Sorry if this question is already answered, but I have already searched and could not find a solution to my problem.

Recently I installed gnome-shell and ubuntu-gnome-desktop to try gnome. I then removed it using

sudo apt-get remove gnome-shell ubuntu-gnome-desktop.

From that moment I couldn't change my desktop wallpaper. Also, when I right click on my desktop it doesn't work.

I read in some links to check if xfdesktop is running... In my ubuntu, that process is not running. When I run xfdesktop from terminal, it gives me the following error:

SESSION_MANAGER environment variable is not defined. Failed to connect to session manager.

I don't know if it has any relation to my problem.

Another thing I observed is that gnome-system-monitor and gnome-session are still running on my ubuntu... why are they running if I want Unity only?

Is there any way to reset my ubuntu to as it was initially. But I have also installed some useful applications and packages in this, can I keep them even after resetting?

Thank you in advance!

  • I think this is a duplicate of or at least very similar to 287571 Gnome-shell disables Nautilus handling the desktop and so on Unity no wallpaper and no destop-icons are available anymore.
    – Christian
    Sep 23, 2014 at 8:14
  • Thank you @Christian, this started changing the wallpaper. But Still right click and super key is not working when I am at Desktop. Sep 23, 2014 at 11:24
  • Is Gnome-Tweak-Tool still installed? There is an option to let Nautilus handle the desktop. This must be set. According to the second answer to the mentioned question, this can also be done with "ubuntu-tweak-tool" which I do not know.
    – Christian
    Sep 23, 2014 at 12:28
  • I think this might help you: askubuntu.com/questions/140944/…
    – Saman B.
    Feb 3, 2015 at 18:54
  • The gnome tweak tool did it for me, the option was already set, I just toggled it and it started working again. I not have backgrounds and can right click
    – Keith
    Jun 7, 2015 at 7:16

4 Answers 4


I had the exact same problem.
Tried everything in the book!
This is what worked for me.
Hope your problem is solved soon.

gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.background active true
  • 4
    Worked !! But what was the reason? I didn't get it. Jul 2, 2015 at 0:28
  • @Karan: I agree--what's the rationale here?
    – jvriesem
    Feb 27, 2016 at 20:57
  • 1
    This solution gave me back my changing wallpapers, but didn't allow me to click. This fixed the clicking problem for anyone that needs it: askubuntu.com/questions/142247/… May 7, 2016 at 14:27
  • 2
    Worked for me on Ubuntu 16.04.2. It's bizarre how something basic like this could be broken out of the box...
    – Pupper
    Jun 6, 2017 at 2:05
  • also worked! I had variety installed, and it wasn't working. I am very curious how this isn't a default setting. Still no context menu on a right click, but I never really used it anyway.
    – Nelson
    Jul 12, 2017 at 19:14

After installing or removing of ubuntu-gnome-desktop a bug of Desktop not responding to clicks/icons can occur, You may reactivate:

Active Desktop Background:

gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.background active true

Active Desktop Icons:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons true

Use the gnome-tweak-tool. Click the Desktop button (left side) Set:

Mode = Scaled
Background Location = ...image path

This happened to me too after I installed Gnome-Shell. Uninstalling it and rebooting restored the desktop clickability and brought back the desktop icons too.

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