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Posts Tagged ‘menu’

Ubuntu has moved on to “Unity“, and Gnome has evolved to version 3‘s “Gnome Shell“, but many people (like myself) still prefer to use the old “Classic” desktop – be it the old Gnome 2 version, or the “Fallback Mode” of Gnome 3 (users of 11.10 upwards have no choice but to use the Gnome 3 version).

While the 2 versions of the “Classic” interface do have some differences – no “System” menu in Gnome 3 (read this if this is your only concern), and having to hold Alt while right-clicking it to access options – both have panels that are much more customisable (and infinitely more useful) than what “Unity” and “Gnome Shell” currently offer.

But things can go awry, like after doing some tweaking, or installing a program, or having to do a hard reboot, and you can find your panel altered (particularly minus the menus), or even completely missing. So we’ll look at a few different scenarios, and how to rectify them, including how to force Gnome to reset your menus back to their defaults (which is probably the quickest and easiest method). Also, because I’ve seen a lot of newbies in forums say “My Applications menu is missing!” when they should be saying “My top panel has totally vanished!”, we’ll look at how to get your panel back as well.

Finally, because some will need to take a harder approach (or just prefer an easier one), we’ll look at how to totally reset your panels back to their defaults. This is by far the most drastic measure, but it’s quick and easy, and for most people there are no customisations to worry about losing. Besides, if your panel has totally died or vanished, and nothing else you’ve tried has worked, then it’s the only option left.

Try A Quick Panel Restart:

First off, it might be enough to simply refresh the panel by forcing it to close then re-open, which can be done by a reboot, or logging out, or simply entering the following command into the terminal or via Alt+F2:

killall gnome-panel

It pays to do that first, in case that’s all that’s really needed, but chances are you’ve already tried logging out or rebooting, so check out the following tips.

Restore Missing Menus to Panel:

If just your main menu (the “Applications” and “Places” menus, and the “System” menu in Gnome 2) is missing, then perhaps all you need to do is add the menu back to your panel. Right-click an empty area of your panel (holding Alt in Gnome 3) and choose “Add to Panel…“, then scroll down till you find “Menu Bar” (ignore “Main Menu“, as that is a small icon version), and drag it to the left area of your panel.

If it’s conceivable that you perhaps accidentally right-clicked the menu and hit “Remove From Panel“, then it might pay to do this, especially if you have panel customisations you don’t want to lose.

Force Reset of Main Menus:

If you can’t add the menus back to your panel, for example you can’t invoke “Add to Panel…” with a right-click, it’s time to reset the menus to their defaults, which is done by deleting some configuration files. Actually, technically you’re not deleting anything, as the 2 files in question are simply renamed with .bak extensions [so they’re still there if you really need them later], forcing Gnome to recreate those files with default values.

To force Gnome to rewrite its panel menus with default values, enter the following command into a terminal:

mv ~/.config/menus/applications.menu ~/.config/menus/applications.menu.bak && mv ~/.config/menus/settings.menu ~/.config/menus/settings.menu.bak

(That should work with either Gnome 2 or 3, though the settings menu part of it probably won’t do anything in Gnome 3).

All you have to do now is log out, then once you log back in again, your panel should be back with all its menus. Or you can simply enter killall gnome-panel into the terminal and it should successfully refresh your panels without having to log out.

Make a New Top Panel if Missing:

If your panel is absent, you could have even accidentally deleted it yourself, if you unwittingly right-clicked the panel and chose “Delete This Panel” (in Gnome 2 – in Gnome 3 that is harder to do, since you need to be holding Alt while right-clicking the panel). But don’t immediately blame yourself, as all sorts of mishaps can result in a missing panel.

Whatever the case, you should be able to recreate your top panel simply by right-clicking the bottom panel (while holding Alt in Gnome 3) and choosing “New Panel“. You’d then move it to the top, then right-click it (holding Alt in Gnome 3) and choose “Add to Panel…” to add back all the various bits and pieces you had before (the “default” panel is actually a blank panel with a bunch of plugins added).

Obviously, this would be the most time-consuming method, but if you plan to customise your panel anyway, you may as well start from scratch. However, the easiest method would be to totally reset your panels, so keep reading.

Force A Complete Panel Reset:

When all else fails, it’s time to force Gnome to completely reset your panels, which is done by deleting the configuration files. That might sound drastic, and in reality this really is the last resort, but if your panel is totally messed up, chances are your old settings are useless anyway, or rather that having to stick some launchers back on a clean panel will be a welcome alternative to having no panel, or one that is buggy, or missing the “Applications” menu or whatever.

To force Gnome to recreate its panels with default values, enter the following commands into a terminal:

gconftool --recursive-unset /apps/panel (This wipes the panel’s settings)

rm -rf ~/.gconf/apps/panel (This deletes the panel’s folders and files)

killall gnome-panel (This forces the panel to close and restart)

Your panel should now be back with all its menus (but of course minus any customisations). If for some reason they don’t appear immediately, a reboot should fix it.

Alternative Commands for Panel Reset:

ΔΔΔ Some guides have gconftool-2 --shutdown as the first command (this shuts down the current user’s gconfd), though gconftool --recursive-unset /apps/panel should work perfectly fine without it. However, if you aren’t having success, then run it first.

ΔΔΔ If you’re running the commands via the Alt+F2 Run Application box, chances are it won’t like the tilde (~) in the second command, so use rm -rf $HOME/.gconf/apps/panel instead.

ΔΔΔ Instead of killall gnome-panel, you can use pkill gnome-panel (which is basically the same thing), or nohup gnome-panel --replace &, or nohup gnome-panel --replace </dev/null &>/dev/null & (note that nohup specifies the command not halt when the terminal is closed, so is not needed if using Alt+F2).

