Desktop broke

de Bacon

I am running xubuntu 14.04 on a different partition and HDD multi boot (grub) with several flavors of ubuntu. I use xubuntu as my default OS. Last night looking at Youtube video, actually downloading some, I noticed some odd behavior, in Firefox, I tried to close it, but it didn’t close. I forced it closed, (Alt+F4) popup screen showed up with options to wait or close. I chose close it, or exit (what ever that pop-up box states I don’t recall). It was late, I then shut down the computer normally no problems.

This morning I booted the system, logged into the xubuntu OS but there are problems. All that shows up is the desktop wallpaper, no icons, no menus, nothing other than the wallpaper. I am flummoxed.

I did use a boot disc, opened gparted and ran a check of the OS’s partition. In the past that has restored problems but nothing came of that with this instance. I really don’t know what to do at this point.

I imagine something can restore the system but??? I don’t know.

Any assistance will be greatly appreciated,

I have been fooling around trying to figure how to correct this issue but I don’t have a skill set that allows me to do very much with the command line. I can get to the prompt after logging in by (Ctrl+Alt+F1) yet it does me no service without knowledge as to commands. I have tried using the grub menu, (advanced) but that seems to not actually work, I may be wrong, yet if I select the “fix broken packages,” I see the prompt, click “Yes” it seems to go to a shell like situation, with the previously mentioned prompt still in the upper portion of the screen, leaving a prompt like space below, that has some statements (I don’t know what they are or what they mean) leaving a seemingly functionless situation. That is I can type stuff in but typing commands there does nothing at all.

Another thing I recall with my really poor memory, when I did initiate the shell (Ctrl+Alt+F1) there was a message that there are 10 packages that can be updated. I don’t know how to do that though. I attempted to open synaptic (sudo synaptic) but from the shell the GUI won’t open and there is a message stating that it can’t open, for reason (don’t recall words)

Oh I also was able to see the home directory which looks to be complete, though it didn’t show any of the hidden files. I could only see files and folders that I have made.

I shall keep on trying.
Thanks for reading. Mayby someone understands this situation and provide an assist.

login as yourself.

mv ~/.config ~/.config.backup
mv ~/.gconf ~/.gconf.backup


when I did initiate the shell (Ctrl+Alt+F1) there was a message that there are 10 packages that can be updated.

To get that message you would have had to enter your user name & password and the run the command

sudo apt-get update

You are doing things but in telling us you are not clear about what you are doing and giving next to no information about the results. It is impossible to help you. I am no even sure what the problem is. Odd behaviour in Firefox? What does “odd behaviour” mean? Xubuntu loading to a desktop but with only the wallpaper and no menus?

If the advice given by habitual does not work, then please start again from the beginning and fix on the one problem of getting to a working desktop.


de Bacon

I said it quite clearly. When I booted up this morning to xubuntu, upon login, I had a screen with wallpaper, there was nothing else, zip, nil, a blank screen of wallpaper without any way to interact with it. At least I thought what I stated above was clear. I guess I could have said the gui was gone, but didn’t think of using that terminology. I also did say I was viewing Youtube video and downloading it, when I noticed odd behavior and how I had to shut it down. That is all I know. I shut it down figuring all to be well in the world of the computer, but I woke today to find my computer was not so well.

I did what Habitual wrote and it sort of worked. I lost all of my customized panels but and desktop settings, but that is fixable with a bit of tedium. It is also better than other possibilities.

Thank you very much for the assist. It got me from no-place to someplace else. Soon enough I believe all will be as it was, I think. I think and therefore I am.


Glad it worked out.

de Bacon

and others,

Thanks for the assistance yesterday. Long term though, it didn’t work. There is something really odd going on in that OS. This morning I tried to open a .odt LibreOffice document to find LibreOffice wouldn’t open. Thus, I went into Synaptic and re-installed all of LibreOffice. The LibreOffice still didn’t open, It showed a little popup box that stated some nonsense to me, and being in a hurry with need to access the document, I rebooted to a different OS, KXStudio 14.04.x (where I am working now) to access the document. That was not an issue from the KXStudio OS. I then went about my task. Upon completion of the pressing matter, I rebooted and went back to Xubuntu 14.04. Again back to no GUI, just a screen of wallpaper, nothing more. I went through the procedure I did yesterday, running the commands you posted above, but there was no change this time.

