Ubuntu sidebar and top bar disappeared? Here’s how you can bring them back

While researching on Unity-related problems, I've observed several users getting an issue where - after logging in - they don't see anything on desktop (no sidebar, top bar ... nothing), just the wallpaper. Worse, pressing Alt+Ctrl+T doesn't bring up the terminal window as well.

Gladly, I also found a couple of solutions to this problem, which I'll be sharing with you all here. The aim is to help those who unsuccessfully faced this problem in the past or are currently struggling with this issue. Of course, there's no harm gaining this knowledge if you haven't encountered such a situation yet.

So, coming to solution-1, which is to turn the Unity plugin back on. The steps mentioned in the following screenshot explain how you can do that:

Bring Ubuntu sidebar back

If the aforementioned instructions don't work, then here's the second solution:

Launch a tty terminal by pressing ctrl + alt + f1. Once in that terminal, run the following set of commands in the same order as listed here:

sudo rm -rf ~/.cache/compizconfig-1

sudo rm -rf ~/.compiz

sudo rm -rf ~/.Xauthority

sudo dconf reset -f /org/compiz/

setsid unity

sudo reboot

If the first solution didn't work, then this one should definitely work. In case you used a different solution to resolve such an issue, share that with us in comments below.

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12 thoughts on “Ubuntu sidebar and top bar disappeared? Here’s how you can bring them back”

    • Neither worked for me either. Loading the settings master got hung at loading icons, and sudo dconf couldn’t auto launch without an X11 display. Not sure why on either account…

  1. A huge thank you for this help!! Your first method helped me 3 months ago (Jan 2019) and it worked beautifully. So even though this was originally posted 2 years ago, it’s still a great rescue strategy, if you need help like I did! I wish I could buy you a beer to say thanks! 🙂

  2. Not pretty as had to hard terminal (ctrl-alt-f1) and prepend ‘dbus-launch’ before these commands
    * sudo dconf reset -f /org/compiz/
    * setsid unity

    and got core-dumps but after reboot side-bar and top menu reappeared in Ubuntu 16.04

  3. No launcher after installation of 18.04. At my wits end after following this and several related posts.
    Attempting the second group of commands resulted in the ~ (tildy) as an invalid character.
    Thanks anyway

  4. I started with the second approach, but encoutered some errors so decided to turn to the first one.

    After ccsm started, unity and opengl plugins were already enabled. I disabled them, agreed to disable also all dependent plugins, closed ccsm.
    Then re-opened ccsm and enabled both unity and opengl.

    It helped! Thanks.

  5. I have the menu bar but I don’t know with witch method: I was looking to see it within the window insead of out the window.


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