Broken Gnome Desktop

Brian McKee brian.mckee at
Wed Jan 7 18:56:13 UTC 2009

On Wed, Jan 7, 2009 at 12:59 PM, NoOp <glgxg at> wrote:
> On 01/06/2009 07:29 AM, Steve Brettell wrote:
>> For some reason, my Gnome desktop has broken: I'm running Ubuntu
>> Hardy Heron; there are no panels on the desktop, and I can't restore
>> them, they aren't "hidden," or at least they don't popup when the
>> cursor is hovered over the space where they should be; no
>> applications can be opened from the desktop; Alt-f2 does nothing. I
>> can open files that are on the desktop, but nothing else.

> Can you use Ctrl-Alt-F2 to get to a terminal? If so, login (enter your
> username and password at the prompts [1]. Then:
> sudo apt-get update
> sudo apt-get upgrade
> sudo apt-get install --reinstall gnome-panel
> sudo reboot now
> That will reboot the machine and when you log back in you should have
> your panels back. If that doesn't work, then go back to the terminal and
> we'll rename .gnome2 so that you can restore/edit/troubleshoot later:
> sudo mv ~/.gnome2 ~/.x-gnome2-x
> sudo reboot now
> When you log back in you should have the original default panels. You
> will find that any modifications that you had to the panels/menus
> previously will be missing, that is expected. You can add them back, or
> you can go through your old .gnome2 settings (now .x-gnome2-x) and see
> if you can figure out what messed up the desktop.
> Note: in many cases it's not necessary to reboot, however without
> knowing what you may have done to your system to cause the panels to go
> away I think it's better to reboot each time.

Somebody bookmark this and hang onto it - it's becoming a FAQ :-)


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