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UBC Mathematics: MathNet FAQ [Rebuild GNOME desktop]

UBC Mathematics: MathNet FAQ [Rebuild GNOME desktop]

Question: I can't log in to my GNOME desktop. How can I restore it?
Author: Joseph Tam
Date: Jan 13, 2011

Once in a while, GNOME screws itself, leaving the user unable to log in or gain useful control of their desktop. Try the following procedures:

  • Kill leftover processes: log in remotely via ssh and kill all processes that you own (this will also kill long-run batch jobs and your ssh session as well; contact IT staff if you need to save your some processes):
    	pkill -U "$USER"
    	pkill -9 -U "$USER"
    Try to log in to your desktop. If it's still hung up, then try the next step.
  • Remove leftover temporary files: as above, but also remove all files leftover from your last login (it will remove all files you own in /tmp; if you need to save some files, copy it to your home directory first).
    	find /tmp -user "$USER" -exec rm -rf {} \;
    Try to log in to your desktop. If it's still hung up, then try the next step.
  • Remove GNOME files (script): if the above does not work, you may need to completely rebuild your desktop. Remotely log in via ssh as before, then issue the following commands (saving any files if you need them):
    GNOME will rebuild your desktop when you log back in.
  • Remove GNOME files (manual): this is the manual commands done by the above script in case you do not have access to it (like your own personal workstation):
    	# Files removed:
    	#       .Trash/*        GNOME trash.
    	#       .beagle         File indexing database
    	#       .config         Freedesktop configuration data
    	#       .cache          Cached items (for what?)
    	#       .dmrc           Desktop manager configuration
    	#       .eggcups        CUPS GUI configuration
    	#       .fullcircle     Mozilla/Firefox debug file.
    	#       .icons          Icon cache.
    	#       .gconf*         GNOME configuration data
    	#       .gnome*         GNOME data
    	#       .gstreamer      Streaming multimedia data
    	#       .gtk*           GNOME toolkit data
    	#       .local/share/Trash/*    Xfce4 trash.
    	#       .metacity       GNOME window manager data
    	#       .nautilus       GNOME file manager data
    	#       .redhat         Redhat (escd?) data.
    	#       .rhn-applet*    RedHat notifier
    	#       .thumbnails     Thumbnails of user file contents.
    	cd; rm -rf  .Trash/* \
    		.beagle \
    		.config \
    		.cache \
    		.dbus \
    		.dmrc \
    		.eggcups \
    		.fullcircle \
    		.gconf* \
    		.gnome* \
    		.gstreamer* \
    		.gtk* \
    		.local/share/Trash/* \
    		.metacity \
    		.nautilus \
    		.redhat \
    		.rhn-applet* \
  • If the above doesn't work, you're hooped. Contact the IT staff.