On Ubuntu 12.04 I use openbox with a single "gnome-panel" started. But after trying to configure my two screen in Xinerama mode I got additional rows of panels each time X restarted.

And despite I completely reverted to my one-screen-X-config

  • the gnome-panel displayed has 4 rows (4 at top sreen, 4 at bottom)
  • only the outermost row has content, the other 3 are empty
  • there is only one gnome-panel process running
  • some widgets appear 4 times, too, although they run only once
  • when I switch away from openbox using unity I am back to 1 row temporarily

What went wrong here? How do I undo that? Things that did not help:

  • rm -Rf .gnome2 .gconf/ .compiz-1/
  • pkill panel, and restarting it

2 Answers 2


Run the following, apparently gnome3 stores configuration in binary form (I haven't read up on dconf enough to know where or why).

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

Run: dconf-editor to edit the config.

Go to: org.gnome.gnome-panel.layout (it's pretty intuitive)

The defaults seem to be:

object-id-list     ['menu-bar', 'indicators', 'show-desktop', 'window-list', 'workspace-switcher']
toplevel-id-list   ['top-panel', 'bottom-panel']

I had to figure this out after I had some weird issue with gnome while trying to get my 2 monitors to work. Everything (menus, rows, clock, etc.) seemed to duplicate on the panel after every attempt to restart the X server. I should have took a screenshot but this is essentially what I had before I fixed it:

object-id-list     ['menu-bar', 'indicators', 'show-desktop', 'window-list', 'workspace-switcher', 'menu-bar-0', 'indicators-0', 'show-desktop-0', 'window-list-0', 'workspace-switcher-0', 'menu-bar-1', 'indicators-1', 'show-desktop-1', 'window-list-1', 'workspace-switcher-1']
toplevel-id-list   ['top-panel', 'bottom-panel', 'top-panel-screen1', 'bottom-panel-screen1', 'top-panel-screen1-0', 'bottom-panel-screen1-0']

As you can see, there's 3 of everything.

  • 1
    That was a perfect solution and nicely described. Do you happen to know where the config is stored that I am editing with dconf-editor? a) I could edit that file with emacs, then and b) I have most files of my homdir in a git repository and thought I would be safe against such things now -- but it seems I missed the file where that is stored.
    – towi
    May 9, 2012 at 6:32
  • 1
    I found this, but I don't have a $DCONF_PROFILE and I haven't been able to find the files, hope this helps: live.gnome.org/dconf/SystemAdministrators
    – zechariah
    May 12, 2012 at 18:27
  • your settings work, but note that clicking the "Set to default" leaves the value blank ([]) (at least on my 12.10) Nov 9, 2012 at 21:31
  • pkill gnome-panel and blank values will be magically restored. Apr 11, 2013 at 5:33

Thanks to zechariah.

What about:

dconf reset -f /org/gnome/gnome-panel/layout/

That got rid of 3 of my four panels.

  • The multiple rows came back for me every time gnome-panel was started. This turned out to be because /etc/X11/xorg.conf defined an extra "screen". Jun 24, 2014 at 22:07

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