If you have recently switched from Windows to Linux, you might be missing the catchy themes and the customizable taskbars of your desktop. The orange Ubuntu theme might be too plain for you and you may wish to work on a more user-friendly and colorful environment. In this article, we will tell you how to give your Ubuntu 18.04 almost the same look and feel as that of your Windows operating system, basically by customizing the taskbars and incorporating a Windows-styled theme.
Step 1: Switch to a Windows-like Taskbar
If you are missing the Windows taskbar that is located at the bottom and want to get rid of the Linux taskbar that is usually found vertically on the left side of the desktop, you can make use of Gnome Extensions. The Extensions utility on Ubuntu lets you customize your desktop layout to a great extent. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that you can customize your Ubuntu much much more than Windows. You need to download Gnome Shell Extensions and Gnome Tweaks in order to switch to a Windows-like taskbar.
1. Open the Terminal application by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T
2. Enter the following command as root:
$ sudo apt install gnome-shell-extensions gnome-shell-extension-dash-to-panel gnome-tweaks adwaita-icon-theme-full
You will be asked to provide a password for sudo. Enter the password after which the installation process will begin. You will also be prompted with a y/n option to continue installation. Enter y to continue.
3. After the installation is complete, log out of your system and login so that your system fully recognizes the newly installed tools.
4. After logging back, enter tweaks in your Ubuntu Dash to access the Tweaks tool as follows:
The following Tweaks utility will open:
5. Please click the Extensions option from the left panel and then switch on the Dash to panel button. You will see that your Ubuntu taskbar will now be dashed to the bottom of the desktop as follows:
When you hover over an icon in the taskbar, you will get the same kind of thumbnails that you get on the Windows taskbars. You can also right-click any icon simply while hovering over it and access the common options that otherwise needed clicking the icon and then right-clicking it.
6. You can customize many more features of the Dash to Panel extension. Right-click the Applications button and click the Dash to Panel Settings option as follows:
Through the following window, you can change the position of the clock, the position of the panel, the size of the panel and the icon margins, among many other things:
If you want to switch back to the old look, simply access the Tweaks tool, move to the Extensions panel and switch off the Extensions button.
Step 2: You New Application Menu
In Windows, you have a pop-up application menu( the Start menu) rather than the applications list you have on Ubuntu. In the Start menu, your application menu can be accessed based on their categories.
If you want the same kind of menu incorporated on your Ubuntu System, you can do so through the Tweaks tool. Move to the Extensions panel and then switch on the Applications menu button as follows:
Here is how your new application menu looks like. You can now launch your applications easily based on the categories assigned to each. For example, all the graphics applications such as LibreOffice Draw, Shotwell and Simple Scan are categorized on my system under Graphics.
Step 3: Get a Windows-like theme
The Ambiance theme that Ubuntu uses by default is greyish and orangish contrary to Windows that mostly uses Blue and Grey theme. In order to change the default theme to a more catchy one, follow these steps:
1. Open the Tweaks utility and click the Appearance category to open the respective panel.
2. Change the following theme options in the Appearance panel:
Your desktop will now use the default Adwaita theme with blue and grey colors.
3. The next step is to change the background to a more friendly one. Right-click your desktop and click Change Background. Select a new Background that gives you the feel of Windows.
4. If you also want to change the grey and orange panel theme, open the Tweaks utility and switch on User Themes from the Extensions panel.
3. Now let us download a lighter theme that we can use from the following location as a .zip file:
4. In the Tweaks utility, Appearance panel, change to the theme you just downloaded by clicking None adjacent to Shell.
We have downloaded and used the Transparent shell theme as our new system, that no doubt gives a Windows feel.
Now even the icons and pop-ups will be more in line with your overall Blue and White theme. You can see how the above image gives the feel of a Windows desktop more than an Ubuntu one.
So we have seen how the Gnome Extensions can help us get the same kind of taskbars, themes and application menu that you have on Windows. As a user who has recently switched to Ubuntu, the new environment will not be as strange for your as before.