Mine is HP 540 / Gnu/Linux Mint Maya. No GPU. I use Cinnamon. I did Mint Update. I simply installed Nvidia tool settings and experimental-310. Once I rebooted, I can see only ordinary desktop without any cinnamon panels, screenlets, menu, hot corner(mint) and the theme was entirely changed to Old-Linux-style. Then I uninstalled Nvidia settings/experimental. Yet I couldn't recover my cinnamon desktop.
closed as off topic by Eric Carvalho, Sergey, Eliah Kagan, Bruno Pereira Jan 23 '13 at 20:40
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try to reach cinnamon setting and do reset for all settings to default
start the terminal use CTRL+ALT+T