How to return to classic Gnome in Ubuntu

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Newer versions of Ubuntu include a new interface for Gnome called Unity. Some people prefer the older interface or "classic" Gnome. This is how you get back to that.

Ubuntu 12.04 (Precise Pangolin)


If you want the classic Gnome 2, install gnome-session-fallback in the Ubuntu Software Center.


If you want the newer Gnome 3, install gnome-shell instead.


Log out.


Before you log in again, click on the Ubuntu logo near the username and then select GNOME Classic.


Then you'll be logged into the old Gnome!

11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot)


Classic Gnome in Oneiric is called gnome-session-fallback, so if you want classic Gnome, you should install that package. If you don't know how to install software packages, read this first.


After it's installed, log out.


At the login screen, click on the wrench and select GNOME Classic. Then log in.


Unfortunately, gnome-fallback isn't exactly like the classic Gnome of 11.04 or earlier versions of Ubuntu, but some people may still prefer it.

Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narhwal)

In 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), Ubuntu has switched the default user interface—provided your computer meets certain system requirements—to be Unity, a slightly different skin for Gnome. If your computer doesn't meet those requirements, you will automatically get the classic Gnome.

For those whose computers do support Unity, you have some who love Unity and others who just want their old Gnome back.

If you would like to switch back to classic Gnome, first you need to log out.


After you select your username, click on the drop-down menu at the bottom and select Ubuntu Classic, and log back in again.

At least for Ubuntu 11.04 (this does not apply to 11.10), you can change the setting permanently using the Login Screen menu item.


Just click on the Ubuntu icon and start typing login.


Click Unlock, type in your password, and then click Authenticate.


From the dropdown menu for default session, select Ubuntu Classic

Last updated 04/30/12 01:06

If you have suggestions or corrections for these tutorials, please post in this Ubuntu Forums thread or leave a comment on my blog.

I will not give help to people posting in the above places. If you require technical support, start a support thread on the Ubuntu Forums. That is the appropriate place to ask for help.