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I turned on my machine here today and multiple elements of the ubuntu UI had stopped working.

  • The hot bar, with applications like terminal, system preferences etc. which normally pops forward when I move the mouse to the left side of the screen does not do so anymore.
  • The "windows" key (or whatever it's called) which normally brings forward a search tab at the top of the screen does nothing now.
  • Any shortcut with the windows key does nothing. Normally windows+1 open application #1 in my hot bar.
  • Alt-tab does not work. It seems to act as a simple tab.
  • Changing workspaces with control-alt- does not change the workspace. Instead it types A for ctr-alt-up, B for ctrl-alt-down, C for ctrl-alt-right and D for ctrl-alt-left.
  • Normally there is an application menu at the top, if you move the mouse up there. Not anymore.

I supect it may be something to do with the windows management or configuration. Since this is a new issue it may be due to an application that failed to start or did not properly set up.

I've run sudo apt-get update followed by an reboot of the system. No success.

I noticed that software-center was failing to work due to permissions with python packages. It may have been there for longer than today. After fixing it, the main issue listed above persisted.

I've seen another person with what seemed to be an equivalent issue due to unity http://askubuntu.com/a/185119/235211/ following his solution did nothing for me.

Suggestions on how I can fix the issue or further debug it would be greatly useful?

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