I tried in a previous installation to use only MATE and remove Unity, uninstalling all unity-related packages from Ubuntu 14.04.

However, it happens I would probably need Unity to work with a DisplayLink screen (that connects fine on Unity but not on MATE). But, even after a complete reinstall of Ubuntu, I still have my Unity desktop broken. No side or top panels, and thus it's very very hard to start up any application to try to troubleshoot stuff.

I've seen similar posts, mostly pointing to some sort of unity --reset command, but currently this only yields a message saying it's deprecated. How can I safely reset the Unity desktop while not touching MATE 1.8.1?


Open a terminal and execute the following command:

sudo apt-get install compiz-config-settings-manager

First, login to a Unity session. If you have no way to execute commands because of no interface, press Ctrl + Alt + F2 after you login to Unity and login to a text session with your username and password.

Now, execute the following command:

DISPLAY=:0 ccsm

and press Ctrl + Alt + F7 to return to unity.

On the compizconfig-settings-manager, scroll down to and select the Unity plugin. Make sure this is enabled with a check in the box to the lower left hand side. This should startup the unity desktop.

If you still need to reset unity and or compiz, continue with these instructions. The old unity --replace command is depreciated but you can download the newer unity-replace script that aims to provide the same function.

To install unity-replace, open a terminal and execute the following commands:

sudo apt-get install gdebi dconf-tools
wget https://launchpad.net/~amith/+archive/ubuntutools/+build/3910667/+files/unity-reset_0.1-8_all.deb
sudo gdebi unity-reset_0.1-8_all.deb

To reset compiz, execute the following command:

dconf reset -f /org/compiz/

Log out and log back in for the changes to take effect.

more info from webupd8

download the script from github

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  • well, for some odd reason the unity plugin wasn't enabled - and there's no checkbox in the list either, I had to open the plugin and check it on in the left bar. that was the issue! It's quite weird to see a lot of tasks packed together inside a... plugin.. of another application. I've got other questions on Unity conflicting with tradional Compiz plugins but those are another topic. Thanks! – igorsantos07 Oct 27 '14 at 6:19
  • @Igoru that's because the unity desktop itself is nothing more than a compiz plugin. – mchid Oct 30 '14 at 22:46
  • weirdest thing ever. it sounds much more like a complete piece of software than a "plugin" on top of another software lol – igorsantos07 Oct 31 '14 at 3:05

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