Gvtray: A volume control for your system tray

August 15, 2007 at 12:39 pm | Posted in programs, tips and tricks | 15 Comments
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this guide is no longer necessary IMO. I’ve solved my volume control problems by dragging the Volume Control plugin from the item list to the panel. Simple, but it works.

I have problems with the default Volume Control plugin in Xubuntu, so this is a useful solution. It displays the volume percent, and can be turned up or down using the mousewheel.

1) First, open up the terminal and get the necessary programs:

sudo apt-get install python-alsaaudio python-gnome2-extras
wget http://gtk-tray-utils.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/gvtray-1.1.tar.gz

2) Extract gvtray-1.1.tar.gz and go into the newly created directory:

tar -xvf gvtray-1.1.tar.gz
cd gvtray-1.1

3) Run all of the following commands:

sudo mkdir /usr/share/gvtray
sudo cp gvtray /usr/bin
sudo cp gvtray.py /usr/share/gvtray/
sudo cp -r gvtray_about/ /usr/share/gvtray/gvtray_about

4) Now test it out:


And there it is, a volume control in the system tray. You will get an error message in the terminal; just ignore it.

Hope this program is useful!


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  1. Could you tell us what was wrong with the default Volume Control panel item?
    What are gvtray’s advantages?

  2. I have a detailed Launchpad report of it all here:


    Quite simply, it doesn’t load. And every time it does, it never does again. The advantage to gvtray is that it…well, loads. ;)

  3. :D
    I see.
    Well, I guess I don’t need it then. :)

  4. You may not, but another advantage is that it can be used in IceWM/Openbox :D

  5. nice :)

  6. I am very underwhelmed by gvtray. It took me a while to get it installed (because I was missing the python-gnome2-extras package), and the interface is pretty ugly.

    I have my Thinkpad’s media keys mapped to amixer set Master x+/- and gvtray does not recognize that the volume has changed when I press the media keys (but at least it does change volume on mouse wheel).

    I ended up installing Gnome’s volume control applet via xfapplet. It’s still not great, because I can’t see fine grained volume level information (how do Gnome users even begin to put up with this stuff?), but it’s still a step above gvtray.

  7. It’s slick, but sound still doesn’t work.

  8. Just what I needed — and very easy to follow instructions! Appreciated!

  9. I’m trying it, as I have trouble with sound on my ThinkPad R60 and it might help to try something new – sometimes my sound works poorly, sometimes not at all. And I wondered where the heck the volume control was.

    But 27.6 MB extra space required? (first step). Seems a lot for a volume control…?

  10. 27.6? Mine comes to about 4. Maybe you should try it without python-gnome2-extras?

  11. I did everything described above for my Xubuntu but I don’t see any Volume Control icon or console.. And I get this error message in the Terminal:
    “you need the alsaaudio python module”
    Where do I Get that?
    and/or do I just need to reboot or find the icon somewhere (else)?

  12. Nice Application!
    Use in Fluxbox.

  13. Thank you so much! For some reason, I can not get a volume controller in Xubuntu Jaunty, and this is perfect. Solves many a headache.

  14. Thanks for the info on this. I upgraded to the Karmic beta and the only volume control icon they offer in GNOME depends on PulseAudio, which I don’t use. Wasn’t happy about that.

  15. this is very interesting article. many knowledge to new user.

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