The GNOME Desktop and many applications use GConf to store user preferences and system configuration data. GConf provides a central storage location for preferences, simplifying configuration management for users and system administrators. More information about GConf can be found in the GNOME System Administrator's Guide.

Configuration Editor allows users to modify their preferences for the entire GNOME Desktop and any applications which use GConf. Additionally, system administrators can use Configuration Editor to set default and mandatory settings which will affect all users.

Preferences are stored in GConf in a hierarchy of keys. Each key has an associated value which specifies your setting for that preference. For instance, the key /apps/glines/preferences/ball_theme stores which theme you use in the game Five or More.

Configuration Editor enables you to modify your configuration source directly. If you are not an experienced user, do not use Configuration Editor to set preferences for the GNOME Desktop. Instead, use the preference tools in the GNOME Desktop. For information about how to use preference tools, see the latest version of the GNOME Desktop User Guide for your platform.