I am experiencing a similar baxarre behaviour under Mint 12 and XFCS. I really rather like XFCE compared to the other desktops but it is a problem. I am runnnig without compiz but with Cairo Dock and the xfce4-wmdock-plugin. I don't usually do a shutdown but do suspend my Dell Desktop about four times a day. About once a week, when I try to awaken the machine or reboot, the thing comes alive but the desktop is totally trashed; the windows have no deceration, the wmdock panel has no apps running, cairo-dock has a black background but will not function. Once or twice the blue mouse background was replaced by the default Mint-12 background. I can't even open an application in an existing xterm window like shutdown. I have been able to logout but doing another login leaves me in the same state. The only thing that I can think to do is reboot via an Alt-SysRq session and resore the system partition. (I have turned into a great fan of Clonezilla!). My home directory is on the / partition but mostly contains symbolic links to a separate disk which contains my home files. I have tried restoring my home directory in hopes that one of .files has been gronked, but that did not work. Now I only update the system every few weeks and then immediately use clonzilla to backup the / partition and then go on my way for about a week when I encounter the problem again.
This really shouldn't be. I would appreciate any suggestions.
I am not really sure where to post my question.
Thanks In Advance,