The Unity launcher tends to put itself in the background of any windows sometimes.

It does not occur on startup, just randomly after some hours of usage.

How do I bring it back to front without restarting my computer/destroying my gdm session?


It was hard to get a picture of both the dash and the launcher since the dash captures the PRT SCRN key. Although the dash will hide behind any other windows too.

After some further use, my pc froze for a brief moment (it's under heavy load from render jobs), now dash and launcher shows correctly in front of everything.

  • Is this on 11.10 or 11.04?
    – jrg
    Sep 9, 2011 at 15:29
  • @jrg - It is on 11.04
    – joar
    Sep 9, 2011 at 16:17

3 Answers 3


I found this solution from comment #15 in an Ubuntu bug report:

After this bug occurs, restarting unity by "unity& disown" in a terminal fixes the problem

There there is a duplicate bug here

  • I had to wait until it occured again to test it, it just happend, and running unity& disown solved the problem, although the position of some windows (esp. Terminals) across desktops was changed.
    – joar
    Sep 23, 2011 at 13:14
  • 1
    The workaround of "unity& disown" worked for me.
    – Sqeaky
    Oct 15, 2011 at 19:46
  • Workaround works in 12.10 as well.
    – Matt Hulse
    Mar 11, 2013 at 20:14
  • Worked on 13.04, but the windows thru workspaces got messed up.
    – robertokl
    May 9, 2013 at 17:00

I hit this same issue with 13.10 (Saucy). As ZeTo said, CCSM solved the issue for me. Here's what I had to do:

sudo apt-get install -y compizconfig-settings-manager

run ccsm

agree to the warning about it being an advanced tool

select Ubuntu Unity Plugin (right side in the Desktop section)

Uncheck "Enable Ubuntu Unity Plugin" (left side of the screen)

Click Back (left side of the screen)

select Ubuntu Unity Plugin (right side in the Desktop section)

Now, check "Enable Ubuntu Unity Plugin" (left side of the screen) note: you will receive an error message about conflicts, just click "ignore conflicts" and continue

Exit CCSM and now the dash behaves properly for me, comes up in foreground instead of background.


Use ccsm to change Unity bar behaviour

  • 1
    Could you possibly elaborate a bit on your answer? This tersely, it's not very helpful I'm afraid. :\ Sep 9, 2011 at 15:21
  • There is no option to set the z-ndex of windows in there. Even though I changed some settings to see if the bashing of unity could reset the z-index, it still doesn't work.
    – joar
    Sep 9, 2011 at 15:22
  • installing ccsm allows to tweak several unity settings, maybe changing the unity bar behaviour (eg. always on top) can solve your problem.
    – ZeTo
    Sep 9, 2011 at 15:28
  • @ZeTo - Thank you, I know what ccsm does, although for me it does not provide an option to set the z-position of the launcher/dash. There probably does not even exist such an option since very few will ever want to have the launcher/dash behind anything.
    – joar
    Sep 9, 2011 at 16:20

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