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When I VNC into my machine all I see is background image with no icons or unity or dash. I can't even right click on the desktop. The Unity launcher and Dash don't appear either.

This first happened a couple weeks ago and I tried a bunch of things like editing my Compiz settings, restarting lightdm etc. but none of them worked. Somehow, I did manage to get files on my desktop to show up, which made it easy for me to browse to other folders on the machine. Now, I can't even get that to appear.

Please let me know if there's a fix for this.

Update: Just noticed that this only occurs when I VNC into the machine. I have it plugged into a monitor now and everything appears to be normal.

Update 2: I just VNC into port 5900 (Ubuntu Remote Desktop) instead of using a TightVNCserver port (590x). Don't know why the tightvnc sessions couldn't get Unity or Dash to load. This is not really a fix but can hopefully help someone.

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What version are you running? I ran into the same problem and just switched to xrdp. This article is pretty straight forward:

...or this:

sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install xrdp


echo "gnome-session --session=ubuntu-2d" > /home/YOURUSER/.xsession


sudo /etc/init.d/xrdp restart

Hope that helps.

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