I need to remove GNOME 3, so I can re-install it, for I experienced a huge power surge that disrupted my session in GNOME 3, and currently, the GNOME 3 interface is acting strangely.

3 Answers 3


sudo apt-get install --reinstall gnome-shell will do the work for you.

  • Upgrading with Cairo dock installed has not left me with the familiar 'Gnome Classic' menu options, but instead shows Cairo options. By selecting said Cairo option, much of Gnome 3's bloat has been removed, but I am still stuck with the weird MAC-style menu at the top of my screen. In attempting to re-configure the gnome-shell package, I was told it was not currently installed. Is the gnome-shell package what allows me to disable the weird menu at the top?
    – earthmeLon
    Oct 18, 2011 at 19:59
  • It seems this was a better solution for my Cairo setup: ittyb.it/u4c388dcd
    – earthmeLon
    Oct 18, 2011 at 20:16

1 and 2 provide a simple step by step guide to install Gnome on Ubuntu. However, for the sake of completeness, first of all, remove the current Gnome by apt purge gnome-shell. And then reinstall the following packages, apt install gnome-shell ubuntu-gnome-desktop.

Finally, one more thing is to choose the default graphical interface, for instance, when you are hosting LXDE and Gnome-3 simultaneously on your PC, it will ask for gdm3 V lightdm.

  • Won't I be unable to use gui on removing gnome shell? Jul 20, 2021 at 10:40

Simply enter the following in a terminal to remove Gnome 3:

sudo apt-get remove gnome-shell

...and the following to install it again:

sudo apt-get install gnome-shell

However, you may want to try running dpkg-reconfigure before attempting a re-install just in case that fixes the issues you are experiencing:

sudo dpkg-reconfigure gnome-shell
  • 1
    If you do that you'll lose all the packages that depends on gnome-shell. Oct 17, 2011 at 2:00
  • @NyamiouTheGaleanthrope: That's correct. Oct 17, 2011 at 3:06

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