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The background story:

The other day my (L)ubuntu offered me to upgrade from 12.04 LTS to 14.04 LTS, which I gladly accepted. At the end of the evening, I started the update out of the update manager, got up and went to bed, not noticing that the laptop's power was due to run out apparantly before the update had finished. After swearing loudly the next day because the PC wouldn't boot, I downloaded a Lubuntu 14.04 LTS live CD, booted from that, backed up my complete personal folder (inluding the hidden files/folders) (excluding the 39 Gigs of ~/Music I had safe on my other PC) and reinstalled Lubuntu 14.04 from scratch.

After the reinstallation, I installed quite a few programs I knew I would need/want (Skype, Mumble, PCSX, VLC and LibreOffice, just to name a few), and twiddled with a few of the system settings to create a nicer looking system. Today, I recopied the entirety of my personal folder back onto that laptop to (hopefully) restore all settings, save a few folders/files which sounded like I wouldn't need them. Logged off, tried logging back on, and my desktop is empty.

Yes, it's literally an empty desktop. No files (there should be two), standard background, no panel thingy (what I would call task bar in Windows). There's a mouse I can move. If I right-click on the background, I get a menu out of which I can open a console. (Out of the console I can open pretty much everything I've tried so far, but it's kinda … unintuitive ;)) Even though the right-click menu offers 'System -> Desktop settings', no desktop settings window will physically open.

I have a little script that should change the desktop background once every 30 mins. Attempting to start that script results in an error message saying the desktop is not active.

Which prompts my questions:

  1. Which (required) file(s) and/or folder(s) have I most likely overwritten (and probably rendered unuseable?) when porting the complete user folder onto the newer version?

  2. How can I get a working desktop back?

  3. Are there any other hidden traps I might stuble into in the near future?

Thanks for your help and apologies if there are answers around here somewhere that I was too stupid to find!

  • try sudo apt-get install lubuntu-desktop – Tim Aug 13 '14 at 20:51
  • I would just backup all of the hidden files in the home - this should avoid any other version compatibility issues. LXDE does have quite a few files in ~/.config/lx* - there are other relevant ones as well - e.g. ~/.config/pcmanfm/, ~/.config/openbox/, etc Have you tried completin the upgrade as well? – Wilf Aug 13 '14 at 20:55
  • @Tim lubuntu-desktop is already the newest version :( – Jan Aug 13 '14 at 20:56
  • lubuntu-desktop is a meta-package, hence if its already installed it won't do much - using sudo apt-get install -reinstall lubuntu-desktop might work. N.B. on stackexchange sites you can use @USERNAME so users are notified of replies - e.g @Tim – Wilf Aug 13 '14 at 20:58
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    Worked for me after a upgrade (13.04 - 13.10 - something from ages ago. Basically I moved all the files beginning with . into a file in the home called hidden-files - the config files are then regenerated. You can then copy back the libreoffice etc config. The 'reinstall' command should just check if any of the dependices that make up lubuntu-desktop are missing and reinstall them - it shouldn't reinstall all the package provided by it. – Wilf Aug 13 '14 at 21:15
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I never had problems with backing up and restoring a working home directory (with the same uid/gid) to the same or another machine. When I had issues (I remember a disabled trackpad through an indicator-app that wouldn't reactivate even though I found the exact config key) I moved the folder to create a new empty directory and used the meld diff viewer to successively copy things over to the new home.

So trial and error is the best advice I can give in the absence of any better approach.

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