Now I am thinking that it might be something to do with encryption as the partition that Xubuntu 14.04 is on, is encrypted. (This is the first time I used encryption for anything. Yes I have the key, but don’t really know how to see or know if that is an issue) I personally have no knowledge of encryption other than it is, thus no way to really know anything else about it. But I have no real understanding of the trigger which caused this situation in the first place.

What I think I want to do from here is to access the data through the shell (Ctrl+Alt+F1) from the no gui log-in, and retrieve some of the data, email mostly but a couple other files then start over with a fresh install on that partition. The situation seems bleak to me. I really don’t know that I’d be able to read any of the retrieved data if I can actually move it to a different location on a different partition. That is what I mean about not knowing about encryption. I simply don’t know what it actually does, how it does what it does or where it does it. I seem to think it is sort of like a doorway that has a lock on it, that prevents access from outside places but I am unsure if my assumption is correct.

This is where I am at right now, back to phase zero, wondering. The good thing is that very little is on the partition in question.

Thanks again, and thanks for reading to those who have.

de Bacon

This topic is and shall remain unresolved. I made it go away through a fresh install with a similar flavor of Ubuntu, by returning to UbuntuStudio. It is also xfce based. Again thanks to those who helped and those who read the thread. I don’t know what happened nor why.

Inconsistent behaviour of Keyboard US, Alt Intl


I have had this issue for quite a while actually on Kubuntu. Dead keys do not behave consistently across applications.
They would work in:
– Konsole (terminal)
– Dolphin
– Kate
– LibreOffice
but not in:
– chromium, atom
– firefox, thunderbird
– emacs (although I suspect emacs has probably its own way to handle alternative inputs).

It is probably a complex matter as the subject pops up on regular basis and could involve
OS handling of the input method as well as specifics of applications.

Any suggestion on how to make Firefox handle dead keys on Linux ?



Problem changing default application from Firefox to Chromium (v. 16.04)


I have a new install of Lubuntu 16.04. I have attempted to change the default web application for LXSession > Launching applications > webbrowser from Firefox to Chromium (preferable: “chromium-browswer –incognito”) but the default override still opens Firefox. I also use text applications like surfraw, but when I configure it to open links in Chromium it still overrides my preference and opens Firefox. Is there another configuration setting I can change to stop Firefox from being the default web application and instead use Chromium?

What do you see with update-alternatives –get-selections | grep -i browser?

08:04 PM ~ $ update-alternatives –get-selections | grep -i browser
gnome-www-browser auto /usr/bin/google-chrome-stable
infobrowser auto /usr/bin/info
www-browser auto /usr/bin/w3m
x-www-browser auto /usr/bin/google-chrome-stable
08:04 PM ~ $

And did you take a look at man surfraw? It has this:
Set browser (default: sensible-browser).and this:
Name/path of graphical browser executable. e.g mozilla,
netscape etc.


def SURFRAW_graphical_browser sensible-browser



checking update-alternatives the gnome-www-browser and x-www-browser were pointed to firefox. I’ve modified it now so the output is:

~$ update-alternatives –get-selections | grep -i browser
gnome-www-browser manual /usr/bin/chromium-browser
infobrowser auto /usr/bin/info
www-browser auto /usr/bin/links
x-www-browser manual /usr/bin/chromium-browser

Using my surfraw config file from my previous Lubuntu OS


BROWSER=”chromium-browser –incognito”

It will now open up using chromium browser, but it still prevents me from using the “–incognito” option that I had been using previously in the conf file.

I’ve noticed that I can even issue the command

$ x-www-browser –incognito

And it will open up “–incognito” as desired. But if I try to define it in the surfraw config file, it is still overrides without the “–incognito” option.