ΔΔΔ If you’d rather make a backup of the panel’s files before deleting them, run mv ~/.gconf/apps/panel ~/Settings/PanelBackup (note the second path can be whatever you want; in this case, it’s a folder called PanelBackup inside a Settings folder within my home folder I have for storing various config files and settings backup). It actually moves the whole folder to a new location, which is basically the same as deleting it, so you shouldn’t need to run the second command (since there is nothing left there to delete, anyway).

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While Ubuntu‘s new Unity interface has been designed for less clutter, and generally makes getting to common tasks a breeze, many have found navigating through the rest a bit of a nightmare. While everything is supposed to be more simplified, some would argue having all your launchers accessible via categories in the old Applications menu was actually simpler and quicker.

But you can actually have the best of both worlds, so if you’re avoiding Unity and using the Classic Desktop simply for access to the Applications and System (or Wine) menus, read ahead.

While you can’t actually add the old menu system to the Unity panel, since it is not gnome-panel that is running, there is actually an “indicator” available for Unity that will do the same thing. So while this new (or old?) menu won’t replace Unity‘s “Dash“, you will see an Ubuntu icon in your system tray’s notification area. Click that, and you will see the old familiar Applications menu, with all the categories you’re used to.

To install Classic Menu Indicator, enter the following commands in sequence in a terminal:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:diesch/testing

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install classicmenu-indicator

Once installed, hit Alt+F2 and enter classicmenu-indicator as the command to run.

Apart from easy access to all your launchers, you’ll find your old System menu is there too, split into the familiar Preferences and Administration sub-menus.

More importantly for many, you will also have your old Wine menu back for running Windows programs. Unity‘s Dash menu system does not currently show a Wine section, and finding those apps can be near-impossible, but classicmenu-indicator will rectify this.

If you find that this menu/indicator does not automatically run upon your next boot (which it should), simply add classicmenu-indicator to your Startup Applications, and it will be forced to load from then onwards (it should already be in there, so check it isn’t disabled).

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

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If you’re scratching your head wondering why your launchers for folders and drives are opening with something other than the default file manager, Nautilus, then hopefully the answer you’re looking for is here.

If you’re experiencing this, you might find your desktop launchers to be fine, but those you’ve custom made for your panel, and even those in the Places menu, will be opening with the wrong program.

In my case, I had right-clicked a DVD’s VIDEO_TS folder and used Open With to open the title with SMPlayer (since the folder was on my hard drive), and all was well – until I clicked a location launcher on my panel. I had done this before without issue, but suddenly all my location launchers started opening SMPlayer, which then tried to find anything to play in the folder Nautilus was supposed to open. It might be a coincidence, but I saw others complaining of this strangeness occurring with another media player – the popular VLC.

If something similar is happening to you, you don’t need me to tell you that something has changed the default app for the task. And while you may have done similar to me in opening a folder with a program like a media player, there is no way you could have accidentally set it to be the default task. But there is a way to fix this, and you don’t even need root privileges for it.

Simply run the following command in a terminal or via Alt+F2:

gedit ~/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list

When the file opens, look for the line starting with inode/directory= and you should see the offending app listed at the beginning, ahead of Nautilus. All you have to do is either remove it or put it on the end of the line, making sure that nautilus-folder-handler.desktop is directly after inode/directory=.

Once you save and exit the file, your location launchers should be back to normal.

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If you’ve upgraded your system to 10.10, when you look in System > Administration for Software Sources, you’ll likely find it missing. But is hasn’t been removed, just hidden.

Simply right-click the System menu, and choose Edit Menus. In the left hand pane, go to the bottom and select Administration within System. In the right-hand pane, simply check Software Sources, then click Close.

If you find you have two of them listed, that would be because you have KDE as well as Gnome in the one system. All you have to do to find out which one to enable is right-click them and choose Properties. The KDE version will have the command as something like software-properties-kde, while the Gnome one will be gksu --desktop /usr/share/applications/software-properties-gtk.desktop /usr/bin/software-properties-gtk or similar (the important point being the one with “kde” in the name is likely not the one you want).

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Please note that this is for the “legacy” version of GRUB still widely in use, not the next-generation GRUB 2. If unsure, check out this guide on how to find out which version of GRUB you are using.

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You can actually add a picture to the GRUB boot menu, but these are special pictures that are compressed and have the extension .xpm.gz. First you’ll need some splash images, so go here and search for “grub”, and save them all in a folder of your choice. You will then need to create a new folder called images in GRUB’s residence, which you do by entering the following into a terminal:

sudo mkdir /boot/grub/images/

To copy all bootsplash files to this new protected folder, open a terminal in the folder you saved the splashes in and enter:

sudo cp *.xpm.gz /boot/grub/images/

If just wanting to copy one file over, you can replace the asterisk (*) with the file name. Note that these files must be .xpm images that have been compressed and so have the extension .xpm.gz (in other words, do not extract the picture from within).

To edit menu.lst to incorporate the image of your choice, enter the following into a terminal:

sudo gedit /boot/grub/menu.lst

then add the following lines at the very top of the file (or change the file name if it already exists):

# Splashimage for Bootloader Background
splashimage=(hd0,1)/boot/grub/splashimages/mygrubsplash.xpm.gz

Note that you may need to substitute your Ubuntu partition’s  correct address for (hd0,1), and that the GRUB system of naming drives and their partitions is different to that of Linux. Whenever you want to switch between boot menu images, simply edit menu.lst again and replace the name before the .xpm.gz with that of the replacement picture.

Want to know how to go a step further? Create your own GRUB boot splash!

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Did this information make your day? Did it rescue you from hours of headache? Then please consider making a donation via PayPal, to buy me a donut, beer, or some fish’n’chips for my time and effort! Many thanks!

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