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Generally, I recommend using gconf-editor ~ a tool used for editing the GConf configuration database (Gnome settings). You can always edit configuration files. Many new Linux users find it difficult to use both gconf-editor and text files.

To make your life easier and to save time try out new Ubuntu Tweak software. It is designed to configure Ubuntu easily using GUI tools. It provided many useful Ubuntu desktop and system tweaking options such as:
=> View Basic System Information
=> GNOME Session Control
=> Show/Hide and Change Splash screen
=> Show/Hide desktop icons or Mounted Volumes
=> Show/Hide/Rename Computer, Home, Trash icon or Network icon
=> Tweak Metacity Window Manager's Style and Behavior
=> Compiz Fusion settings, Screen Edge Settings, Window Effects Settings, Menu Effect Settins
=> GNOME Panel Settings
=> Nautilus Settings
=> Advanced Power Management Settings
=> System Security Settings and much more

Quick Installation

$ cd /tmp; wget http://ubuntu-tweak.googlecode.com/files/ubuntu-tweak_0.2.4-ubuntu2_all.deb
$ sudo dpkg -i ubuntu-tweak_0.2.4-ubuntu2_all.deb
$ ubuntu-tweak &

Ubuntu Tweak to Change Desktop Settings
(Fig. 01: Ubuntu Tweak in Action)

Bruce Byfield has published an interesting article on Linux.com:

For years, discerning Windows users have relied on Tweak UI, a semi-official Microsoft program for system settings not available on the default desktop. Now, in the same tradition and with something of the same name, Ubuntu Tweak (UT) offers the same advantage to Ubuntu users. Currently at version 0.2.4, for now UT is limited to features for GNOME and focuses mainly on changing default desktop and system behavior and how GNOME interacts with your hardware, but this small feature set is more than enough for proof of concept.

Download Ubuntu Tweak Software

=> Grab Ubuntu Tweak here (via Linux.com).