I wanted to test out gnome 3.18 desktop environment on my Ubuntu 16.04 (a very bad decision, on retrospect). Things got weird, gnome elements started affecting the unity desktop, lots of freezes. So I decided to remove gnome shell. I used the following commands:

sudo apt-get purge gnome-shell ubuntu-gnome-desktop
sudo apt-get autoremove
unity --replace
sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop

I don't know if something was wrong with the order of the commands.

Anyway, after a restart, I am still left with a gnome leftover. This:

enter image description here

I have never seen this before, totally clueless how it got there. Any idea how to remove this?

By the way, during system shutdown and restart, the gnome logo is showing up instead of the usual ubuntu logo, which probably means I did a messy job of sweeping out GNOME altogether. Please help me out!

  • What is the 'this' that you refer to in that screenshot? I see nothing there that is a gnome thing. The "widget" if it's what you're referring to, looks like you set up conky to put it there, which is not something from gnome.
    – dobey
    Feb 17, 2017 at 18:07
  • That is the problem - I didn't put it there. TBH I don't even know how to do it. That's why I assumed it was a Gnome thing.
    – Razor
    Feb 17, 2017 at 21:00
  • 1
    Did you follow instructions from some blog post to set up GNOME? Does sudo apt-get autoremove --purge conky solve the problem for you?
    – dobey
    Feb 17, 2017 at 21:19

1 Answer 1


i got something but i don't know if it's gone to work or not so follow me

First =>

open your terminal and type the following command

sudo apt-get purge ubuntu-gnome-desktop

sudo apt-get remove gnome-desktop

sudo apt-get autoremove

unity --replace

sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop

restart your computer and replay if it's work or not

another solution :

Uninstall just ubuntu-gnome-desktop

sudo apt-get remove ubuntu-gnome-desktop

sudo apt-get remove gnome-shell

This will remove just the ubuntu-gnome-desktop package itself.

Uninstall ubuntu-gnome-desktop and it's dependencies

sudo apt-get remove --auto-remove ubuntu-gnome-desktop

This will remove the ubuntu-gnome-desktop package and any other dependant packages which are no longer needed.

Purging your config/data too

If you also want to delete your local/config files for ubuntu-gnome-desktop then this will work.

Caution! Purged config/data can not be restored by reinstalling the package.

sudo apt-get purge ubuntu-gnome-desktop

Or similarly, like this ubuntu-gnome-desktop

sudo apt-get purge --auto-remove ubuntu-gnome-desktop

Then run:

sudo apt-get autoremove

to remove extra packages and dependencies no longer needed on your system.

You might (or might not, depending on if gdm was removed already) need to use these commands to change your login screen back to Unity's default (which is lightDM) run

sudo dpkg-reconfigure gdm

Hit enter at the prompt and then select lightdm from the options. After that you can remove gdm with

sudo apt-get remove gdm

Finally run:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop

sudo apt-get install unity


  • When I try this I have a problem: I can't login to ubuntu. I solved this problem when I change my default desktop environment from gnome to unity.
    – mrroot5
    Feb 21, 2017 at 11:03

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