I have one Pi (3B+ running Buster built from the 'Desktop' image) that we connect to via VNC.

It seems to have developed a lack of respect for the close / resize icons on the window title bar (i.e. no buttons work) and refuses to move windows via a click / drag. Menu options (where available) such as close window etc work fine and all other mouse actions work (click / drag inside applications etc)

From what I can see, the title bar layout has been 'tweaked' to match closer to the Mac desktop:

close icon on left

but cannot find any notes why / how (or who grrrr) and I'm loath to rebuild this machine if needed as its an MQTT / Node-Red gateway and down time is hard to get for a 'cosmetic' change as this - desktop application changes are fine as long as they do not need a reboot but I may not get away with the desktop re-install :-)

I've not been able to get a monitor / mouse on site yet to see if its VNC not activating the buttons (given its 5-6 foot in the air that's would be 'fun' - cost a fair bit in time) and may not prove anything.

The Qt5 Settings program shows the icons on the right:

Buttons on right in qt5 Manager

AND reports the layout is in Windows style:

dialog layout Windows

But Openbox shows the change:

OpenBox settings

Given this is a bit of a muddle - I'm loath to start 'tweaking' in the OpenBox set up and if complex we can live with the menu options (desktop access is very very rare on this) but would like to re-enable these controls...

Given most of us are Mac users, the muscle memory is to go left for the icons and then swear when they do not work so I was wondering if anyone had ideas why the icons in the titles are not responding or the best way to 'correct' this odd layout?

  • which VNC software?
    – Dirk
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 20:01
  • @Dirk Real VNC as installed on the Pi image and the standard viewer from RealVNC - both up to date.
    – user130616
    Commented Mar 10, 2021 at 20:24

1 Answer 1


The GUI is a series of kludges which only support the (Windows oriented?) options Simon Long uses. It is poorly implemented, not documented and not configurable.

(Unfortunately this is one of many dhcpcd, PIXEL and the current PulseAudio).

See https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=229080&hilit=openbox for some discussion of this.

If you have customised it executing Appearance Settings/Default will clobber your settings and the openbox tool doesn't work.

The good news is that it can be manually configured.

  1. Make a backup copy of /home/pi/.config/openbox/lxde-pi-rc.xml - this can be restored.
  2. Copy /etc/xdg/openbox/lxde-pi-rc.xml (or run Appearance Settings/Default). You will now have a Windows like screen, which can be configured in .config/openbox/lxde-pi-rc.xml.

The default is


Changing the following gives an approximation of the Mac controls.

      available characters are NDSLIMC, each can occur at most once.
      N: window icon
      L: window label (AKA title).
      I: iconify
      M: maximize
      C: close
      S: shade (roll up/down)
      D: omnipresent (on all desktops).

enter image description here

  • Thank for that - I'll give it a go in the next few days when I have ten mins. Love the comment on 'kludges' - seems the majority of IT is a series of these trying to fix others some days :-)
    – user130616
    Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 0:31
  • Amazed at the differences on the two files when I looked at them. I decided just to use NANO in the end rather than a config program and got a reboot in between tasks (unsure if it was needed but played safe) and they are fine on the iPad - I'll try a desktop on Monday and see if anything else creeps out but now I know where to look. Thanks for the answer.
    – user130616
    Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 21:53

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