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Resetting gnome panels to default

Posted 06-18-2010 at 08:46 PM by trevorparsons

I'm sorry to say that the problems with Gnome's panels persist in Ubuntu 10.04 'Lucid Lynx'.

I've found on several different machines that it's all too easy for a change of monitor resolution, or some other tweak to xorg, to trigger an unresolvable ballsup in the top panel. The applet icons in the top panel get jumbled up, and even disappear.

Today I logged in to a freshly installed, rather than upgraded, Lucid system running in VirtualBox, and was greeted with an error window saying that the panel encountered a problem while loading OAFIID:GNOME_FastUserSwitchApplet -- and offering me the choice of delete or don't delete. I chose don't delete, but noticed that the oddly named 'Indicator Applet Session' (the icon in the right-hand corner that lets you log out, suspend, restart or shut down) had disappeared.

I thought I'd just try adding the applet to the panel again, which I did by right-clicking the top panel background and choosing 'Add To Panel'. Trouble is, it didn't put the applet icon back in the corner, and it proved impossible to move it there, because the Network Manager applet, unlike every other panel icon, can't be moved. (It has no Move option in its right-click menu).

I decided to cut my losses and reset the panels to defaults. As far as I know there is no graphical way of doing this (an option for this in Panel Properties would be handy). But this is how it's reliably done in the Terminal:

gconftool --recursive-unset /apps/panel
rm -rf ~/.gconf/apps/panel
pkill gnome-panel
Not a nice thing for anyone to have to do, let alone new users, and especially if you've gone to any trouble customising your panel setup. Oh well.
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