After logging in to my account, I see no panels or anything else, only the background. I cannot even start a terminal with ctrl+alt+t. The only thing the system responds to is ctrl+alt+delete which shows the system monitor (without the top panel) or ctrl+alt+F1 to login by hand. However logging in to the guest session works fine.

When logging in by hand I cannot restart unity (unity --replace), this gives me:

unknown job: unity-panel-service

Without the graphics display open I cannot reset compiz and unity to default settings. Searching other questions I tried to move the .Xauthority in ~/ to some other place. Did not work. I also tried the sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop and sudo apt-get install --reinstall unity +rebooting. Also tried to reinstall lightdm. Nothing works.

I've been running on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS just fine for quite some time and haven't recently done any changes besides installing updates.


So I finally managed to recover by doing the following

mv ~/.config/dconf/user ~/.config/dconf/user.old

This makes me loose all my settings, but at least I can log in and now I can attempt at recovering at least some of the settings from the user.old file.

  • 1
    The solution is so simple, yet so strange :) Exactly what I was looking for, although I tried 50 other things – Vladimir Nov 13 '14 at 15:11
  • Unfortunately this file is a binary file, so there's no way to restore single values from it. However, it brought me back the desktop after deleting it. – David Feb 9 '16 at 10:44
  • I thought I have to reinstall ubuntu again.. huge thanks – Shih-Min Lee Mar 23 '17 at 3:15

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