Sometime last week gnome-settings-daemon began not starting after login. This ends up causing my themes and hotkeys not to work. I can start it manually, but even when I do this , some settings are not respected (like all my power settings). I read all the notes about having too fast a system (core i7+SSD) and although my system is fast, I don't think this is what is happening because I made a new user and when I login as the new user everything works fine. I see a few segfaults of gnome-settings-daemon it in my logs, from 5 days ago, nothing recent.

So my working theory is that something in my settings has caused it break since it works for another user just fine. In order to remedy this, I tried the following:

  • reset Unity settings (unity --reset, unity --reset-icons)
  • "reset" gnome settings by deleting a bunch of . directories per directions here.

Are there other settings I'm missing somewhere or other ideas to try here?

Alternatively is moving to a new user account a good solution to this?

1 Answer 1


Sounds like a corrupt configuration.

You can recover without making a new account.

Boot to recovery mode. You will be in a command line interface without a graphical interface. Run the following commands:

cd /home
mv your_user your_user.bak
mkdir your_user
chown your_user:your_user your_user
chmod 770 your_user

change "your_user" to your user name.

Exit the root shell and continue the normal boot process.

You should be able to log in as normal. You can copy your old data from your_user.bak to your home directory as needed.

  • Well, this doesn't explain what was corrupt and it doesn't explain why the previous directions on resetting gnome didn't work, but, it did solve my problem. Thanks for the info.
    – mfisch
    Dec 12, 2011 at 6:38
  • I am glad you got is sorted, sometimes it is hard to track down where the problem originated. If you can replicate the problem perhaps we could track it down.
    – Panther
    Dec 12, 2011 at 6:41

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