After a crash and restart, my Ubuntu 16.04 desktop environment doesn't work - no launcher, no dash, nothing except a wallpaper. I can drop in a terminal by Ctrl+Alt+T, and then I follow the steps marked as answer here, that is

  1. reinstall compizconfig-settings-manager
  2. enable unity in ccsm

These steps above completed without error, however, problem persists. I also tried the following

export DISPLAY=:0   
sudo dconf reset -f /org/compiz/

However I got the following error from dconf:

GDBus.Error:org.gtk.GDBus.UnmappedGError.Quark._g_2dfile_2derror_2dquark.Code17: Cannot open dconf database: invalid gvdb header

The ubuntu runs in a virtualbox in a MacOS 10.10 host. This should not be the problem because the desktop works as expected if I login in as Guest. The problem must be that something of my account is corrupted. Any advice is appreciated.


I finally fixed the problem after hours of trial-and-error. Here is the solution for me:

sudo apt install --reinstall unity
rm -r .Xauthority .ICEauthority .config/.compiz-1 .config/dconf
  • There are more different suggestions in the answers further below on that linked question. Please try them first as well. – Byte Commander Feb 7 '17 at 21:36
  • Will you add the output of df -v to your question? I'm thinking that the crash came from running out of space, and the lack of the desktop integrity the results of a lack of space. – L. D. James Feb 7 '17 at 23:29
  • @James: Still have space left. See the output df -v above. – sgu Feb 8 '17 at 0:07
  • Try doing this:sudo apt install --reinstall ubuntu-unity-desktop – Aalok Feb 8 '17 at 5:49
  • @zakoda: apt not able to find the ubuntu-unity-desktop. Is the package for ubuntu 16.04? – sgu Feb 8 '17 at 15:30

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