Desktop suddenly blank? [SOLVED, sort of]

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fatso
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Desktop suddenly blank? [SOLVED, sort of]

Post by fatso »

Hi all. I would have searched the forums, but have no idea what to search for.
I updated to mint 20 pretty much as soon as the instructions were posted, and all was working great. But just now, a game froze (UT 2004), and had to hard reset the system. When it came back up, my mouse pointer was an "X", I had NOTHING on my desktop but the panel & wallpaper, no windows have any buttons, and right-clicking on the desktop does nothing at all. I logged out and back in again and got my mouse pointer back, so on a guess, I went into desktop settings and changed the window manager from Marco + Compositing to Marco + Compton. I got my window buttons back. Changed back to original setting and still have window buttons.

So the only remaining problems are:
- no right-click working on the desktop (works everywhere else)
- absolutely nothing on the desktop but the panel & wallpaper.

I'm completely baffled, and would sure appreciate some help. Thanks in advance.

If it helps, here's my inxi output:
Kernel: 5.4.0-42-generic x86_64 bits: 64 Desktop: MATE 1.24.0
Distro: Linux Mint 20 Ulyana
Last edited by fatso on Sun Aug 02, 2020 8:32 am, edited 3 times in total.

hydrurga
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by hydrurga »

Do you have Timeshift installed and running? If so, this is an ideal situation for you to rollback your system to a snapshot that was taken before the freezing and hard reset.

fatso
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by fatso »

Thank you so much for the reply. I was about to that, but tried one last guess...I went back into desktop settings and changed the scaling to HiDPI and everything came back. Reset to auto again, and all is still good. WHEW! Dodged a bullet there.

Marking this as solved. :)

hydrurga
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank? [SOLVED]

Post by hydrurga »

Great to hear. :)

fatso
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by fatso »

Well, I spoke too soon. Settings didn't hold after a reboot. Look like a restore is in my immediate future (GEEEEZ that sucks!) unless someone has any brilliant ideas.

hydrurga
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by hydrurga »

Out of pure interest, why is a TimeShift snapshot restore so unpleasant for you? I've always found them easy to do and on occasion, much like the one you have experienced, I've found such a restore to be a lifesaver (the life of my system of course, I don't want to be too melodramatic).
Last edited by hydrurga on Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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MrEen
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by MrEen »

I don't know if MATE has saved sessions like Xfce does, but it sounds like that could be the issue.

fatso
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by fatso »

hydrurga wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:12 pm
Out of pure interest, why is a TimeShift snapshot restore so unpleasant for you? I've always found them easy to do and on occasion, much like the one you have experienced, I've found such a restore to be a lifesaver (the life of my system of course, I don't want to be too melodramatic).
To be honest, I forgot that I had to remove my timeshift backup after the v20 update due to having limited space on my storage drive (timeshift took up over half of it!). So...I'm stuck with a clonezilla backup instead, which is pre-v20-update. Yeah, I know. Everybody point and laff at the village idiot. :oops:

fatso
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by fatso »

MrEen wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:16 pm
I don't know if MATE has saved sessions like Xfce does, but it sounds like that could be the issue.
Any body know if that's an issue I can address?

hydrurga
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by hydrurga »

fatso wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:27 pm
To be honest, I forgot that I had to remove my timeshift backup after the v20 update due to having limited space on my storage drive (timeshift took up over half of it!). So...I'm stuck with a clonezilla backup instead, which is pre-v20-update. Yeah, I know. Everybody point and laff at the village idiot. :oops:
Not at all. It explains why you restoring would be such a faff for you, and why concentrating on resolving the issue at hand is the easier option.

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MrEen
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by MrEen »

Is Control Center -> Startup Applications Preferences -> Options tab something that exists? And if so, is there a box to check for saving sessions, and more importantly, is it checked?

