Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm running Lucid on a few laptops, with xfce as the desktop environment.

Before Lucid, the little NetworkManager tray widget would automatically scan for access points for me. Now, however, I find that I have to go run iwlist myself to look for SSIDs (if I don't know one already) and manually add that to the list. Once I've done that, then it'll automatically connect (if the AP is configured that way).

Part of what makes this a real pain is that the tray widget (sometimes) seems to not show itself at all when there's no current connection and no known access points. I have to kill NetworkManager (which is a pain, because init really wants to re-launch it), run iwlist to find an SSID, go to the (now showing) tray widget and add the SSID, and then re-start NetworkManager.

I realize that the widget is just messing with a config file or two, and I'm happy to fool with those manually, but what I'd really like is for it to work the way it used to and just do the scan for me. Note that once I've got a connection up, then it shows me all the APs it can see, as before.

I acknowledge that it's possible I screwed up some setup file, but I've really tried scrubbing everything back to "as new" state and that hasn't helped. Am I crazy or did that stuff really change?

share|improve this question
etckeeper can help with finding out what config settings changed and when (but only for /etc). – Roger Pate Aug 28 '10 at 1:25
That's a good idea. Thanks! – Pointy Aug 29 '10 at 14:19
up vote 1 down vote accepted

You can ask upstart (the init daemon used on Ubuntu) to stop NetworkManager, that's much "cleaner" than killing the process yourself: sudo initctl stop network-manager (replace "stop" with "start" to start it manually again).

About the issues with NetworkManager: it seems like it logs to /var/log/daemon.log; maybe you can find some useful messages there?

share|improve this answer
I know everything is moving (or is moved) to upstart, but is there anything wrong with using sudo service NetworkManager stop? – aperson Aug 25 '10 at 6:50
When there is a script in /etc/init.d/ that does the "initctl" for you (and it's there for network-manager), service will work too. (But note that it's called "network-manager" now, not "NetworkManager" as it was called in the past IIRC.) – JanC Aug 25 '10 at 8:27
It's still called "NetworkManager" in 10.04. Thanks for the suggestions, but my problem isn't so much with how to go about killing/restarting NetworkManager. I'd rather not have to do it at all :-) – Pointy Aug 25 '10 at 14:17
I have no init script named "NetworkManager" in 10.04 (and everything works fine here...). And to fix your issue, please check the logfile(s) I mention above if they have any useful info. – JanC Aug 25 '10 at 15:32
Aparently the package is called "network-manager", and it include /etc/init.d/NetworkManager - maybe you don't have it installed. When I log in when not near any known access points, the tray widget hides itself and makes it impossible to select from any AP's it may have scanned. There's stuff in the log file, but it's not very clear what it means. – Pointy Aug 25 '10 at 16:45

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.