Can anyone help me remove elementary-desktop? I installed it in my Ubuntu 16.04 LTS x64 system. I already did the "solution" from this question:
How to completely remove Elementary-Desktop from Ubuntu 14.04
and also

sudo apt-get purge elementary-desktop elementary-icon-theme elementary-theme elementary-default-settings

still no luck. I also did

sudo apt-get autoclean elementary-desktop

still didn't do the job. It's still in my system, "elementary OS Desktop" is written in my bar, plus it could still be selected during login.

enter image description here

Btw, I just followed the installation here: How do you install Pantheon on Ubuntu 16.04?

  • I already tried using synaptic, still no luck.
    – afagarap
    Sep 15, 2016 at 15:22

2 Answers 2


You used dist-upgrade to install Elementary DE. By doing so, you installed PPA provided versions of packages over standard Ubuntu versions. For example, if Ubuntu provides a nautilus package, and those PPAs provide another nautilus package with higher version, you installed that one.

That's why only removing extra elementary packages such as elementary-desktop, elementary-icon-themes is not sufficient. You have to remove those patched packages too!

So, to completely remove elementary effect, you must go back to Ubuntu versions of packages. To do so, you need ppa-purge. Because only (as a tool to do these things) ppa-purge downgrade packages from PPA versions to Ubuntu versions.

Use these (Change the list according to your usage of PPAs)

sudo ppa-purge ppa:elementary-os/daily
sudo ppa-purge ppa:elementary-os/os-patches
sudo ppa-purge ppa:elementary-os/testing
sudo ppa-purge ppa:mpstark/elementary-tweaks-daily
sudo ppa-purge ppa:elementary-os/stable

To completely get rid of elementary things.

If you don't have ppa-purge already installed, install using

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge

Note 1: If you already removed those PPA repository either using sudo apt-add-repository -r or manually editing files, re-add them. Because ppa-purge needs those package list to do the downgrading. After re-adding them, use

sudo apt-get update

command to refresh package index.

Note 2: If you are having an error from ppa-purge saying it can't find aptitude use

sudo apt-get install aptitude

to install it.

Note 3: If ppa-purge fails for some PPAs not being available, remove those PPA entries manually. ppa-purge won't work if every repository doesn't work.

Note 4: If some of PPAs are disabled now (after installing package from them), you have little luck downgrading them automatically. You can identify them and manually downgrade them using synaptic or aptitude. But it's a tedious job.

Note 5: If you still see Elementary session listed on Lightdm, remove pantheon-session package manually.

Notes 6: Remove every extra packages you can identify installed from those PPAs but not available in Ubuntu repositories.

  • I already removed those PPAs, can I re-add them? So that I could ppa-purge them?
    – afagarap
    Sep 15, 2016 at 16:25
  • Yes. if you didn't use ppa-purge to remove those ppas, re-add them
    – Anwar
    Sep 15, 2016 at 16:26
  • After re-adding them, do I still need to do sudo apt-get dist-upgrade?
    – afagarap
    Sep 15, 2016 at 16:28
  • 1
    As for the shortcut, I made a custom shortcut instead of the shortcut being in the Launcher shortcuts. Thanks very much for the help! :)
    – afagarap
    Sep 15, 2016 at 17:21
  • 1
    Btw, the ppa-purge was failing at first because of the ppa:mpstark/elementary-tweaks-daily. I removed it using synaptic and tried ppa-purge once again (without the mpstark/elementary-tweaks-daily). It got the job done. Thanks again. :)
    – afagarap
    Sep 15, 2016 at 17:23

I just did it with

sudo apt-get autoremove --purge elementary-desktop

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