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From the unity-panel-service manpages:

    The  unity-panel-service  program  is  normally  started automatically by the Unity
    shell (which gets started as a compiz module) and is used to draw panels which  can
    then be used for the global menu, or to hold indicators.

How can the unity-panel-service be non-automatically started abnormally?
In other words, how is it arbitrarily manually started and/or stopped?

The manpage implication is that this can be done without stopping the Unity shell.

This answer seems promising:

Is it possible to restart the unity panel without restarting compiz?

but ... not. The process can be killed from System Monitor but it restarts automatically.


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I used this solution to disable automatically starting unity-service-panel from starting. But you should be clear, unity-panel-service is not the panel on top bar, but it provides a service so that indicators can run on the panel.


  1. Move the unity-panel-service file to somewhere else

    sudo mv /usr/lib/unity/unity-panel-service ~

    This will move the file to your home folder.

  2. Now Logout using Ctrl-Alt-Del shortcut.

  3. Login

The service is now disabled. If you want to verify it, run ps -u | grep unity in a terminal.

To revert the change, move the file back into the original location.

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I have same issue in Precise. Tried:

    sudo mv /usr/lib/unity/unity-panel-service ~

Worked after I reversed the command and put unity-panel-service back in its original folder. I don't understand why it would take removing the file and putting it back, for it to work. If anyone understands why, I'm sure a lot of people would love to know. But it works and there are absolutely no negative repercussions.

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In Ubuntu 12.04

It is a DBUS service. It will auto launch whenever com.canonical.Unity.Panel.Service is requested by any application and no process provide or took its ownership.

  • To make it manual rename the DBUS service file:

    sudo mv /usr/share/dbus-1/services/com.canonical.Unity.Panel.Service.service /usr/share/dbus-1/services/com.canonical.Unity.Panel.Service.service.disabled
  • Manual start it:

    /usr/lib/unity/unity-panel-service & disown $!
  • Manual stop it:

    pkill -f unity-panel-service

In Ubuntu 14.04

It's an upstart session job.

  • to stop it:

    stop unity-panel-service
  • start it:

    start unity-panel-service
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