How to: Tips and Tricks

Change mouse cursor theme in Ubuntu with Compiz enabled (10.04 and higher)

There is a bug in the Compiz package in Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx (in Maverick Meerkat too) that doesn't allow you to fully change the mouse cursor theme. You only get the new cursor theme in some windows. But you can still change the mouse cursor theme in Ubuntu, even if you have Compiz enabled.

1. Go to /usr/share/icons and locate the exact folder name for the mouse cursor theme you want to use – remember it! For the Elementary theme, the folder name would be "DMZ-Black"

2. Now you need to edit the /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme file. Press ALT + F2 and enter:

gksu gedit /usr/share/icons/default/index.theme

Comment line with "Inherits=DMZ-White" and under this line add an identical line with the exact name of the mouse cursor theme you got in step 1. The final index.theme should look like this:

[Icon Theme]

UPDATE: Second way

Press ALT+F2 and run gconf-editor and go to desktop > gnome > peripherals > mouse and edit cursor_theme. Here you can enter theme name you got in step 1.

3. Restart Compiz by pressing Alt + F2 and entering:

compiz --replace

or simply Log out and Log in.


  • Alex


    Used your tutorial… Can’t get it to work. Have Ubuntu 10.04 with a clean install… Compiz is just not playing nicely… :(

    Currently the mouse looks correct on Firefox… but nothing else…



  • Vincent Zvikaramba

    Goto for a permanent (near permanent) solution. You will have to reinstall the package if you install a new cursor theme. (Will find a solution for this).
    Here is an outline of how it works:
    1) At installation time, it will create theme files like ones used in cursor themes
    2) It moves (not replaces or deletes) gnome-appearance-properties to another place and in its place will stand a shellscript that can copy one of these cursor theme files to the /usr/share/icons/default directory. It uses the **moved** gnome-appearance-properties when you decide to execute it and sets some variables and checcks if compiz is running.
    3)If compiz is running it will either i) change your cursor file and restart compiz **if** you changed your cursor theme or ii) will do nothing if only size was changed or theme was not changed
    4) If compiz is **not** running it will not do anything.

  • Abhiram

    Here is a full video tutorial on this topic (it works on all versions of Ubuntu) :


  • Apopas

    Does this bug have been fixed in 10.10?

  • seoexpertindia

    Huraaaaaaa…its very Great man….I am gonna book mark it. I spend nearly 1 hour to change the mouse theme..At last came to your web site..Your post is simple,,,efficient…motive.. Really saved my time

  • M4DNUG

    Thnaks for your good tutorial… it’s weel written and understandable.