I've just upgraded to Ubuntu 13.10 and I'm seeing a strange behaviour. All windows I open have a black, boxy border, including popups, as you can see in the provided image. (The black box in the bottom right is a terminal, which fails to display any text. However, I can enter commands and they execute.) I followed the steps in this post: How do I reset my Unity configuration? to reset Unity using the unity-tweak-tool. Although helpful, that did not fix the issue. I'm thinking this may be a graphics card driver issue.

Any help is much appreciated.

Black Borders, black terminal to the bottom right

  • I'm experiencing a similar issue, but it seems to go away if I Alt+Tab a few times, but it comes back eventually. Are you using an nVidia card? – elclanrs Oct 18 '13 at 0:22
  • Sadly I don't see any changes when alt-tabbing. The graphics specs for this laptop read as: Intel® HD Graphics - 1 GB NVIDIA® OptimusTM Graphics Technology, so I'd say yes. – Eric Oct 18 '13 at 0:33
  • Related to askubuntu.com/q/506260/13330 ? – AlikElzin-kilaka Apr 4 '16 at 5:07

I had the same problem. I fixed it by installing Mir, following these instructions:


I had to use XTerm because Terminal was all black.

  • 1
    Didn't work for me. I only have an Intel HD graphics and not the hybrid nvidia one...but nothing. I did an upgrade instead of a clean install, and that has to be the problem. i just can't figure out where the issue is. I have reset unity and compiz and nothing. it is as if the window decorator is gone, though i know it is there because i can move, close the windows (by guessing the location). :( – semi-newbie Oct 25 '13 at 14:22

I was able to fix the black borders in Ubuntu 13.10 with the commands below. Although I did not have problems with terminal not showing text.

Reset compiz settings:

dconf reset -f /org/compiz/

Then restart Unity:

setsid unity


  • Nope didn't work for me. – w00t Jan 9 '14 at 17:31
  • It worked for me in Ubuntu 14.04 – jplandrain Apr 30 '14 at 14:14
  • I'm running 14.04 and I can't get this fixed. It's driving me crazy. – andyczerwonka Mar 15 '15 at 2:54
  • This is the right answer. Every time my 3rd screen (only one connected using displayport) hibernates I get these borders. I'm on 15.04. These two commands fix it for me. – David Harbage Jun 10 '15 at 17:59
  • Well, that didn't work for me as-is, but triggered an error solving of which solved the problem, see the solution here: link. – Nadjib Mami Nov 6 '17 at 21:06

I had the same issue this is what I did:

To fix the large black borders bug in Ubuntu, open ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css (create the ~/.config/gtk-3.0 folder if it doesn't exist) with a text editor (I'll use Gedit below):

mkdir -p ~/.config/gtk-3.0
gedit ~/.config/gtk-3.0/gtk.css

and in this file, add the following:

.window-frame {
box-shadow: none;
margin: 1px;

This forces any theme you use to have a 1 pixel border. You can use any value you want - for instance, use "0" for borderless windows.

Then save the file and close all the applications affected by the black border bug (or you can log out and log back in), then try them again and you shouldn't see large black borders any more.


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