I know about unity --reset command. But how can I simply restart Unity without resetting its profile?


5 Answers 5


I don't use Unity but given what I know of its mechanics, this should work:


You'll want to stick that in a run box (Alt+F2) rather than a terminal or it'll break when you exit the terminal.

If you want to run it from a terminal use:

setsid unity
  • 2
    That's correct. Although, logging out and back in works better in my experience (I'm using Unity as my main desktop environment at this point)
    – jrg
    Mar 24, 2011 at 14:15
  • 8
    A good way to do it in a terminal, in case you want to see debug messages, is setsid unity. You can close the terminal when ever you like, but you'll still get the terminal output made by Unity. Mar 24, 2011 at 19:45
  • 1
    If you want to run that in terminal without breaking it when you exit terminal, type: 'unity --replace &' Apr 27, 2011 at 17:41
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    Just using unity will work as it is the identical command.
    – Cas
    May 11, 2011 at 16:20
  • using unity --replace have a tiny catch, you have to launch the menu once then only the left bar will auto-hide after restarted
    – d4v1dv00
    May 25, 2011 at 13:49

I found killall -u USR1 -r -g unity* (optionally, with -i for interactive) to be more effective than @Andrew's answer. My only problem with this vs unity --replace is that it will kill your session which unity --replace doesn't do. So, reserve this for when it is severely broken.


killall -USR1 unity will restart it in an account (USR1) where you have not changed your killall defaults.


Another alternative that works is

pkill --signal USR1 unity

which starts a new GUI connected to your terminal. however, if you run this over SSH, ehm, this is probably not the best IDE, because your local desktop 'unity' instance is then bound to this terminal on your remote-desctop...

funny things occur, when you terminate this session. Step by step your GUI will vanish and the only thing which remains under your control is the pointer of your mouse.

I found this post really helpful, which sumarises the commands mentioned in other answers.

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