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You said 'recently', so does it follow it was just the gnome thing that it puts in automatically? You know you hadn't changed it much.
In which case just reinstall Gnome seems the simple course.
Is gnome a 'metapackage' or whatever they are called. In which case:
sudo apt-get install --reinstall gnome
EDIT: Sorry that was a bit crass even by my usual standards. You've presumably removed all your *.desktop files. The above suggestion might still be worth a try. Or try recovering the directory with some sort of recovery program, but its likely to be a bit iffy.
Last edited by lugoteehalt; 01-13-2010 at 02:55 PM.
Thanks a lot. Re-installing gnome has at least returned most functionality, but I am still missing my .desktop icons. I have tried to get recovery software but apparently none exit for Linux.
Desktop icons are probably not even worth the effort of trying to recover them, but for the record, there ARE recovery tools for Linux, including PhotoRec, Test-disk (I think that's a recovery tool, if not an assistant), and Recover, to name a few. Of course, using any given tool for recovery, is influenced by (A) how much use the machine has had since the loss, and (B) what filesystem is in question.