How to Get Classic Start Menu in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

Last updated: April 20, 2020 — 8 Comments

gnome shell

Looking for a classic start menu in Ubuntu 20.04 Gnome Shell? Arc-menu is a traditional modern application menu for GNOME.

Arc-menu is a gnome shell extension replaces the top-left corner ‘Activities’ button and provides application menu that includes:

  • quick access to current user settings and user folders.
  • quick access to Software Center, System settings, Gnome Tweaks, terminal.
  • search functionality
  • Log out, lock, and power off buttons.

1. To install Arc-menu Gnome Shell extension:

Simply open terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+T on keyboard. When it opens, run command:

sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-arc-menu

Type user password when it prompts, no asterisk feedback, and hit Enter.

2. Enable / Disable Arc-menu:

Once installed the Gnome Shell extension, you can turn on / off the application menu easily via Gnome Tweaks under Extensions pane.

If you don’t already have Gnome Tweaks, install it via command:

sudo apt install gnome-tweaks

3. Change Menu icon, appearance, etc.

Right click on the menu icon and select ‘Arc Menu Settings’. Then you change menu location, hotkey, menu icon, and more in popup settings dialog.

That’s it. Enjoy!


I'm a freelance blogger who started using Ubuntu in 2007 and wishes to share my experiences and some useful tips with Ubuntu beginners and lovers. Please notify me if you find any typo/grammar/language mistakes. English is not my native language. Contact me via [email protected]

8 responses to How to Get Classic Start Menu in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS

  1. I got the classic start menus by using Ubuntu Mate. I use the Advanced Mate menu, which gives you the Application tab, the Places tab and the System tabs. You can also use the Brisk menu, the Mate main menu or a custom Mate menu. If you haven’t looked at Ubuntu Mate, like Ubuntu, but not Gnome3 I highly recommend you look at it. Ubuntu Mate also has a very friendly and helpful Forum. While being an official flavor of Ubuntu, it lacks some of Ubuntu’s less liked features, as it is community driven.

    • I did the same. In fact I reinstalled ubuntu under mate flavor because ubuntu resulted too far from the aspect I want. Nothing works, I had to repair a lot of bugs and fails and, finally, formatted. Regarding to mate, the themes are really really too horrible. I am not devoted to design, I don’t know about even combination of colours. But all mate themes resulted to me somehow like that mickey mouse tearing out his eyes in blood.. I have three menus: one as the default of the panel, and brisk and advanced like additional menus on the main panel. I’m happy because I recovered the four-space desktop which didn’t work anymore since ubuntu leave the compiz cube unsupported (that cube was the best I’ve seen.. since then, upgrading and compatibilization make the OS to go back in funcionality, appeareance, speed, everything)

  2. How do I disable the default application menu launcher and set Arc launcher instead?

    • You can disable the default ‘Show Applications’ via single command:

      gsettings set show-show-apps-button false

      An re-enable it via command:

      gsettings reset show-show-apps-button
  3. Hi Ji m
    I love your articles and your blog is my go-to when I had problem with my Ubuntu.
    Keep it up man!

    Here I want to ask you a favor, I’m using the newest version of ubuntu 20.04, I’m happy about it (specially for security reasons), but there is a thing that troubled me the most: where the heck that pretty global menu gone. I remember using gnome in ubuntu 14.04 and it was awesome with global menu.

    Would you please make an article on how to add global menu back to ubuntu 20.04?
    I have tried every possible way I found on internet, but none works. The global app menu extension/addon seems abandoned and useless. Or could you please take that project or ask someone you know who can?

    Thanks in advance ;)

    • Global menu has gone since Ubuntu switched to Gnome 3.

      If you really like this feature, try Ubuntu Unity Remix 20.04, a community maintained Ubuntu flavor, in which Unity was the default desktop environment for Ubuntu 16.04.

  4. After installing gnome-shell-extension-arc-menu and tweaks on 20.10. (not 20.04 as in your blog). When I click on tweaks > extensions The menu I get does not contain any mention of `Arc menu’. It contains only:
    Desktop Icons [on off slider]
    Ubuntu appindicators [on off slider]
    Ubuntu dock [on off slider]

    There is a settings gear indicator on the right of Desktop Icons but it only shows:
    Size for desktop icons
    Show the personal folder in the desktop
    Show the trash icon in desktop
    Show mounted drives in desktop

    The first has a dropdown arrow where you can select 3 font sizes
    The last three have [on off sliders]

    All and all I see no way to get to any kind of enable / disable of arc-menu

    Any idea if your descriptions should also apply to 20.10? Or what I might be doing wrong?

  5. Thank you for these clear and easy to follow instructions. Worked perfect on my system – Ubuntu Gnome 20.04. It was exactly what I needed. 1/19/2021

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