What happened to my GNOME/Ubuntu?

Good afternoon. My name is Dave.

Yesterday, I was researching around the web for a guide on how to administer a lock screen setting on any given computer.

I came across your guide at : https://help.gnome.org/admin/system-admin-guide/stable/desktop-lockscreen.html.en

After performing the steps within the guide, I ran the command “sudo dconf update” because I was not using the root user ( mistake? )

I rebooted my computer a short while later and noticed that my user name was switched from “dave” to my full name which was odd.

Also, my desktop is different. Many apps are not running when they ought to be, I have been logged out of many web pages that I use daily, and I am unable to configure any settings within terminal preferences or even the gnome-control-center. For instance, I am unable to show/hide dock or move it to the right side of my monitor. All of my settings are grayed out and anything not grayed out, does not save when I change those settings.

I am willing to chalk this up to be due to my inexperience with gnome ie: “sudo” dconf update. However, I am need of assistance from you all specifically as nobody at my work nor fellow everyday linux user friends( online or personally known ) can troubleshoot my issue successfully.

Please help!

Thank you.

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I’m guessing, but you’re probably running one of the older Ubuntu releases like 18.04 LTS, which keep the value of $HOME across sudo invocations. This may result in root-owned files being created in your user’s home directory. If the dconf database becomes owned by root, then no application running in your regular user account can access it.

To fix, sudo chmod -R $user:$user ~/.config/dconf. And don’t use sudo dconf again.

Thank you for your reply. I will not use sudo dconf update ever again :slight_smile:

As far as fix, I swung a large hammer at the problem before your response and removed the dconf directory from /etc/ … After rebooting, the problem was resolved. I can now configure settings and things seem to be back to normal. It’s probably not the right solution but things are back to normal.

Are there ramifications from removing the dconf directory?

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Are there ramifications from removing the dconf directory?

On my Ubuntu 20.10 /etc/dconf/ has some subdirectories and files related to ibus, with comments saying “This file is a part of the IBus packaging and should not be changed.”

I would be tempted to restore them via apt install --reinstall -o Dpkg::Options::="--force-confmiss" ibus, lest some input methods (e.g. the Emoji entry via Ctrl+Shift+E) stop working right.

Thank you! You have been so helpful. I appreciate you taking the time to help with this. I was so close to reinstalling Ubuntu from the flash drive.

Many thanks!

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