I have installed GNOME Shell, logged into it, but on boot the computer logs in to an Ubuntu session. I have automatic login enabled.

How can I fix this? How can I make Ubuntu remember my choice of desktop environment?


Edit lightdm.conf with gedit and change the user-session=ubuntu to user-session=gnome

gksudo gedit /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf 

Edit gnome.desktop with gedit and change Exec=gnome-session --session=ubuntu to Exec=gnome-session --session=gnome

gksudo gedit /usr/share/xsessions/gnome.desktop

After this you will login directly to you gnome desktop ;)

  • Already edited the lightdm.conf and now I login directly to the gnome desktop, but I'm still waiting for a solution that better fixes this. – Florin Oct 14 '11 at 13:43
  • If you want to report it as a bug please feel free to do so, unfortunately there is nothing I can do about that. ;) – Bruno Pereira Oct 14 '11 at 15:55
  • 1
    This works, thanks. Only problem is that normal Ubuntu updates will overwrite these config files (at least they appear to have done so for me). We should probably file a bug to get it resolved in the long run. – Liedman Nov 8 '11 at 6:44

The answer that worked: Reinstall and make sure password is required to sign in is checked. This allows the gnome to install and work properly.


If you use either of the two answers:

edit lightdm.conf & gnome.desktop


apt-get remove unity

be sure to edit /usr/share/xsessions/gnome.desktop and change

Exec=gnome-session --session=ubuntu


Exec=gnome-session --session=gnome

From terminal...

sudo nano /usr/share/xsessions/gnome.desktop

I wish this worked. I had to remove Unity-desktop to get it to allow me into gnome-shell

sudo apt-get remove unity
  • This is to much, way to much radical. It's much more simple to edit a 4 - 5 line file than remove unity. Plus I want to have them both. – Florin Oct 26 '11 at 18:06
  • I was going to downvote this, but I think the point is already made that there are much better ways to solve this problem. – zookalicious Oct 27 '11 at 19:46

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