I have decided to remove GNOME and install Unity in my Ubuntu 18.04 and I need some advice on how to do this without affecting my personal files, installed packages and other installed extensions.

Can someone please help me with that?

  • 1
    You can't completely remove Gnome, because Unity depends on it. Also, "Ubuntu x org,waylands,Ubuntu" are not DEs. – mikewhatever Oct 26 '18 at 13:41
  • so how can i reduces files for gnome and why do i have those file (Ubuntu x org,waylands,Ubuntu) – crispy Oct 26 '18 at 14:41
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    Why remove/replace GNOME? It's almost 99% like Unity. Unity is a dead end. – heynnema Oct 26 '18 at 14:58
  • its because on my laptop sometime gnome hangs but unity doesn't that's why i prefer unity over gnome so you are telling me that i have to keep them both unity and gnome as the best option – crispy Oct 26 '18 at 16:08
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    @christiannshimyumukiza if you're having gnome-shell hangs, it's probably due to a bad GNOME extension. Go here and temporarily disable ALL extensions, and see if your problem goes away. Edit your question to show me ls -al .local/share/gnome-shell/extensions. Report back. – heynnema Oct 26 '18 at 17:50


  • It may not be quite worthy to remove the gnome shell desktop. Unity uses many components of Gnome. The space savings may not be that relevant, unless indeed you have a very small hard drive.
  • To "granularly" remove all packages only needed by gnome-shell, and not by unity would require a detailed investigation of dependencies. Lacking that, you still can remove gnome-shell. That way, that login option also will be gone, and for practical purposes, the system will already "feel" as if Unity is the only installed desktop.


You could proceed as following. Caveat: do this (as usual) only after you have a full backup of your data. There is always a possibility something goes wrong.

  • Remove gnome-shell (this is: only the shell, not the gnome system and core components)

sudo apt purge gnome-shell

This will completely remove packages related to the shell. This will also remove the ubuntu-desktop metapackage, because you indeed are removing a core part of the current Ubuntu desktop. This will also remove the gdm login manager.

  • Perform an autoremove

sudo apt autoremove

This will remove all packages that were automatically installed but are no longer needed by any remaining package.

  • Make sure light-dm (automatically installed with ubuntu-unity-desktop) is properly set as your default login display manager by running the command:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure lightdm

(see How to change from GDM to LightDM? for specifics)

  • Check your Unity-desktop core files are all in place by reinstalling the meta-package

sudo apt install --reinstall ubuntu-unity-desktop

Thus, Ubuntu will reinstall the (small) metapackage, and while doing so, check that all required dependencies are (still) in place. May not be needed, but just to be sure.

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