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I unable to disable the desktop or anything, but when I reboot, all I can see is the mouse and a dialog appear saying that compiz has crashed. The terminal (Ctrl+Alt+t) doesn't work, and neither control alternative delete to log out works. What can I do to restore everything?

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Try this:

  1. Press Control + Alt + F1 and log in.
  2. In terminal run unity --reset.
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    But not everyone is using Unity. I don't, but I still use Compiz. But if not running Unity, using a virtual terminal, as you suggested, and renaming or deleting the Compiz configuration in the home directory might be another option. – Marty Fried May 26 '12 at 19:56

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