How To Fix: No Unity, No Launcher, No Dash In Ubuntu 14.04

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So you were trying to customize your Ubuntu 14.04 desktop but messed it up to end up with no Unity, no Launcher and no Dash? Don’t panic, there is a solution for this issue.

Fix no Unity, no Launcher, no Dash in Ubuntu 14.04 and 14.10

At login time, use Ctrl+Alt+F1 to access the command line interface. You will have to use your username and password here. Once logged in, use the following commands:

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

Hope this fixes the issue with Ubuntu 14.04 and Ubuntu 14.10. there is another trick which was used in Ubuntu 12.10. Give it a try of you want to.

Fix no Unity, no Launcher, no Dash in Ubuntu 12.10

I was installing Ubuntu 12.10 on my friend’s laptop the other day when i encountered this strange scenario. After the fresh install when I boot in to Ubuntu, there was no Unity, no side launcher, no dash, nothing. All it had was just the default wallpaper of Ubuntu 12.10:

Ubuntu Default Desktop Wallpaper

Ubuntu Desktop Without Unity

Clearly something was broken. I tried the good old technique to reset Unity and Compiz in Ubuntu, did not work. After looking for hours in forum, I came up with this awesome one liner solution.

Use Ctrl+Alt+T to open the terminal. Now use the following command in the terminal:

rm -rf .compiz-1

And that is it. No need to do anything else. You will have Unity back again. Cheers :)


  • Jeff

    I know the article states 12.10, but I wanted to put it out there that this doesn’t in Ubuntu 13.10 . Still have the same issue. Anyone had this fix work in other versions?

    • Abhishek Prakash

      Hi Jeff,

      Till now, I did not face this issue with Ubuntu 13.10 and thus I never really thought over it. I’ll see if I can find a solution.

  • Bill Horne

    Same issue for me (newbie) after upgrading from 12.04 to 12.10 on an Acer Travelmate 2301XC notebook with 1 GB RAM.

    At first my problem was having no desktop after logging in, i.e. no Dash or menus anywhere, though I could use keystrokes to access Terminal and even run some apps in their GUIs.

    Then Ubuntu stopped recognizing my login password (which I had not changed). When I enter it in the startup window that displays Ubuntu 12.10, the screen goes black, then relaunches the same login prompt. Stuck in a loop.

    Unfortunately I have not succeeded in making your fix work. I have posted a question here which is now located here after trying many remedies.

    I am still able to access Terminal via Ctrl-Alt-F2 and maybe it’s possible to repair the errors from there. Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks.

    • Bill Horne

      I copied & pasted the error I got when Ubuntu Software Center tried to repair broken packages here
      Seems I’ve been trying to install a kernel that does not support a non-PAE CPU.
      Now I probably need to reinstall 12.04…

      • Abhishek Prakash

        Just asking why are you upgrading to Ubuntu 12.10? 12.10 will see end of life this month.

  • Anon

    I have this problem on a nice clean 14.04 VM install. I’ve tried tonnes of solutions (including this one) and it hasn’t helped. Anyone solved this more recently?

    • Steve

      Advice found elsewhere to rename/remove ~/.config worked for me on a 14.04 upgrade machine this afternoon.

      • pat

        I tried that (as well as the solutions above), but I couldn’t get out of the terminal after that, and the lack of GUI persisted after restart. I am running 14.04.1, and any other suggestions would be appreciated.

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