How to Make GNOME More Like Windows

Assemble a Windows-like Linux desktop

GNOME is a fantastic and user-friendly desktop. GNOME offers a certain level of flexibility, enough such that you can configure the desktop to look and feel a bit more like Windows.

Version Information

For the purpose of demonstration, we used Ubuntu 19.04 running GNOME 3.32.0.

Installing Dependencies

Install the necessary dependencies and a particular icon theme:

  1. Click Show Applications (the icon with nine dots).

    The Show Applications button
  2. Type terminal and click the terminal launcher.

    The Terminal launcher
  3. Type the command

  4. When prompted, type your user password.

  5. Allow the installation to complete.

Install the Firefox Browser Extension, which adds extensions from the web:

  1. Open Firefox and go to

  2. Select Click here to install browser extension.

    Browser extension installation
  3. Click Allow.

    The Allow button
  4. Click Add.

    The Add button
  5. Click OK.

    The OK! button
  6. Refresh the GNOME Extension page and you are ready to install extensions.

Installing the Extensions

Install two extensions:

  • Dash to Panel: Transforms the GNOME Dash to a conventional desktop panel.
  • Arc Menu : Transforms the GNOME Applications Overview into a conventional desktop menu.

To install an extension, follow these steps:

  1. Search for the extension on the GNOME Extensions Site.

  2. Click the extension’s On/Off slider until it’s in the On position.

    OFF toggle
  3. When prompted, click Install.

    The Install button
  4. Allow the installation to complete.

Walk through the above steps for both the Dash To Panel and Arc Menu extensions. Once they’ve been installed, your desktop will be closer to a Windows-style layout.

Icon Theme

The last thing to take care of is the icon theme. We’ve installed the Adwaita Icon Theme, so let’s apply it.

  1. Click the newly installed Arc Menu button.

  2. Under Software, click Tweaks.

  3. Click Appearance and, under the Themes section, select Adwaita for Applications, Cursor, and Icons.

    Themes configuration
  4. Close the Tweaks tool.

Configure Dash To Panel

Out of the box, Dash To Panel includes the Applications icon. Since we’ve installed the Arc Menu, we don’t need that icon. Here’s how to get rid of it:

  1. Right-click the Applications icon and click Dash to Panel Settings.

    Dash to Panel Settings
  2. Click Behavior > Show Applications icon ON/OFF slider until it’s in the OFF position.

    The Show Applications toggle

When you disable Show Applications, the only way to get to the Dash to Panel settings is in the Extensions section of the GNOME Tweaks tool.

You can also further configure the Dash To Panel to fit your needs. For example, if you prefer a more translucent panel, enable the Override panel theme background opacity option (from within the Style section of the Dash to Panel settings), and then adjust the opacity settings to taste.

Adjusting the panel opacity
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