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Hopefully someone can enlighten me about a baffling and frustrating issue!

Sometimes when I am doing an installation or a removal, something weird happens. All the open windows disappear, and I see my desktop wallpaper. Then all the windows reappear, but they have no menu bar, so I can't close them. The bar at the top of the screen (with the clock and so on) has also disappeared, as indeed has the Unity Launcher. When this happens, all I can do is wait for the process to finish, and then use CTRL+ALT+DELETE to log out of Ubuntu, then log back in again. Only seems to happen if I am doing updates or installing/removing software.

What exactly is happening here, has anyone else ever seen this, and perhaps most importantly, is there a way to stop this from happening?

My machine:
Dell Inspiron 530
ATI Radeon HD6670 graphics card (running the latest driver)

And I'm running 64 bit.

There isn't really a "step-by-step" way to reproduce the issue because I can never predict exactly when it will occur. Usually I'm installing a program through Software Center or update manager, maybe running other things in the background - Terminal, Firefox etc. - and then everything flickers, all the windows disappear and then come back with no menu bars.

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closed as off-topic by bain, Luis Alvarado Jul 25 '14 at 14:05

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Bug reports and problems specific to development version of Ubuntu should be reported on Launchpad so that developers can see, track and fix these issues." – bain, Luis Alvarado
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

I have a Dell Inspiron 530, but I have an ATI Radeon HD6670 graphics card and I am running the latest driver. – Sam H May 22 '13 at 20:49
4GB, and I'm running 64 bit so I actually DO get 4GB – Sam H May 22 '13 at 20:53
Ok desgua, I will try that. – Sam H May 22 '13 at 22:13
That replicated the error! – Sam H May 22 '13 at 22:25
I did a "clean up" of my messages. Resume: I asked for machine specifications, then suggest run compiz --replace in a terminal to catch any error message. Did you get some? – desgua May 23 '13 at 12:22

To restart your shell manually after such a crash (this is a crash), you could instead of logging out go to a virtual terminal (ctrl+alt+F1), login there, issue the following command:

(DISPLAY=:0 unity --replace &)

You should first clean the environment like killall compiz & killall unity since stray processes of Unity might remain even after the crash.

Oh, and to return to the graphical environment, alt+F7 (+optional ctrl)

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