Xubuntu icon change


hi i use xubuntu and everything is fine and perfect but i want to change thunar filemanager icons how can i do it without changing system icons in a whole?
Frogs Hair

You should be able to do that by right clicking and entering the folders properties , selecting the icon image , navigating to a folder where the new folder images are stored, and selecting the image. This will only change the primary icon and not any of the sub-folders which would have to be changed one by one . You should also be able to revert by entering proprieties as well.

Turning off screen lock Ubuntu Gnome 15.10 (I’ve already tried the privacy settings)


I’m having a bit of trouble turning off the lock screen when I shut the screen on my laptop. I have already turned off the screen lock in the privacy settings but the lock screen still shows when I open the laptop. This laptop is used exclusively at my home and I’m up and down alot so it’s just annoying to have to sign in everytime I close the screen.

What else should I be doing?

Thank you for your help.

Dose using the key combo of work for you?


Dose using the key combo of work for you?

No this just brings up the lock screen. What is it supposed to do?


Try the “Disable Screen Shield” extension.


Try the “Disable Screen Shield” extension.

Doesn’t do anything.

alforddm pg?oh=0bba047af2471afc4cc596a3289d701a&oe=57305B11

Here is a screen shot of my privacy settings. As you can see screen lock is off. However, I still have to login each time I close the laptop.


It should be in your privacy as it’s in mine. I am using 16.04 but it works as it should. Here are my settings.

Thunar behaviour changed


Since updating from 14.04 to 16.04, and thus from Thunar 1.6.3 to 1.6.10, there has been a couple of changes in the way that Thunar work that really impinge on my work flow!

1. No longer possible to select multiple files by dragging from over the filename. It still works if dragging is done from white space if in Icon or Compact view, or from a column other than filename in Detailed view, but then not the white space below in Detailed. (I always used Detailed List and have it set to auto-expand the column so sometimes it can end up wider that the window. Plus it really slows me down have to think where to start dragging from! This is the more annoying niggle.)

2. No longer possible to do a RMB drag and drop. There used to be a time within if you started to move the mouse of right clicking you could drag and then get the menu options to Move/Copy/Link/Cancel on release. This is no longer possible.

My searching for possible solutions seemed to imply it could be related to GTK themes but I am running the same theme on both installs under Appearance and have tried multiple under the Windows Manager option (the same as I have on 14.04 isn’t listed) and nothing made any difference.

Is there any way to restore these operations?
Dennis N

For the first, I just left-click to select the first, then shift-left-click to select the last. Those in between get selected too. That seems quicker than any of the alternatives you describe.

Sorry, no suggestions for the second about the menu, but you can drag and drop to move or copy depending on the use of the shift-key, but you probably already know that.


What file-view do you use?

I am like Dennis N and use a left click then shift+2nd left click to select multiple files but I also always use detailed list view in my file managers; always have done since my days in Win 3.1, so maybe it is easier for me with that view.


As mention I always use Detailed List view and this is the worst affected as it doesn’t work from the dead space next to the filename on this view.

I know all about the alternative methods of selecting and I do this sometimes (actually I would old Shift and use the Arrow Keys rather than clicking a second time more often), but only really when sat at a desk in a correct posture for typing, whereas if I am using my laptop in my bed on sat on a lounge chair or in anything but the ideal position I find this a lot harder to do quickly and easily then just dragging over the files!

It affects me most severely when organising music for DJ sets. Drag to copy files from Audacity then would usually just drag over two or three files at once to select while changing focus, then Alt+F2 to rename all (by audio tags.) It really makes this a LOT more cumbersome and I don’t understand why the functionality would have been removed! Is there no way to change it back. Otherwise I might remove Thunar and reinstall the old version from Trusty and hope that really fixes it and the fault isn’t somewhere elsewhere (like some issue with GTK in the new XFCE as was hinted at in my previous searches.)


Downgraded to the 1.6.3 version from Trusty by taking the thunar and thunar-data packages from that repo and using dpkg. This has restored the old function (and the old bugs such as those related to multi-selection not updating correctly) and makes it much more usable for me.

