Software & AppsOperating SystemLinux

How To Disable the Super Key in Ubuntu

Ubuntu 13

In this detailed guide, we will walk you through the process of disabling the Super Key in Ubuntu. The Super Key, often associated with the Windows key on most keyboards, is used in Ubuntu to activate the launcher or perform other shortcut operations. However, there might be situations where you want to disable this key. Let’s dive into the various methods to achieve this.

Quick Answer

To disable the Super Key in Ubuntu, you can use the CompizConfig Settings Manager to change or disable the shortcut, use command-line commands to modify the configuration database, or modify the Xmodmap file to map the Super Key to "NoSymbol".

Method 1: Using CompizConfig Settings Manager

CompizConfig Settings Manager (CCSM) is a configuration tool for Compiz with which you can set various aspects of your Ubuntu system.

To install CompizConfig Settings Manager, open your terminal and type the following command:

sudo apt-get install compizconfig-settings-manager

This command will prompt your system to download and install the CCSM. The sudo command is used to execute the command with root privileges, apt-get is the package handling utility in Ubuntu, and install is the command to download and install the package.

Once the installation is complete, you can open the Unity configuration by pressing Alt + F2, typing about:config, and hitting Enter. Alternatively, you can run ccsm on the command line.

In the CCSM interface, look for the option “Key to show the launcher” and change or disable the shortcut to free up the Super key.

Method 2: Using Command-Line Commands

If you are comfortable using the command line, you can disable the Super Key using a simple command. The command varies depending on the version of Ubuntu you are using.

For Ubuntu 12.04 and later, execute the following command:

gconftool-2 --set "/apps/compiz-1/plugins/unityshell/screen0/options/show_launcher" --type string ""

This command uses gconftool-2 to modify the configuration database. The --set flag is used to specify the path to the key. The --type string "" at the end sets the key value to an empty string, effectively disabling the Super Key.

For Ubuntu 20.04, run the following command:

gsettings set org.gnome.mutter overlay-key ''

The gsettings command is a simple command line interface for manipulating GSettings values. The set command changes the value of a key. In this case, it sets the overlay-key to an empty string, disabling the Super Key.

Method 3: Modifying the Xmodmap File

The Xmodmap file is a way to modify keymaps in Xorg. You can use it to disable the Super Key.

Open the file ~/.Xmodmap using your preferred text editor and add the following lines:

keycode 133 = NoSymbol
keycode 134 = NoSymbol

These lines disable the left and right Super Keys (keycodes 133 and 134 respectively) by mapping them to NoSymbol.

Once you have made these changes, log out and log back in to apply the changes.


Disabling the Super Key in Ubuntu can be achieved in several ways, depending on your comfort level with the command line and system configuration. Always remember to be careful when making system changes, as incorrect configurations can lead to unexpected behavior. If you are unsure, consult the official Ubuntu documentation or seek help from the Ubuntu community.

By following this guide, you should now have successfully disabled the Super Key on your Ubuntu system. Happy computing!

Can I re-enable the Super Key after disabling it?

Yes, you can re-enable the Super Key by following the same methods mentioned in this guide but selecting a different key or shortcut to activate the launcher or perform other shortcut operations.

Will disabling the Super Key affect other keyboard shortcuts in Ubuntu?

Disabling the Super Key will not affect other keyboard shortcuts in Ubuntu. You can still use all the other keyboard shortcuts as usual.

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