Appearance "Visual Effects" settings lost across reboots and log out / log on

Bug #500570 reported by Walter_Wittel on 2009-12-26
This bug affects 4 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
gnome-session (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Binary package hint: gnome-session

Just started noticing this recently. After a reboot Visual Effects are always reset to "None" and have to be reset manually.

Could be related to / regression of since this is a slightly newer gnome-session than the one that should have fixed this.

I haven't tried the workaround in that bug in case anyone needs more info to figure this out. Thanks.

ProblemType: Bug
Architecture: i386
CheckboxSubmission: cfdc53b1d70f7f9f23cb6e52205f433f
CheckboxSystem: b62ae224500b03a9fc2c9b6caf3feb14
Date: Sat Dec 26 09:53:44 2009
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 9.10
Package: gnome-session 2.28.0-0ubuntu5
PackageArchitecture: all
 PATH=(custom, user)
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 2.6.31-17.54-generic
SourcePackage: gnome-session
Uname: Linux 2.6.31-17-generic i686
 (gnome-settings-daemon:2049): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_propagate_error: assertion `src != NULL' failed
 (gnome-settings-daemon:2049): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_propagate_error: assertion `src != NULL' failed
 (nautilus:2080): Eel-CRITICAL **: eel_preferences_get_boolean: assertion `preferences_is_initialized ()' failed
 (polkit-gnome-authentication-agent-1:2096): GLib-CRITICAL **: g_once_init_leave: assertion `initialization_value != 0' failed
 (gnome-appearance-properties:2694): Gdk-CRITICAL **: gdk_display_sync: assertion `GDK_IS_DISPLAY (display)' failed

Walter_Wittel (wittelw) wrote :
Walter_Wittel (wittelw) wrote :

Doesn't look like much got automagically attached to this bug. Note that I have built / installed Mono 2.6 and MonoDevelop 2.2 from source along with dependencies. Let me know if you need more info (and how to collect in a way that would be helpful). Thanks.

Walter_Wittel (wittelw) wrote :

This is most definitely NOT a regression of 430981. /desktop/gnome/session/required_components/windowmanager is set correctly both before and after the reboot.

After a reboot I can fix the problem (which manifests as missing key bindings and also windows are missing the title bar and the menu overlaps the panel at the top of the screen - weird).

I can temporarily "fix" the problem by setting "Visual Effects" to "Normal" (they show as "None" after a reboot), but then after the next reboot I have the same problem. If I set "Visual Effects" back to "None" after fixing the problem windows display normally (without the compiz enhancements), but the problem always returns after a reboot.

I have found that ~/.gconfd/saved_state gets rewritten with some line diffs (I've attached a *.bad1 and *.good1 to show the file before and after fixing the problem in Appearance Preferences), but across reboots instead of a few line differences the entire file seems to be changed, so maybe this is not part of the problem.

If anyone has some ideas for what to look for I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Walter_Wittel (wittelw) wrote :

Marking this invalid because I have two other systems at same update level with no problems (one is different partition on same machine). Looks like saved state is a red herring but something is definitely messing up my compiz settings and window layout when I log out / log in or reboot. I've never tried the "convert to a question" link. Maybe that will post to the forums where I can get an answer on what causes this / fix that could also help someone else. Thanks.

Changed in gnome-session (Ubuntu):
status: New → Invalid
summary: - Appearance "Visual Effects" settings lost across reboots
+ Appearance "Visual Effects" settings lost across reboots and log out /
+ log on
Walter_Wittel (wittelw) wrote :

Just in case anyone else hits this problem, I found the cause.

My ~/.local/share/applications/ directory had a compiz.desktop file in it.

Don't know what wrote the file or tried to figure out exactly what in the file caused my "Visual Effects" settings to get messed up on login, but my other systems don't have this file and I simply renamed it to get rid of the problem.

I installed the recommended ATI video driver and would get a watermark "hardware not supported". Despite everything working (compiz) you can imagine i was not really happy. In an attempt to have the watermark removed i followed instructions to install the newest ATI driver (, that did solve the watermark problem, however left me with the problem that is mentioned here. So, not easily discouraged, found some remark about replacing the file 'control'. With that change it seems to run smoothly now, try at your own risk:

 1. installed proprietary driver from System -> Administration -> Harware driver
  this will get me the 'unsupported hardware' watermark
 2. downloaded newest driver from ATI ( and extract deb files
  sudo sh ./ --buildpkg Ubuntu/karmic
 3. took the file 'control' from it with is somewhere in subarchives
 4. used it to replace the file in /etc/ati/ (backup the original if you like)
 5. reboot

ununtu 9.10 64 bit, ati hd5770

Eden (eden-ridgway) wrote :

I have the exact same issue as that comment #3 except that I do not have a compiz/desktop file in the ~/.local/share/applications/ directory. Clearly I have something that also messes up my Visual Effects settings on login.

The workaround in comment #5 worked for me, thanks Walter, I've been grinding my teeth for a while on this.

Interestingly, even an empty ~/.local/share/applications/compiz.desktop causes the symptoms described here. With an empty compiz-desktop file, the following error message turns up in ~/.xsession-errors (and syslog):

gnome-session[6751]: WARNING: Unable to find provider 'compiz' of required component 'windowmanager'

'fraid I don't know anything about gnome-session or compiz, so I can't dig any further than this. BTW, I'm using a dual monitor set-up, in case anyone else experiencing the problem here also has.


ludo33200 (ludo-cheron) wrote :

Same as #7 : no desktop.file found
This bug has other other side effects.

1) The system/preferences/appearance visual effects always returns to "normal"
however this mode is incompatible with mozilla thunderbird causing the windows not to refresh
each time i login, i have to set up "visual effects none" to be able to read mails !

2) As connected with my user, wenever someone tries to open a new session without loggin me out, the screen session becomes unusable : the screen is messed and unusable. The only way to exit from this is a power off....

Not shure this is linked with:
I am also affected with compiz decoration bug wich imposes me to launch "compiz --replace" at startup.

Changed in gnome-session (Ubuntu):
status: Invalid → Confirmed
kurinji (kurinji-guna) wrote :

Guys I'm new to Ubuntu could anyone tell me how to fix this bugs ???

dino99 (9d9) on 2013-03-23
Changed in gnome-session (Ubuntu):
status: Confirmed → Incomplete
Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

[Expired for gnome-session (Ubuntu) because there has been no activity for 60 days.]

Changed in gnome-session (Ubuntu):
status: Incomplete → Expired
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