So I was messing around with tasksel to install LAMP. Foolishly I unchecked the ubuntu-desktop item. About 25% through the process I realized it is removing my desktop components. So I closed the terminal window, but now maybe something went wrong.

Many default applications are gone and I can't even boot into the desktop. I have a separate home folder so I don't really have to worry about data, but I did install a lot of other software which would be gone if I take reformat and reinstall. So is there a way to recover the desktop from a live CD?

  • 1
    Simply try reinstalling ubuntu-desktop metapackage.
    – Oxwivi
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 20:05
  • 2
    You should not have cancelled it midway, it could've possibly lead to a lot of complications. Letting it finish then reinstall the packages you want to retain would've worked smoothly.
    – Oxwivi
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 20:07
  • let us continue this discussion in chat
    – RolandiXor
    Commented Jun 20, 2011 at 20:51
  • I experienced the exact same scenario today. I managed to reinstall ubuntu-desktop but it was very broken so I decided to reinstall the system. This is a serious design flaw by tasksel. Usually when you opt-out for something in an installation process you expect it to opt-out for the install/reinstall - not completely remove what is already there. All I have to say now is thank god the ubuntu installer allows to reinstall the system without removing the home directory, but it is going to be a pain to reinstall and reconfigure my software.
    – daxvena
    Commented Jul 1, 2012 at 2:51

1 Answer 1


I will give it a shot.

  • First, boot into the recovery console, then from there see if you can run metacity (at least): metacity &
  • If this works, you can run synaptic (if it is still installed) from the command line: sudo synaptic
  • From within synaptic, search for the Ubuntu Desktop package, and try to reinstall this (it will pull in dependencies automatically.
  • If synaptic is not installed, you can run: sudo apt-get install synaptic and then follow the third step.
  • After reinstalling the missing pieces, you should be able to log in again to your regular desktop (your settings will have been preserved of course).

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