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Recently installed a program to change ubuntu's desktop but went bad, so I uninstalled it but the graphic gui had debriss and stuff all around. had to reinstall ubuntu completely. How do I change ubuntu's desktop without messing around the system?

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Can you add more information describing your problem? What did you change? –  Jorge Castro Dec 31 '11 at 19:02

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We have lots of different desktops. You can (click to) install xfce4, LXDE, Gnome Shell (includes Gnome Panel as "fallback") or any other desktop. You choose the desktop you want to use before logging in, by clicking on the button next to the password field.

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If you haven’t installed Ubuntu on something in a little while, you may be in for a bit of a surprise when you see the Unity interface. Canonical has done quite a bit to make things user friendly, but some adventurous Linux fans may be interested in exploring new options. If that’s the case know this: there’s no need to uninstall Ubuntu, you can change the environment to suit your needs.

The desktop environment on Ubuntu may not be your cup of tea, and that’s alright. Ubuntu has been used as the base for a ton of other desktop environments, which offer you several choices for how you think the desktop should look. These changes will alter the look and feel of the operating system, without affecting applications or content stored on your computer. This way, if you’ve been using the OS for a while you can make these UI changes without needed to uninstall Ubuntu or even back up (though backing up is a good idea before doing any major work).

The first thing you will need to do is choose which desktop environment you want to change to. This walkthrough will demonstrate changing to the Gnome UI for Ubuntu, as well as the KDE Plasma UI for Ubuntu.

Classic Ubuntu (Gnome) Previous versions of Ubuntu had always relied on Gnome to handle the user experience. Gnome is a powerful desktop environment, but offered a relatively poor out-of-the-box experience and little visual flourish. The move to Unity offered a significant UI update to Ubuntu without dramatically changing the workflow for most people. If you prefer the minimal Gnome experience to the glossy and perhaps bloated feeling Unity, reverting back is pretty simple. Start off by closing all of your currently running applications and opening a terminal, which you can quickly do by pressing CTRL-ALT-T.

Start off by updating APT:

sudo ap-get update

Next, install the Gnome Classic packages

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

Once this installation is complete, log out of your current Ubuntu session. From here, click Ubuntu icon in the top right corner of the login screen. You’ll be presented with options for all currently installed desktop environments. The latest addition to this list will be Gnome Classic. Click this option, and select OK to be prompted for your login credentials. When you have logged in, the Unity interface will be gone and you’ll be back to the way Ubuntu used to be. You’ll have a new Ubuntu without needing uninstall your old Ubuntu.

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If you’re interested in an entirely new experience, one that offers a more traditional desktop Linux experience but still has some nice visual appeal, you could always give KDE a try. KDE Linux does things a little differently if you are installing it from scratch, but if you’d rather not uninstall Ubuntu you can create what is commonly referred to as “Kubuntu” and just replace the desktop functionality. This can be done without affecting data or applications on your computer. All you need to start is your currently running applications closed an a new terminal window open.

In the terminal, enter the following

sudo apt-get install kubuntu-desktop

Once this has finished installing, log out of your current session. The Ubuntu icon at your login screen will have a new option, labeled “KDE Plasma”. Once you’ve logged in you will see the iconic blue tones and soft glossy icons with transparencies all over the place.

If you’ve never used KDE before, there’s a lot to explore. For example, the icon in the bottom left hand corner of the UI functions similarly to a Windows Start Menu only with a little more visual appeal. There are still virtual desktops through the icon right next to the horizontal stoplight, which is used to quickly take you to active applications.

Uninstall Ubuntu’s Unity when you are ready Once you have decided on a new desktop environment, you can get rid of Unity altogether if you like. You don’t have to, but if you’re positive that you would never be interested in using the graphical environment again it’s just as simple to remove as the others are to install.

When removing Unity, you’ll need a terminal open and all of your other applications closed.

sudo apt-get remove unity-lens-music unity-lens-applications unity-greeter unity-common unity-asset-pool unity-2d-launcher unity-2d libunity-misc4 libunity-2d-private0 gir1.2-unity-4.0

You’ll need to logout when you are finished, but when you log back in the Ubuntu option will be removed from the list of available desktop environments. Unity can be re-installed at any time, as it is treated just like any other desktop environment. The flexibility you have here is significant, but in no way specific to Ubuntu. There’s a lot of options available to you without having to uninstall Ubuntu base, which in the end offers you the widest rage of support for hardware.

The directions above aren’t particularly complex, but they are useful. They are also way easier than uninstalling Ubuntu altogether, just to get access to another interface.

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Willy Wonka willy Wonka the amazing chocolatier –  svineet Apr 4 at 14:23

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