Just upgraded to 13.10, no desktop icons/menu, just the wallpaper.

I've tried :

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop
sudo reboot

sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
  • Its not a duplicate if that answered question doesn't solve it!
    – IanVaughan
    Oct 20 '13 at 17:35

I've actually just spent the last two days fixing this problem myself. I was running 13.04 and had it happen suddenly and mysteriously, I re installed from a 12.04 disk and upgraded back up to 13.04 with the same problem continuing.

I found a lot of useful solution suggestions here and here:

Unity doesn't load, no Launcher, no Dash appears

After upgrading to 13.04 Unity interface is not showing

None of solutions in the first post fixed mine however and I ended up fixing it with:

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback
sudo gnome-session-quit

then logging back in. Though it would have made sense for that to have installed gnome it seemed to instead have fixed unity and now is running like a charm.

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