

OS: Ubuntu 12.10

Desktop: Gnome 3.6

After installing and configuring Ubuntu with Gnome at my workplace the next step for me was to connect and ‘bookmark’ all the Windows share I have in different servers and workstations.
Anyone would have thought that after having SMB service installed it would be a cake walk. But, no. I had to hunt down hidden clues. Here is how it went.

  1. Open Nautilus, the file manager
  2. Click on ‘Files’ on the top menu bar right next to ‘Activities’ and choose ‘Connect to Server’ (I didn’t expect this option to be here at all)
Gnome Nautilus Menu

Gnome Nautilus Menu

  1. Enter server IP address or host name and click ‘Connect’. For example smb://
Connect to Server dialog1

Connect to Server dialog1

  1. Enter ‘Username’
  2. Enter ‘Domain’. You will have to keep in mind that the domain name should be in all caps. I struggled a bit here.
Connect to Server dialog2

Connect to Server dialog2

  1. Enter ‘Password’ and hit connect. You are done!

Mounting USB in Virtualbox – Ubuntu

  1. Mount a USB drive (pen drive) may not work if you are using the Virtualbox you have installed from ‘Ubuntu Software Center’.
  2. Download the installer from
  3. Open the installer file and install from ‘Ubuntu Software Center’ (which will automatically open)
  4. Create a virtual machine
  5. Choose the virtual machine and click on settings. You will get an error message
    • VirtualBox - Warning
  6. It’s asking you to enter the current logged on user to the group ‘vboxusers’
  7. You can do this using gui or commandline
  8. Using Commandline:
    sudo useradd -G vboxusers username
  9. Using GUI: Open ‘Users and Groups’. If you don’t find that application, then install it from ‘Ubuntu Software Center’. It should be easy to add the user to the group from there.
  10. Logout and login again and it should work fine now!

Ubuntu Update Fix!

Here’s what I did to fix the broken Ubuntu update on my laptop

sudo apt-get clean
cd /var/lib/apt
sudo mv lists lists.old
sudo mkdir -p lists/partial
sudo apt-get clean
sudo apt-get update