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I'm new to Ubuntu, and had some trouble installing desktop (installer kept freezing up). I was able to install using the Ubuntu Server installation package (64 bit), and added ubuntu-desktop and the appropriate nvidia drivers for my GT240 video card afterwards using apt-get. When the system boots, the Unity login prompt comes up and I can login, but the sidebar and other unity chrome doesn't appear (it's just the desktop background). If I right-click, I can get the appropriate context menu to appear for the desktop, but can't launch a terminal using Alt+T, or other means of triggering functionality. I can use Alt+Ctrl+F6 to drop to the command line, where I am prompted to login, and after running startx I can get the entire Unity/X Window UX to come up, complete with toolbar and everything at my enhanced resolution, etc.

I should add that I've also already added compiz, and enabled the Unity Plugin per these instructions.

That's why everything looks right after typing startx at the command line interface.

My questions are:

  1. how can I figure out what is going on with the login that prevents the desktop from loading properly? I've already tried reinstalling the desktop, video drivers, etc. but it always seems to hang right after the login. I've read other posts similar to this problem but none of them seemed to mention being able to kickstart X from the command line and have everything come up fine.

  2. how can I get it to load directly into the standard desktop mode properly without having to drop down under-the-hood and typing in startx every time I boot up?

When answering, please keep in mind I am totally new, and will likely need clear, step-by-step instructions to grok what I need to do.

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  • Q: Why you dont install the Ubuntu Desktop version if you want to run Unity? – mlacunza Sep 17 '14 at 4:28
  • A: As mentioned above, I tried, but it kept freezing up on me with this weird pattern displayed across my screen. I believe the problem was with the nvidia card I have as I have seen a lot of folks have problems with installs if they have such a card. But that isn't really the point, is it @mlacunza? The real question is now that it is installed, what might fix the issues I'm having? – Keith Pepin Sep 17 '14 at 17:28
  • No you wrote:"I was able to install using the Ubuntu Server installation package (64 bit)" and after that install the unity desktop, thats not the same that install the desktop ubuntu version. – mlacunza Sep 17 '14 at 22:06
  • @mlacunza : "I'm new to Ubuntu, and had some trouble installing desktop (installer kept freezing up)." and then I mentioned that I was able to install the server version. If that wasn't clear that desktop wasn't installing for me and I switched I hope it is clearer now. – Keith Pepin Sep 19 '14 at 2:05
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    Try to install with nomodeset option - use desktop dvd (press F6 or something when you are shown the initial menu). After installation, configure to use proprietary nvidia driver, to avoid high cpu compiz usage. – jfs Sep 19 '14 at 8:36
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I finally got this to work right by first switching to a terminal using CTRL + ALT +F2 and then running the following series of commands:

sudo service lightdm stop
rm ~/.config/dconf/user
sudo service lightdm start

The following article is where I found this answer and it goes into more details with a few other things folks could try, but it was this last option that solved my problem.

(update to 14.04) unity is not loading after I login to the admin profile after upgrade

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