I was tweaking the mate panel trying to solve some other problem, when I changed the panel settings, from GNOME2, to something else. all my panel apps disappeared. Suspicious of that happening, I clicked the save button, before hand, but now I don't know how to restore my panel apps, there is no button for that.

From Zanna's comment, it would appear I am missing a feature of Mate Tweak. I don't see the panel option anywhere. This might be why I cannot restore my save. http://imgur.com/a/3VyWr

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    Am I missing the point? When you click save, your panel settings get saved as a custom option you can restore like this – Zanna Jan 24 '17 at 4:50
  • @Zanna It would appear I am missing the panel component of mate tweak. imgur.com/a/3VyWr – j0h Jan 24 '17 at 15:32
  • Indeed! But the drop-down menu in my image is the one that says GNOME 2 in your image – Zanna Jan 24 '17 at 15:36
  • I just selected some of the others, and my panel apps are gone again. is there a file that handles this? Im ok with doing it manualy, or writing a script. But this, this is annoying. – j0h Jan 24 '17 at 16:14
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    yeah I know :S The settings are in a single binary file How do I restore MATE panel settings from old backup – Zanna Jan 24 '17 at 16:23

This is a surprising and unnatural behavior of mate-tweak -- you want to "tweak" your settings, but instead you lose all of your prior customizations.

To avoid loss when using the Interface tab, it is critical that the first action you take is to click Save Panel Layout.

After that, if something outrageous happens, you should be able to restore by selecting the Custom option from the drop-down that is immediately above Save Panel Layout.

Underlying this behavior, it seems, is the wildly incorrect notion by mate-tweak that it is the only tool that will be used to configure your panels.

  • If it's too late to take my advice, and you are looking for an automated way to restore your configuration, here's that question: askubuntu.com/q/805144/11522 – nobar Mar 3 '18 at 19:26
  • I would stay away from the Interface tab altogether -- it's will bring you nothing but heartache. – nobar Dec 22 '18 at 19:34
  • I save my MATE panel with dconf dump / > dconf.dump.out and restore with dconf load / < dconf.dump.out – Stephen Boston Apr 29 '19 at 11:54
  • As of Ubuntu MATE 18.04, there doesn't seem to be an Interface tab. Maybe that is now Panel. I don't know if it still has the behavioral quirk that I mentioned in the answer. – nobar Apr 29 '19 at 20:15

Had the same issue and found an easier workaround:

  1. install dconf-editor
  2. launch dconf-editor
  3. go into org > mate > panel > general
  4. the values in bold are the ones changed by mate-tweak: select each one of them and then "Set to default" in the bottom right corner
  5. restart for good measure and never touch mate-tweak ever again

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