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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair
Thu, 15 Nov 2012

Updated: Debian Wheezy GNOME 3 panels (and everything else) goes away: Here's how I fixed it

Note: The fix outlined below DOES NOT WORK for more than a day.

This fix is a bit brutal but DOES WORK:

To restore the desktop in my GNOME 3 user account, I ended up deleting the entire .config directory in my home directory.

That enabled me to log into GNOME Shell and have a working desktop. I lost a whole lot of settings in the process, so I recommend renaming .config as, say, config with no "dot," then logging in and eventually restoring the parts of the .config that you need.

Things I lost by killing out .config include my Chromium browser settings, all GNOME settings, gPodder settings, Gigolo settings ... and maybe more that I haven't yet discovered. Sure, I got my main account working with GNOME, but I should've backed up .config instead of killing it entirely.

For reference and disclosure's sake, here is the original post:

I'm having an issue with GNOME 3 in Debian Wheezy that have only cropped up in the past few days. It may be due to one of the upgrades to Wheezy that have flowed earlier this week.

What happens is I log into GNOME 3 Shell, I get wallpaper and that's it. No panels, no nothing.

I can click alt-F4 to log out, and that's about it.

GNOME fallback mode (i.e. 2D) still works fine, as does Xfce. I wasn't locked out of GNOME at all, just the 3D/Shell version.

This Debian Forums post helped, though I don't think it describes my exact problem. I did take its advice and reinstall gnome-session and gnome-panel. It worked for awhile, then stopped working. I did it again, and GNOME 3 is working again. I'll update this post when I'm sure of the long-term viability of this fix.

Here is the command I used in the console:

$ sudo apt-get install --reinstall gnome-session gnome-panel

For now this fix is working. I haven't seen anything on the Debian mailing lists or forums that describes my exact problem, so this could just be something that affects me alone