How can I restore Unity to it's original installation settings?


In normal operation, Unity shows up to three dots next to an icon on the left sidebar when the application has 2 more more windows open. E.g. multiple file manager windows or chrome etc.

The problem

Usually, when I click on such icons with the dots, I am expecting the display to 'scale'/zoom-out to show the windows (expose on the Mac is similar). This used to happen but today what happens is that when I click on the icon, the Ubuntu side-bar disappears and the frames around all the currently displayed windows disappear such that I can no longer move them.

Working toward a solution...

I know that this worked fine after installation, and for quite a while after that, several months in fact.

What I'm looking for is a sequence of commands that return the Unity window system back to that state where it worked.

A temporary work-around that I know of is setsid unity which I can issue in a terminal window (if one happens to be open at the time the unity side bar and window frames disappear). What setsid unity does is restore the unity sidebar and side frames - but not permanently - in this case - because clicking on an icon with dots by it still causes unity to disappear. So in this case, setsid unity does not deal with the root cause.

So, I'm looking for something to permanently return the state of the unity window manager, so that this problem does not matter.

Note: I have not tinkered with my setup in this regard what-so-ever. The problem just seemed to happening. I can only guess that closing the lid of my laptop put it into standby which caused some kind of upset (usually it's fine).


A performed a standard update may fix the issue and then a re-install of unity:

How do I reinstall Unity?

At least one of these 2 steps fixed the issue for me - by that I mean the update may be enough.

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