latest 16.04LTS update won't display desktop, background only

Asked by Gregory E Hausmann on 2018-03-06

Downloaded latest 16.04LTS system updates this morning and now my primary desktop no longer displays after login, including the system functions at top right accessing shutdown/restart, only the background appears. Although none of the app icons like Firefox appear any longer I am able right click the mouse and launch a unix terminal window from the background only desktop. If I instead launch a guest session however all of the desktop and icons appear, but "guest" has no sysadmin privileges to modify anything regarding the primary user/login and system settings. Seems an update issue but I'd really prefer not having to completely reload a new Ubuntu and start over on all my bookmarks. I keep nothing else on that machine's HD so it's not lost data just the hassle of having to reload/restore my browsing laptop if necessary. Suggestions?

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Did you do a clean install of 16.04 from CD / USB ?
If you log in as guest is it OK there ?
What desktop environment are you using ?

Gregory E Hausmann (greyhau) said : #2

Thanks, andrew. Yes, the 16.04 was installed from a USB download from the Ubuntu site but it was 2+ years ago and I'd probably have trouble finding it and have to create a new download, anyway. I can log into guest for desktop (I only use a straight up Ubuntu desktop either way) but when trying to then change user to primary / sysadmin user acct I get a system crash error message, sent to Canonical twice this morning (xserver-xorg-core), @ 13:03 UTC and 14:03 UTC, respectively. I've seen other bug reports saying their primary desktop wouldn't launch after login on this16.04 update but those all seemed to also suggest their guest user didn't work too - while mine does.

If you install the Ubuntu Tweak Tool you can then launch the application as your other user and reset the desktop to default settings. This may help

Gregory E Hausmann (greyhau) said : #4

I'll find it and give it a try. Thanks!

Gregory E Hausmann (greyhau) said : #5

Found and downloaded an ubuntu-tweak_0.8.7-1~getdeb2~zenial_all (supposed to be for 16.04) but it's having trouble extracting/installing/running. May have to try the download again.

Gregory E Hausmann (greyhau) said : #7

Downloading's not the problem it's getting it to install/run from guest I think. Term window install instruction keeps throwing a sudo: unable to change root gid: Operation not permitted and then sudo: unable to initialize policy plugin
feeling fustrated

Run it as your user. You are changing your own settings

Jim Stokes (jamesphilipstokes) said : #9

I have the same problem. No access to launcher or unity or apps, only terminal. Lost wifi connection, so internet not working. I've seen some suggestions about reinstalling unity, which i've tried, to no avail. I'm running 16.04 on an HP laptop. Today's updates have caused this problem. Please help.

Thanks, Jim.

Just managed to get into Ubuntu Tweak and found this error, but which I know nothing:

Distribution: Ubuntu 16.04 xenial
Application: Ubuntu Tweak 0.8.8-1~trusty1

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/ubuntutweak/", line 495, in _load_module
    page = module()
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/ubuntutweak/tweaks/", line 183, in __init__
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/ubuntutweak/gui/", line 109, in __init__
    items = self._pre_deal_items(items)
  File "/usr/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/ubuntutweak/gui/", line 147, in _pre_deal_items
    if type(new_list[0]) == Gtk.Separator:
IndexError: list index out of range

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