As for the last few months, my gnome desktop environment has been messed up(because I went to installing a ton of desktop environments such as kde and unity when I first got Ubuntu a year ago.). My cursor is the cursor from the breeze theme, I still got apps from the MATE and Unity desktop environments on my computer, the UbuntuMATE boot up screen from installing the MATE D.E., Unity login screen(I want to keep this screen though, and if I remember correctly, still have the entire kde plasma D.E. ready to be used, all despite me trying every single tutorial and purge command I could find. I'm desperate for a way to get fix this problem and getting my Ubuntu Gnome desktop to look normal(and yes, I've tried reinstalling the Ubuntu gnome desktop aswell as seeing if installing vanilla gnome works, none do.)

  • I also ran through a lot of desktops when I first started using Ubuntu. It's my opinion that the easiest way to fix it is to reinstall Ubuntu, however I believe that this is not popular - there's several people that would rather try to fix it. Jan 22, 2021 at 2:16
  • After many frustration hours you will most likely not have a 100 percent happy system Reinstall
    – David
    Jan 22, 2021 at 6:26

1 Answer 1


The easiest way to do what you're trying to do is to re-install the operating system and restore your files from backup (you do have backups, right?). From what you've described in your question, it's highly unlikely that every setting and configuration can be returned to default.

However, if you would like to try, then dconf may get you part of the way there:

$ dconf reset -f /

Very Important: By running this command, Gnome will be reset completely, this includes Gnome-based applications. You may need to re-enter accounts, reconfigure preferences, rebuild playlists (in Rhythmbox), and the like. Do not be surprised if this also removes the login screen that you wish to keep.

If this only gets you part of the way, you can follow it up with a bit more cleanup. In your question you hint that you may have already done this, but here are the steps to get the default Ubuntu desktop environment re-installed:

  1. Ensure any misconfigured/unconfigured packages are resolved and up to date:
$ sudo dpkg --configure -a
  1. Ensure any missing dependencies are reinstalled and you're completely up-to-date:
$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt -f install
$ sudo apt full-upgrade
  1. Reinstall the Ubuntu desktop environment and remove any unnecessary cruft:
$ sudo apt install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop
$ sudo apt autoremove
$ sudo apt clean
  1. Reboot.

If the system is still a giant mess afterwards, grab a Live USB stick and nuke the installation from orbit.

  • Would this remove my drivers for my GPU and wifi adapter?
    – Kravchynko
    Jan 22, 2021 at 2:22
  • Got a lot of my issues dealt with, my only two problems now is just the cursor still being the breeze cursor and the Ubuntu MATE boot screen. (Firefox also thinks that my system is still UbuntuMATE.
    – Kravchynko
    Jan 22, 2021 at 2:43
  • The above answer will not remove your drivers at all so long as they're properly installed. As for the system name, you'll likely have to update /etc/os-release, /etc/lsb-release, and /etc/issue to the version of Ubuntu you're actually running.
    – user1091774
    Jan 22, 2021 at 2:47
  • Nothing was wrong in those files. Also, I added a pw to root so I could do su in normal Ubuntu.
    – Kravchynko
    Jan 22, 2021 at 3:59

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.