so i guess i didnt explain the problem clearly enough to get an answer or its a problem which is exclusive to my crappy laptop.
after using the computer for a bit, the dropdowns for the top bar (for volume, user, wireless connection etc) wont appear when i click them. the box outline over the icons still appears when i hover over them, but the actual menu box and contents dont show up. As well as this, clicking on any open programs on the bottom bar also does nothing. the fancy window switcher in the top left stops working as well-when clicking the button, nothing happens
the last time this happened i did ctrl alt t to bring up a terminal so i could reboot (because the usual shutdown/restart option under the username becomes unselectable due to this issue) but instead it kept opening new terminals over and over til the screen started going nuts with angled blocks of colour like when a graphics card dies because i guess it couldnt handle opening like 50 instances of terminal in a row after the equivalent of fork bombing itself
restarted using the power button to turn off and back on, and things are back to normal. its weird cos the menus only seem to stop working when im using programs that run windowed in the desktop (firefox, banshee, and libreoffice). when ive been watching tv shows on it fullscreened the menu/desktop problem doesnt seem to occur.
i would also like to state again that this issue did not happen until the last week or so, but now it means i have to restart like every 20 minutes when im not watching a fullscreen video, just to be able to use the desktop properly
so i guess my next question is how do i install another wm and set up mint to use that instead of gnome? was gonna go with xfce cos its what ive used before, plus this is a pretty old laptop, i wonder if gnome 3 is just too hectic for it.
ive not deviated from the default mint setup much aside from installing libreoffice, setting up a conky and a couple of other things. no serious tweaks or anything like that. would i be better off just reinstalling from scratch, cos ive been liking mint so far but id be tempted to go back to crunchbang if i cant get this sorted
ive managed to get this post typed out without losing the menus yet, but it really is making this computer totally unusable. ive also tryed to explain the problem more coherently but it is nearly 2am. maybe ill make a video showing the problem next time it happens, if that would be more help