Have put a feature request to make it configurable on the XFCE forum:


… No longer possible to select multiple files by dragging…
Actually, it is. You just need to select/click under the “name” field.


Actually, it is. You just need to select/click under the “name” field.
Not working for, me unless I have not understood what you mean by this.


Maybe a picture will help:

Where to “click” (


That’s what I have tried without success.
In my thunar 1.6.10 it just tries, unsuccessfully, to move the top file down the list as I drag, and leaves just that single file selected.


Actually that’s the only place you can’t start the click/drag from, as I clearly mention in my first post, and if you have the width to automatically resize then this can take up the whole window, or it can be hard to see which file you are starting from if the filenames are of greatly different length.

Sorry I didn’t say that part above, clearly I’m getting confused with the post I made on the XFCE forum. Apologies. Still doesn’t change the fact that this is the only area that it can’t be done from in my experience though.


Is anyone else getting random crashes when ranaming files in Thunar or copy.pasting a file ??


Is anyone else getting random crashes when ranaming files in Thunar or copy.pasting a file ??
This is getting old.

Grab this ppa install from instruction & fix it(I’ve already test & no more crashes).


Problem with Top Bar of Ubuntu 14.04


I am using Ubuntu 14.04 Desktop. Can I move the top bar to the bottom?

Not that I know. There are other flavors of Ubuntu that allow that: Lubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Ubuntu Mate do.


Thank you very much for your reply. Still, the user can only use Ubuntu with Unity. Ae there any other solutions?

waiting for xserver to shut down (ee) server terminated successfully (0)?


hi,I’ve downloaded mininet 64bit and i imported it on vmware workstation 12. Installed command startx, but when i install gui “Ubuntu-desktop” or “ubuntu-gnome-desktop” and then run command startx i get the following error. I’d appreciate it if you help me out here step by step since i’m a beginner. Tried some methods found on the internet but none of’em panned out.


Ubuntu 16.04 scripts to converr files to .avi and delete files



1.I was trying to create scripts for following
ffmpeg -i myvideo.mp4 -codec: copy myvideo.avi input .mp4 file names should be taken from a text file and the converted video should be saved with same names as the input file with .avi extension. The above basic command does work.

2. Find 10 biggest file in a directory and interactively delete them. I wasnt able to combine find command with -exec rm -i (find . -type -f -name “.file-to-delete” -exec rm {} \;) .

What I was trying
command |(find . -type -f -name “.file-to-delete” -exec rm -i {} \; where command finds 10 biggest files. I dont want to delete any directories.

Thank you for your help .

‘-f’ isn’t correct.

BTW, mp4 and avi are containers, not codec types. When avi files are popular, mpeg4 (divx or xvid) were popular codecs, not h.264 which is probably what would be put inside an mp4 file.

You can’t pipe the ffmpeg output into a find in this way. What you need is a loop that
* takes the inputs – I usually use file globbing as inputs, but the output from a find-cmd can work too.
* swaps the extension
* runs the transcode command … ffmpeg, avconv, handbrakeCLI, mencoder, whatever
* does whatever checks you feel are needed to ensure the converted file is “reasonable” – not all conversions work
* remove the originally input file.

So … to give you an idea, here’s one of my little scripts …
filename: 2mkv-720


FF_OPTS=”-vcodec libx264 -crf 19 -vf scale=-1:720 -preset veryfast -strict experimental -c:a libvorbis -qscale:a 6″

for filename in “$@”; do

ROOT=`echo “$filename”| sed -e ‘s/…$//’ `

nice ffmpeg -y -i “$IN” $FF_OPTS “$OUT”


If you use bash, there is a construct to convert the extensions. I can’t assume bash exists always.

Hope that clears things up a little. As you see, I’m looping over a list of files that are input to my script. Each filename is processed one at a time. My filenames never have spaces or other _funny_ characters. Filenames with spaces require extra work in the scripting, so I don’t let that happen.


Thank you. The find command I was using is for the 2nd problem thatvis find 10 biggest files in the pwd and interactively delete the fikes with rm -i