Linux: Editing Gnome panels causes system to lock up and freeze before the desktop is visible

I'm not sure what sort of Linux gods I have angered but it seems they have it in for me.


I was editing a secondary panel and moving the applets around when suddenly the system crashed.

Fair enough, I'll just restart the thing and just try again. However, I wasn't lucky enough to get back into the system...

The desktop froze at a black screen, showing only the faulty secondary panel. No icons, no desktop, no menus, no responses to keyboard, nothing.

So, lucky I had a second computer to look up the fix. Seriously, Linux is not ready for mainstream use if you can't even fiddle with the user interface.

  • Load up your system and get into restore mode via GRUB
  • Select "Drop to root shell prompt"


  • Type "rm -rf /home/your_username/.gconf/apps/panel"
  • Exit and restart your system
  • Unfortunately you'll have to set up your panels again
  • Fortunately, you don't have to format and reinstall Linux (starting to sound like Windows)

Alternate solution

I tried this first and it did not work. It involved deleting "/home/your_username/.recently-used.xbel" instead.


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