I am on Ubuntu 20.04 desktop.

1.) No extensions will launch, even though https://extensions.gnome.org/local/ says they are installed and activated.

2.) Gnome-shell ignores appearance settings in the upper-right settings menu (power, lock, etc.). For example. I put the launcher on the bottom of the screen in settings... nothing happens, launcher remains in default left hand positions

3.) Certain application will not launch Chromium, Opera, etc.

a.) I had Stacer install installed. I uninstalled Stacer and my entire system froze.

b.) I used ctl+fn+alt+f5 to bring up a shell and used killall -9 gnome-shell && /usr/bin/gnome-shell seeking to restart my desktop. Desktop restarted but all gnome-extensions were missing.

c.) I decided to use Timeshift to get myself out of the hellish ubuntu rabbit-hole that I have crawled into. I restored to the state/ condition of the previous night. Although Stacer was back... All gnome-extensions were still gone.

d.) From here, I completely uninstalled and then reinstalled gnome-shell. I re-installed the gnome-shell native connector. same problems above

e.) I have apparmor installed. So I completely disabled it and rebooted. Chromium & Opea came back, but other problems above remain

I decide to try Timeshift again, since at least my launcher appear on bottom as normal.

1.) After timeshifting I disabled apparmor and rebooted. It appears that my apps not launching are due to apparmor vs. snap issues that somehow got amplified when I reinstalled gnome. I can troubleshoot apparmor later.

2.) I created a new system administrator user on @vanadium's advice below. Indeed, the new system administrator has the ability to install and run gnome-shell extensions, without problems.

anyone have any ideas on how to get my desktop working again?

  • First, create a new account and see if the issues persist while logged in there. At least that will show you whether the issues are related to the user configuration or to the overall system.
    – vanadium
    Aug 16, 2022 at 11:16
  • @vanadium good tip... the new system administrator can install and use gnome-shell extensions at will. (add my progress above)... so why is my user misbehaving?
    – nightwatch
    Aug 16, 2022 at 12:03

1 Answer 1


After soon to be 12+ hours. I got my system back. Thanks to @vanadium for the pointer that prevented me from doing a full reinstall.

A little angry, so apologize if my tone is off... but I learned some interesting things during this adventure. I got most of my system back, just missing 100's of tabs :-/

1.) Timeshift lies.

a.) after it completely restored my system, it somehow got permissions/settings for gnome-shell extensions wrong. On my machine and on extensions.gnome.org/local All extension could 'activated' via terminal and GUI, but none of them actually launched. The solution reinstall apt install gnome-shell-extensions, then delete -ALL extensions that show when gnome-extensions list is executed, then one-by-one reinstall all my extension. Oh, the joy...

b.) despite me having set Timeshift to backup all hidden files and directories over 2+ years ago.. I learned -after- I deleted .cache folder while troubleshooting. That my Timeshift backups include everything -EXCEPT- the .cache... call me crazy, but most users expect .cache to get backed up with these settings: enter image description here And... enter image description here

Imagine, my joy to discover that within 3 months of backups, there isn't a single .cache folder backup... all hidden files -EXCEPT- .cache Any mention of that fun fact from the Timeshift folks? Nope.

2.) This leads to my next point. Within the scope of my own limited linux knowledge, I have learned over the years that .cache is meant to be a transient directory devoid of vital information that needs regularly backing up. Not true. Yes, developers at Time++ (gnome-shell extensions) and The Great Suspender (chromium browser extension), and others I am talking to you... please, don't put vital information in the .cache folder.

a.) 3+ years of pomodoro records & daily alarm settings gone. b.) The Great Suspender somehow breaks Tab Session Manager information if the .cache is deleted... so I have got a few more hours trying to figure out to get my tabs back before this adventure is finally over.

The solution here is a word to the wise.. I have not setup a separate rsync backup just for .cache. Don't believe the hype, back it up.

  • If developers of a particular application or extension are storing permanent data in .cache, then please file bug reports demonstrating how to reproduce that behavior.
    – user535733
    Aug 17, 2022 at 4:03

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