Toggle Desktop Effects with Compiz-Switch

[update] You may also be interested in Fusion-icon, which is what I’ve been using lately.

Often you need to turn off Compiz desktop effects to play a game, run an incompatible application, or even to watch video on some Intel chipsets. Previously I used the fusion-icon tray icon, which was not updated for newer versions of Ubuntu and Compiz. Until today I used the Visual Effects tab of the Appearance Preferences dialog in Ubuntu 7.10 to start and stop Compiz. Now there’s a simpler solution.


Compiz-Switch does one of two things when it is run: When Compiz is running, it switches to Metacity (GNOME), Kwin (KDE), or Xfwm (Xfce). When Compiz is not running, it turns it on.

Update: packages for Ubuntu are now available for download. There’s no need to compile it yourself anymore.

There is no package available for Compiz-Switch currently, but it’s easy to create your own using checkinstall. (Packages created with checkinstall should not be distributed.) Open a terminal and run these commands:

  1. Download the source and decompress it:

    wget -O- | tar -xzf -
  2. Change to the new folder:

    cd compiz-switch-0.2.0~source
  3. If you have not installed checkinstall, you need to do so now:

    sudo apt-get install checkinstall
  4. Run checkinstall to create and install the package:

    sudo checkinstall

You can remove the folder that was downloaded once the installation is complete. Compiz-Switch can be uninstalled using the Synaptic package manager.

Run Compiz-Switch from Applications->Accessories->Compiz-Switch. You can drag the launcher from the menu to your panel or desktop for quick access.

Archived Comments


“Packages created with checkinstall should not be distributed.”



Using checkinstall is a quick way to create a package, but it doesn’t handle dependencies. It’s more difficult to create packages that follow proper policy.


Is very great!


Wow, I have been looking for something like this for a while. As someone who has been trying to play games on an Ubuntu box, this comes in very handy. Now all I need is a one click solution for toggling dual screen monitors and my linux machine will be convenient enough to actually play games regularly without fiddling with menus and settings every time.


Cool tool!

FYI, the wget link no longer works. There is a deb available at which I was able to just double-click to install!


Thanks Sam, the post has been updated.


This is great! Is there something like this for screenlets also? When I turn compiz off, the screenlets look very ugly with black boxes around them and disappear if a window goes over it. A screelets-switch would be a perfect companion!


It turns Desktop Effects off okay, but doesn’t turn it back on again for me. So, not that useful.

I’m using Ubuntu Hardy.


I can’t seem to get the download website ( to work. Does anyone know of another place where this is available?


I have that problem too, on Hardy. Does anyone have a fix?


Same problem…it disables compiz but will not re-enable it.


some initial problem in installing but …best effeect on any os the user can enjoy

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