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In my efforts to install Steam on Mint 14, I came to realize that my onboard Intel display adapter was being utilized instead of my main GPU (Nvidia GTX 460M). After reading an inordinate number of posts regarding the installation of drivers for the card, I found out that Nvidia cards utilizing "Optimus" technology aren't so straightforward with regard to installing said drivers.
I went through and removed nouveau drivers and some other drivers (Based upon threads which recommended these actions as potential solutions to the problem I was having getting the drivers installed) using synaptic. At the end, I still wasn't able to get the drivers installed so I moved onto something else. I decided to install Cinnamon to see what all the fuss was about (All of this was being done remotely on a forwarded X session via SSH) and everything appeared to go smoothly and I left my workstation at the jobsite and rushed home to check out the new packages I installed.
Upon returning home, I saw the standard Mint login screen. I entered my information and the desktop wallpaper popped up. I waited for the icons and the taskbar to load but they never did. sudo service mdm status claims mdm is running, and nothing I've done seems to fix the issue (shutdown -r now is really the only other thing I could think of immediately). I'm still very new to Linux so if anyone has any idea what my issue could be, I'd be very grateful to hear some theories on how to fix this. I'm not sure if it's related to the removal of my GPU drivers, or if it has something to do with my cinnamon installation or if it's something completely unrelated. Thanks very much.
When you attempt to login, have you attempted to change the session? Type or click your username in MDM, and find where it allows you to change session. Try selecting other than default or the last used session. Do any work?
Instead of shutting down, at a console use 'invoke-rc.d mdm restart'. that will just restart MDM and take you back to the login screen instead of rebooting the PC.
I changed the session, selected Cinnamon, and now the taskbar has magically returned! I don't have desktop icons, but honestly that's not that big of a deal to me. Thanks for your help, it is much appreciated!
Well, without knowing what session was selected at the time you logged in, it's hard to say, unfortunately. It may be worth watching (just select to change session, but don't change anything, maybe just click cancel if possible) when you log in the next few times and it will give something to start with if the problem recurs.