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I recently have experienced the same problem twice when upgrading two computers - once when upgrading Lubuntu 12.10 to 13.10 and again today when upgrading a second computer from 12.10 to 14.04.

In both cases after logging in the desktop opened to a blank wallpaper - no panel and none of my desktop folders etc. Right clicking the desktop brings up a menu with various options not all of which work. In both cases logging out and back into guest session shows the full desktop with panel and folders etc.

How can I fix this?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

I found a simple fix for this particular problem on another forum. The fault seems to lie in personal settings for lxsession which are no longer available in the upgraded version.

From the blank desktop open a terminal. (Ctrl+Alt+T)

Type in


Press enter.

This should restore your panel so you can open your home folder.

Press Ctrl+ H to show hidden folders.

Open the .config/lxsession folder and delete the Lubuntu folder. Logout and back in, the Lubuntu folder will be re-created with default settings and your desktop should be back. This worked in both instances for me.

(Apologies for any formatting errors, still an amateur at this).

Edit: I may have used the incorrect terminology with regards to upgrading. In both instances I installed from disk and selected the option of installing the new OS over the old while keeping settings and home folder.

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I can't open a terminal. Ctrl+Alt+T doesn't work. What can I do? – becko Sep 30 '14 at 19:52

Please note:

You can't (or are not supported to) upgrade from 12.10 to 13.10, or from 12.10 to 14.04 LTS.

Anything could break, or produce subtle errors you do not notice initially. What you have attempted (assuming you gave accurate details) is definitely NOT recommended.

There is no certainty that your fix (suggested here) addresses all issues.

Ubuntu is ONLY supported when EITHER upgrading to the next release (while the old is still being supported), OR from LTS to next LTS release (again, while the old LTS is still supported).

eg. 13.10 to 14.04 LTS, and 12.04 LTS to 14.04 LTS

Otherwise, you should do a clean install of the NEW release, after first backing up your data (and any applications settings).

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Well... Doing a do-release-upgrade upgraded my system from 12.10 to 13.10... – Calmarius Aug 20 '14 at 13:17

I fixed this problem by removing all files and folders in my home folder ($ cd ~/) that start with ".". I think this is a problem with some configuration file from the previous installation, but as I don't know which file is, I moved all of them to a temp folder.

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I had the same problem recently after installing Lubuntu 14.04 LTS on my ASUS EeePC 701. The "scenario" was the almost exactly the same as described here (got a logon screen but then I arrived at a totally blank desktop, just the wallpaper + mouse pointer showing and no panels at all) but in my case it was all due to total lack of available storage on the built in flash drive. After exiting to the command line and deleting files to get some free disk space, it all booted up like expected at next restart. So, if there is a risk that there might be a shortage of disk space, a disk cleanup might (at least temporarily) solve the problem.

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