I've added a VPN using System > Preferences > Network Connections. However, I can't see how to switch it on, because there's no Network Manager icon in the notification area!

nm-applet is running as me; stopping and restarting it doesn't help, nor does logging in and out. It's possible that nm-applet thinks it doesn't need to display an icon because I have wired networking - if so, how do I change its mind?

I'm running Ubuntu 10.04 "lucid" i386. Thanks!

3 Answers 3


I fixed it!

The solution was to remove eth0 from /etc/network/interfaces - it ended up there because I installed this system over the network rather than using a CD. I logged out and went to a console window, and did the following:

sudo stop gdm
sudo stop network-manager
sudo ifdown eth0
sudoedit /etc/network/interfaces # comment out eth0 entry
sudo start network-manager
sudo start gdm

I then logged back in, and the icon was present! Rar!

  • nice that you shared your answer +1
    – eddy147
    Sep 19, 2010 at 17:13
  • This makes sense, network-manager ignores interfaces put in /etc/network/interfaces Sep 19, 2010 at 17:21
  • Banzai! This problem was a true pain in the ass, preventing me from using command line installs from alternate CD, my sincerest thanks! If I do that before activating GUI in minimal installs, will the icon show?
    – Oxwivi
    Feb 17, 2011 at 19:26

Go to panel preferences and edit Notification area, check that icon size =16px as below the nm-applet icon vanishes!

update to xfce 4.10 fixes it I think.

upgrade xfce 4.10

seems there are multiple reasons for this problem!


Some things you could try:

  1. Adding a Notification Area applet to the panel (in case, for some reason, the notification area has been removed).

  2. Restarting the panel. Some times I find that icons don't display properly but killing the gnome panel fixes this. Press Alt-F2 and enter xkill (your cursor should change to an X shape) and click on the panel.

The icon should always display, even if you are disconnected or connected to a wired network.

  • Thanks - sadly, no joy! I tried removing and re-adding the Notification Area as well as xkill'ing the panel - the Notification Panel remains empty, though I can right-click on the three horizontal lines for the "About" dialog and see "Notification Area 2.30.2". Sep 19, 2010 at 13:47

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