Your first thought when reading the title of this post is probably, “WTF? Why would I need that?” Well, if you’re like me and you love customizing your Gnome system, you’ll know that during your customizations, you have to reload this and reload that for your new changes to take effect. Sometimes its simply because a change you did caused some problems and something didn’t load correctly. Whatever it is, most of the time it requires you to use the killall command in the terminal.
This is common enough for the Gnome panels and for Nautilus since it draws and handles the desktop by default. I was tired of pulling up a terminal window and typing in the killall commands to “refresh” my GUI or Desktop or repeating them if I had already ran them previously. Not that it takes that long to do. I just wanted a quick “button” I can click that will do it automatically.
So I did it myself. Not very complicated, really. Actually, it’s not complicated at all. 🙂
- Right-click the panel or drawer you want the button to be situated
- Select “Add to Panel…” and the “Add to Panel” window will open
- Click on the “Custom Application Launcher” at the top of the window
- In the Launcher Properties, select “Application in Terminal” as a Type
- Name it “Refresh GUI“
- For the command, type in: “killall gnome-panel nautilus” without the quotes
- For the comment, type in: “Reloads the panels and the desktop (Nautilus).” or whatever you want. 😉
- Click on the “No icon” button and choose an icon of your choice.
- Click close and you’re done
Now, whenever you need to reload/refresh your Desktop, you can simply click on your brand-spanking new shiny button!
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As a new user, there comes a time (or there will come a time) when you are playing around with Ubuntu/Gnome, trying different themes, different engines, different window managers, etc, and all of a sudden you run into a problem that you can’t seem to find a way to fix it.
Maybe some of your customized settings are causing your gnome-panel to crash all the time or causing your windows and applications to look ugly, even having window buttons (close, minimize) disappear. You start Googling and spending a lot of time – sometimes days – trying to find how you can fix it.
You are frustrated (sometimes hitting your monitor/tower yelling some vulgarities at it as if it understands and you will kill it if it doesn’t fix it… there’s no Valentine’s love there, that’s for sure) and are ready to go back to Microsoft Windows.
You keep thinking, “I wish I could just reset it back to its defaults, like a clean install, without losing all my applications and data.”
Well, you’re in luck. There is a way to reset your Desktop settings back to their defaults. If you keep in mind that everything in Linux is a file, all of its settings are files. All of Gnome’s customizations are located in their own specific folders. And these settings are user specific; they are in your Home folder. If you would create another user and log in with that user, you wouldn’t have any of the problems you are having in your own account. If you remove all these folders, you essentially remove all the settings. Therefore, we will remove the folders needed to reset Ubuntu/Gnome back to its defaults.
UPDATE (): Keep in mind that this will only reset your Gnome-specific settings. If you are having problems with your video card, display, x-server, etc., this WILL NOT fix your problems.
If you don’t have access to your graphical (GUI) desktop to delete these folders in Nautilus or you’re stuck at the login screen, drop to a terminal by hitting CTRL + ALT + F1, login to your account, and run this command:
rm -rf .gnome .gnome2 .gconf .gconfd .metacity
Get back to your GUI desktop by hitting CTRL + ALT + F7.
Login and VOILÀ! Just like the first time you ever logged into your Gnome desktop.