root@ThinkPad:/# gnome-control-center

=> gnome-control-center opens correctly showing all modules

root@ThinkPad:/# gnome-control-center sound

=> gnome-control-center opens the sound panel

anynormaluser@ThinkPad:~$ gnome-control-center 

=> gnome-control-center opens showing only 3 modules: languages, printers, software

anynormaluser@ThinkPad:~$ gnome-control-center sound

** (gnome-control-center:12466): WARNING **: Could not find settings panel "sound"

All files/dirs in /usr/share/gnome-control-center and /usr/lib/control-center-1/panels are readable/executable for all users.


Re-installed gnome-control-center with synaptic.

Result: problem is still the same!

Made an strace as non-root user:

open("/usr/share/applications/gnome-sound-panel.desktop", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = 15
fstat64(15, {st_mode=S_IFREG|0644, st_size=634, ...}) = 0
read(15, "[Desktop Entry]\nName=Sound\nComme"..., 4096) = 634
open("/usr/share/applications/gnome-sound-nua-panel.desktop", O_RDONLY|O_LARGEFILE) = 15
fstat64(15, {st_mode=S_IFREG|0644, st_size=636, ...}) = 0
read(15, "[Desktop Entry]\nName=Sound\nComme"..., 4096) = 636

Any user can read the sound panel desktop files, but the icons are not shown either!

How to get rid of this problem ?

How does gnome-control-center "find" its modules ?


If you are running other environments than Gnome, the icons are invisible due to a directive in Gnome's desktop files.

See /usr/share/applications/gnome*panel.desktop

and search in the files for the line


You could remove this line or append your environment to the list. The possible values are listed here:


For Unity you can simply install unity-control-center which resolves that situation for you automatically:

sudo apt-get install unity-control-center
  • Thanks. I had uninstalled evolution (because I don't use it and have no use for the unity stuff that uses it like signing into facebook, etc.), and it must have uninstalled unity-control-center, too. I reinstalled unity-control-center (and the evolution stuff), and now gnome-control-center works as expected. Thanks! – Limited Atonement Jul 18 '14 at 13:44

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