Fix Unity Freezes After Login In Ubuntu 14.04 [Quick Tip]

If you upgraded Ubuntu 13.10 to Ubuntu 14.04, you might end up with Unity freezing at login time. You boot in to Ubuntu 14.04, enter your credential and the system just hangs up, freezes. If you are lucky, you might see mouse cursor, background wallpaper but nothing else. No Unity launcher, no top panel etc. Basically you will have Ubuntu in an unusable state.

This problem of missing Unity launcher, panel and system freeze can be solved by re-installing Unity. Let’s see how to do that:

Reinstall Unity in Ubuntu 14.04 to fix system freeze issue

Well, since you are stuck with a frozen system, use Ctrl+Alt+F2 key. This will take you to command line interface (instead of the default graphical user interface). You will be asked to enter your credentials. After you enter your username and password, use the following commands one by one to reinstall Unity desktop.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get install unity
sudo shutdown -r now

The last command will reboot your system. After the reboot, you should have Unity working as normal.

Fixing Unity freeze issue with Nvidia graphics:

I don’t have experience with Nvidia graphics but I found some people mentioning additional steps for system with Nvidia graphics card. While the above trick worked for my system, I cannot verify the one below. People with Nvidia graphics, please confirm that the steps below work for your system:

Press Ctrl+Alt+F2 to use command line. And after entering username and password, use the following commands one by one:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install --reinstall ubuntu-desktop
sudo apt-get install unity
sudo apt-get remove --purge nvidia*
sudo shutdown -r now

Once you have Unity back to normal at next reboot, just reinstall the Nvidia drivers (you had just removed them).

I hope these quick tips help you to recover your Ubuntu 14.04 from a frozen Unity to a working Unity. Any questions or suggestions are always welcomed.

  • Sharkey

    Thanks. :-)

    • Abhishek Prakash


  • damien duncan

    Incorrect command reinstalling ubuntu-desktop. If you got an error It should be “sudo apt-get –reinstall install ubuntu-desktop” .

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Thanks for pointing it out. Editor automatically changed — into a big -. Post updated.

  • Andranik


    I have an Asus notebook with Intel HD 4000 graphics and I have this problem. the suggested above solutions didn’t helped me.

    Then I executed the following command DISPLAY=:0 unity –replace and my Unity icons came in place, but I have nothing in the top panel, where time and e.g. skype icon are located. Also I have to run the mentioned command every time I turn on the computer.

    Are there any other suggestions?

  • Che Carlitos

    I’ve Intel HD3000 in my notebook and this solution not work. Unity is in the last version.

  • Larsen Scott

    Tried your solution; the system hangs on sudo apt-get update. Rebooted, tried again = same problem. It gets to 62% and just sits there.

    • Abhishek Prakash

      This is a unique issue… I hope there were not too many third party software

  • Bert Schenke

    Thanks, this helps me. (Laptop Thinpad T410)
    Only the “–purge nvidia*” don’t work, list with “dpkg -l nvidia*” and remove the resulting list of packages.

    • Abhishek Prakash

      thanks for pointing it out… hope it helps others

  • Labastos

    Worked for my Dell Latitude with nvidia graphics. Thanks !

    • Abhishek Prakash


  • Dan

    New to Ubuntu, tried to install Ubuntu 14.04 32 bit four times and it would freeze up at Who are You? Input personal info and the DVD would freeze up and not let complete the installation.
    Need your help!

    • Abhishek Prakash

      The downloaded ISO might be corrupted. Try to download a new one and run a checksum to make sure that it is fine.

  • Julie

    Thank you so much ! Your first tip helped me a great deal (my graphic card not being a Nvidia), and now my laptop works.

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Welcome Julie.

  • Nataly®

    Thank you for this great help, i was stuck with my computer at work :0)
    I had to do the procedure with the nvidia purge (haven’t install it back yet, don’t know how…).
    You saved me from a full re-install ;0)

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Welcome Nataly

  • Tomas

    If this did not solve the problem, what other ways can I try to do it? (I have already tried Damien Duncan’s correction, and it did not make any difference)