Had the same problem - it worked fine right after install but then I ran all the updates and it behaved exactly as you described - Computer and Home icons on a blank desktop, no panels.
This is on a HP laptop with nVidia graphics.
I have it working again now. Here is what i did:
1. shut down and restarted the machine. since I had no menus, I shut down by right-clicking the desktop, opening a Terminal, and typing
- Code: Select all
sudo shutdown -h now
2. After restarting the machine, on the login box there's a gear icon - I clicked it and selected MATE then logged in.
3. From the menu in the lower left of the desktop, selected Control Center. Under Hardware, select 'Additional Drivers' . A proprietary driver for my nVidia graphics was displayed (version 173), so I selected it and clicked Activate. After a couple minutes it told me to restart the machine, which I did.
After that, I can now select any of the desktop managers from the 'gear' on the login screen - they all work fine. Hope that helps. (of course, your graphics driver may be different - that one worked for me)
Incidentally, it seemed that ONLY the default GNOME choice had this issue before I installed the proprietary driver - I was able to use 'GNOME Classic' or 'MATE' just fine with the standard graphics driver.