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 have ubuntu 10.04. After installing, I added xfce as my default desktop/windows manager. Sometime over the weekend, my computer turned itself off. (I'm not sure what happened, but when I came over to use it, it was turned off. Chromium said it wasn't shut down cleanly when I started it up again). Ever since then, xfce seems to be running gnome's desktop.

Specifically, it's using gnome's desktop background, it is using the gnome right-click-on-the-desktop menu, and not letting me use the scroll wheel while pointing to the desktop to change workspaces. When I have terminal window with transparency open, it shows my xfce background images as being what is behind it, even though that isn't what is behind it.

How do I restore xfce to its former glory?

share|improve this question
up vote 1 down vote accepted

I bet it was Nautilus taking over ! If it happens again terminate nautilus in task manager. If you want to switch to xfce permanently get rid of Nautilus in favor of Thunar or maybe PCMan.

share|improve this answer
I suspect you're right. I generally do use Thunar. I just removed Nautilus completely - we'll see if that fixes it. (I'll accept this answer if I can go a few computer reboots without it happening again) – David Oneill Feb 20 '12 at 17:56
just watch out that an app like Dropbox from my experience needs Nautilus for some functions and seems to install it rather discretely. But it would work ok after uninstalling Nautilus in Synaptics. If the problem comes back watch if Nautilus is not there too! ;-) – cipricus Feb 21 '12 at 18:09
I do have use dopbox and hasn't seemed to be hampered by the lack of Nautilus... So far at least, this has prevented the behaviour. – David Oneill Feb 22 '12 at 19:17
without nautilus lacks the ability to get dropbox links in the file browser - and those signs on the monitored folders that only nautilus had. but that is a small price when one likes xfce desktop. also, there is a thunar-dropbox plugin – cipricus Feb 22 '12 at 19:54
Ah - yeah, I never used those. I do the majority of my interactions with files from the commandline anyway, so that's no loss for me. Thanks for solving this mystery for me! – David Oneill Feb 22 '12 at 21:37

Well, that's odd. [using the gnome switch background dialog] I changed the background. Immediately after doing that, it switched back to xfce's backgrounds and menus, etc.

share|improve this answer

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.