Ubuntu provides options to control visual effects on the desktop using the System>Preferences>Appearance tool. Some examples of these effects are:

  • Drop shadows
  • Window animations (e.g. minimising)
  • Transparency

There are three levels of effects that can be chosen depending on your preference and the type and level of support for your computer. Ubuntu attempts to make these effects work for everybody but performance will vary depending on the type of computer you have.

Visual Effects Options


If you are experiencing problems when visual effects are enabled please try the following:

  1. Disable visual effects. Visual effects are not required; choosing None will make your desktop look simpler but still be able to run all applications.

  2. Use Normal settings. This setting provides the simplest and most tested settings.

  3. Update to the latest version. Use the latest release of Ubuntu and keep up to date using Update Manager to ensure you have the most recent fixes. Older versions of Ubuntu do not contain fixes for non-security issues.

  4. Report the problem. Inform Ubuntu about the problem using the crash report tool or by using ubuntu-bug compiz from a terminal (Applications>Accessories>Terminal) if the problem is not a crash. Please provide as much information as possible to help diagnose the problem.

    Manually reporting a problem

Common Problems:


Probable cause


Display locks up
Return to login screen
System crash

Problem in video drivers.

Disable effects and retest after driver updates. Report bug using crash report tool.

Drawing errors

Problem in video drivers.

Disable/reduce effects and retest after driver updates. Report bug using ubuntu-bug.

Incorrect behaviour

Problem in compiz

Report bug using ubuntu-bug describing the problem in detail and what you expected.

Slow animations

Hardware too slow, drivers do not support hardware features

Disable/reduce effects and retest after driver updates. Upgrade hardware.

More information

You can view the current problems reported about visual effects in the compiz package in Launchpad. Issues when visual effects are disabled are in the metacity package

For information about analysing visual effects problems see the DebuggingCompiz page.

VisualEffects (last edited 2009-06-04 06:57:23 by robert-ancell)