If the box was checked, then we'll need to find out where MATE saves the sessions info. If not checked, then we're probably barking up the wrong tree.

hydrurga
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by hydrurga »

If MrEen's advice doesn't result in a solution, what I would do is go through the changes you made to get the system working again and determine which of these actually managed to stick after the reboot and which reverted. Then make a list of those changes which reverted and we'll try to determine how to make them stick.

Regarding MrEen's post, yes there is such an option in Startup Applications. It is unchecked on my system, which I assume is the default.

fatso
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by fatso »

MrEen wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:36 pm
Is Control Center -> Startup Applications Preferences -> Options tab something that exists? And if so, is there a box to check for saving sessions, and more importantly, is it checked?

If the box was checked, then we'll need to find out where MATE saves the sessions info. If not checked, then we're probably barking up the wrong tree.
There's no box for saving sessions, unless you mean "Automatically remember running applications when logging out". If so, that is unchecked. Should I check it?

fatso
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by fatso »

hydrurga wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 6:42 pm
If MrEen's advice doesn't result in a solution, what I would do is go through the changes you made to get the system working again and determine which of these actually managed to stick after the reboot and which reverted. Then make a list of those changes which reverted and we'll try to determine how to make them stick.

Regarding MrEen's post, yes there is such an option in Startup Applications. It is unchecked on my system, which I assume is the default.
All of the changes stuck, but I still had the same issues after reboot. All I had changed was the Marco + Compositing to just Marco, and then back again. Also the scaling to HiDPI and back to auto again.

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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by MrEen »

fatso wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:24 pm
If so, that is unchecked. Should I check it?
Nope. Leave it be. There wouldn't happen to be anything close to a "Clear saved sessions" link in that same location would there?

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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by hydrurga »

Once you've exhausted Mr Een's avenue, I have a suggestion that you're going to hate me for (especially if if doesn't work).

The thing is that the underlying changes *didn't* endure reboots. There were changes caused by moving to Marco + Compton and then back to Marco + Compositing which didn't stick. So, perhaps this was caused by rebooting in the same state (Marco + Compositing) that was in existence when the session was initialised. I know that doesn't quite make sense, but if you want you could try the following:

. Change to Marco + Compton, spend a minute mucking around with resizing and moving windows etc. (just to let it bed itself in), then reboot (I know, a logout/login would probably do the trick but we may as well go all in).

. Once rebooted, change to Marco + Compositing and do the same as above.

. Once rebooted, see if you have your window buttons back.

fatso
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by fatso »

MrEen wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:58 pm
fatso wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:24 pm
If so, that is unchecked. Should I check it?
Nope. Leave it be. There wouldn't happen to be anything close to a "Clear saved sessions" link in that same location would there?
Sadly, no such monkey in my zoo.

fatso
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by fatso »

hydrurga wrote:
Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:18 pm
Once you've exhausted Mr Een's avenue, I have a suggestion that you're going to hate me for (especially if if doesn't work).

The thing is that the underlying changes *didn't* endure reboots. There were changes caused by moving to Marco + Compton and then back to Marco + Compositing which didn't stick. So, perhaps this was caused by rebooting in the same state (Marco + Compositing) that was in existence when the session was initialised. I know that doesn't quite make sense, but if you want you could try the following:

. Change to Marco + Compton, spend a minute mucking around with resizing and moving windows etc. (just to let it bed itself in), then reboot (I know, a logout/login would probably do the trick but we may as well go all in).

. Once rebooted, change to Marco + Compositing and do the same as above.

. Once rebooted, see if you have your window buttons back.
Ok, I'll give that a whirl and get back to you. Thanks to both of you for all your help thus far. :)

fatso
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by fatso »

Well, that didn't work. Can't get my desktop back no matter what I do now. Still, it was worth a shot.
I'm fried for tonight. Will have another think on it in the morning. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

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MrEen
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Re: Desktop suddenly blank?

Post by MrEen »

First thing in the morning, check for any ownership issues in your home directory with this command:

Code: Select all

find $HOME ! -user $USER
If that just returns to the prompt, there are no issues there.

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