I like to have the focus follow my mouse, but I also like to be able to both minimize and restore windows by clicking the window button in the panel.

If "click to focus" is set, then I get that behaviour. If I change to "focus follows mouse", then the behaviour of the window buttons is a bit unpredictable.

Sometimes if I click to focus one window, then click another, then the second window minimizes while staying in the background.

Is this by design, or potentially a bug?

I'm using Xubuntu 14.04.2 and haven't modified Xfce in any way.

  • There must be something in your configuration that produces that. I have Xfce 4.10 on Linux Mint 16 and have set "Focus follows mouse" with a rather short delay, not zero. Clicking window buttons in the panel does exactly what you describe, i.e. minimize/restore. Have you tried a focus delay greater than zero?
    – user86969
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 12:31
  • Yes, both my office machine and home are the same Xubuntu level, and I've noticed the same behaviour on both, even with different focus delays. I'm definitely on Xfce 4.10 too. I'll keep investigating the default configuration to see what it could be. I might try to reproduce in a VM or something.
    – Mike
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 12:45
  • Out of curiosity, do you have any of «Load KDE/Gnome services» boxes checked in Xfce session settings?
    – user86969
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 12:53
  • In Session and Startup -> Advanced tab, I have Launch GNOME services on startup checked, but Launch KDE services on startup is unchecked. Could that be interfering?
    – Mike
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 13:07
  • It might be. Because I once had troubles with GNOME services and (IIRC) some keyboard settings, I've set myself to keep these unchecked. Try unchecking «GNOME services» and see what happens. Bear in mind that there might be some "cool" stuff that no longer works. But for test's sake...
    – user86969
    Commented Mar 3, 2015 at 13:27

2 Answers 2


After some trial and error on my part, I've worked out the behaviour of focus-follows-mouse on Xfce.

  • When focus-follows-mouse is enabled, clicking the window button for each window will bring that window forward, but not give it focus.

  • Clicking the window button of a focused window will minimize it, even if it's not at the front.brings it to the front, if it is minimized, else it will minimize the window.

  • If the window is already brought to the front and not focused, then clicking the window button will do nothing

This seems like a bug to me, although some might argue it's working as designed. Either way, the root of the (apparent) unpredictability was that when focus-follows-mouse is enabled, window buttons on the panel do not affect the focus of the target window.

  • Well, congrats for digging it thus far. I for one never to rarely use window buttons and almost exclusively rely on auto focus using the mouse so I never observed the weirdness you described. Indeed this is worth trying to submit a bug for this.
    – user86969
    Commented Mar 4, 2015 at 19:16

When customizing your desktop, there are chances you will accidentally lose some preferred functionalities either triggered by other actions you make or just that you did something and have forgotten how to reverse it.

Well, in case minimize on panel click is not working for you on Xfce (maximize on panel click always works), that is because you have set the option to minimize windows using middle click.

Here is how to reverse it.

-- Right-click an empty space on the panel and choose Panel > Panel Preferences > Items. Locate and select Windows Buttons and click on the settings icon at the bottom next to Remove. To achieve this easily, you can as well just hold down the Ctrl key then right-click on the Windows Button on the panel and choose Properties.

Look for Middle click action drop-down in the Behaviour section and change it to anything other than Minimize Window.

That's all.enter image description here

  • This is not the problem I was seeing, I already found the problem and verified the solution. The panel will only minimize windows which have focus and, when focus-follows-mouse is enabled, left-clicking the window button on the panel will not give focus to that window, only bring it forward.
    – Mike
    Commented May 10 at 14:42

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