Window List applet is occasionally unresponsive

I have recently upgraded from ubuntu 16.04 to 20.04 with mate as window manager
and am having issues switching windows in the later version that I never had with the earlier. Sometimes one click is enough to switch to a window. Sometimes it takes two clicks. Sometimes it takes multiple clicks plus some swearing on my part. :slight_smile: On other occasions the window doesn't respond at all until I try another window first. The alt-tab action seems to work all the time, however.

Could there be functionality in 20.04 that I don't fully grok or is this a configuration problem?
Please advise. I love mate.

1 Like

Welcome, @tim_49.

Ummmm... Have you checked your mouse for defects? :grin:

Does this problem appear in any other applications? (I.e., does anything other than trying to switch between windows expose this problem?)

Note that, by design (in all versions of most applications I can think of since time began :watch:), it's been necessary to dismiss context menus and then click on the object you wanted to activate using two separate clicks... and sometimes, if you set a really long double-click timeout, you can't just go "click-click" to do the trick. But I'm guessing you'd have noticed this on 16.04 before, right?

Also, what do you mean that you've got:

Do you mean that you literally have only Marco installed as your window manager and that otherwise you're using Ubuntu's GNOME desktop, or do you mean that you have the entirety of MATE installed on Ubuntu (not Ubuntu MATE), or do you mean that you installed Ubuntu MATE (the official packaging), or do you mean something else? Until you clarify all that, we can't help too much.

Thanks for the information in advance. :+1:

1 Like

I see no defective behavior in my mouse other than which I describe in which I click on the window list and get a variety of response vectors.

Mate was installed via the instructions as shown at

The responder has asked the following question:
Do you mean that you literally have only Marco installed as your window manager and that otherwise you're using Ubuntu's GNOME desktop, or do you mean that you have the entirety of MATE installed on Ubuntu (not Ubuntu MATE), or do you mean that you installed Ubuntu MATE (the official packaging), or do you mean something else? Until you clarify all that, we can't help too much.
I am struggling with following the above question, but will give it a shot:
Marco is the window manager as I understand it and is installed from mate along side of Gnome desktop. Mate is selected upon login as separate from the "Ubuntu" item, which I take is now the
default of "Ubuntu"

I have used linux for 2O years and am a retired software developer, I have used ubuntu since 2007 - or so I remember. I used mate along with ubuntu 16.04 and found that just one click on the item in the window list on the panel was sufficient to put that corresponding window in focus.

Please feel free to ask other questions about this behavior. But, please refer to my OP in which I question whether that I might have misconfigured mate or that mate might have been installed as misconfigured and I have not yet found the configuration files for mate.

I have used numerous other window managers and have never experienced such problems in switching windows.

Thanks for the reply. We can fix this.

So I take it that you installed MATE in its entirety and are running MATE in its entirety -- and you're not running Marco with an otherwise GNOME desktop session? OK, yeah, that's what the article you linked above would indicate.

What kinds of applications does this happen in, and in what circumstances? Do you think you can show us a desktop recording of when this happens?

It is correct that MATE is installed entirely and is being run separate from GNOME. I am not clear what is meant by a "desktop recording". Currently I have the following applications running in this workspace: Thunderbird, mate-terminal with four tabs open and Firefox. As I write, I have closed
Thunderbird and opened audacity. By random clicking about on various buttons I can see that sometimes I need two clicks to switch to an app, sometimes one click, sometimes no click works, and then I have to click on something else and then try back and it works.

Please do clarify about how to make a desktop recording.

In the meantime, I have just upgraded another machine to Focal plus MATE. I have opened a bunch of windows on the other machine
and clicked randomly and rapidly and can't replicate what is happening on this machine. I suspect
that some configuration that effects window behavior or with keyboard mapping may contribute.
Perhaps even panel placement. I switched the panel back to the bottom of the desktop and now all seems good.

I could also try deleting the panel and re-creating it.

Thanks again for the interest. I am in Alaska, and consequently is end of day here. I will experiment more tomorrow.

What I have determined is that this problem occurs ONLY when the following configuration is set:
Window list/Workspace list panel is at top. AND The other panel which holds menu, networking,
notifications etc is also at the top. When either of the panels are somewhere else, the problem
does not occur.

Furthermore, this only happens on a HUNSN fanless i5 with SSD. My other
workstation also with a fresh ubuntu 20.04 install and MATE does not show this anomaly. The other
computer is a mac mini 2011 with after market SSD. Unless others reading this would like to make further inquiries, I've got other fish to fry and even another unrelated question which should be easier for experts to answer. We could call this issue moot - as opposed to solved. I can live with it. Could be likely that a full solution will present itself later.

Many thanks to those who have replied. Cheers. :wink:

1 Like

One more question: If you go to the System menu -> Preferences -> Look and Feel -> Windows (in Ubuntu MATE, just type "Windows" into the search box in the menu; select the Window Preferences or something similar), and you uncheck "Enable software compositing window manager", does the problem go away?

Alternatively, if you get a message like "This window manager is not supported", go to the MATE Tweak Tool and under the Desktop tab, choose "Marco (no compositor)". See if the problem goes away.

If I recall correctly, not all window managers (and not even Marco on different graphics cards) draw window and panel shadows the same. If the problem goes away when you disable compositing, I'll chalk it up to another graphics driver bug. If so, that's pretty serious and I might be up for reporting it for you. But first things first, disable compositing.

I did as gordon suggested. After a few minutes of randomly clicking about, I might venture to say
that there is less unresponsiveness showing up, but the anomalies have always been a bit random.

Edited: I do kind of think it is better with Compositing turned off.

1 Like

Graphics info from "About Computer":
Mesa DRI Intel® HD Graphics 4200 (HSW GT2)

You can tell me again if you see any more problems, but for the time being I'm going to figure compositing threw up at least most of the errors. This happens a lot.

Thank you gordon. I appreciate your time. :vulcan_salute:

Oh, one more thing. Try right-clicking on the tiny "resize grip" (usually three dots to the left of the window list) and in the menu that pops up, click "Preferences". Turn off window thumbnail previews in the preferences dialog that appears; that has also been known to cause some problems lately (the feature was only added in MATE 1.24, new to Ubuntu 20.04). If you ever find that you'd like compositing turned on, turn it back on and make sure you disabled window thumbnails in the Window List applet like I described above. Potentially, the thumbnails may be the problem (but just guesses -- I've had a few problems like this when the thumbnails appear too close to the panel buttons).

Other than that, adios, amigo!

I experience this frustrating problem all day long, I was hoping for a solution but then scolled to the end.. and don't see something concrete.

I have to click and click on the buttons on the Windows List applet to switch, I found the best is to minimize all windows and unminimize the one I want to open.

I tried with the windows list in a separate bar from the app menu, didn't help.

That's Ubuntu MATE 22.04.

1 Like

Welcome @ETL_Weather to the community!

Thanks @Bombilla .

I wish I could find a solution for this Window List applet - clicking on a button sometimes switches, sometimes it does not. It drives me nuts!

1 Like