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When the Xfce Desktop "Behaves Badly"

The Xfce Desktop used by Mint 13 (Xfce 4.10) apparently has an obscure bug that will occasionally cause the Desktop to mess up or “behave badly”. (On my own PC, it was months before I saw this happen for the 1st time.) When this happens, the symptoms include:

  • The minimize, maximize and close-down buttons are missing from the title bar of all windows.
  • All application windows open in the top left of the screen– usually in a smaller than expected size.

To set everything right, use the following steps:

  • Using the program Menu, open the “Terminal Emulator” window (a.k.a. a Terminal window)
  • Type (or Ctrl-C to copy, then right-click to paste) the following command into the Terminal (then press the “Enter” key to run that)
xfwm4 --replace

Note: the above command includes a “double hyphen” dash.

  • Now log out of Mint with “Save session for future logins” checked.

If the above has not fixed the problem when the system reboots, then use the following (longer) procedure:
Note: both the below commands also includes a “double hyphen” dash.

  • Using the program Menu, open the “Terminal Emulator” window (a.k.a. a Terminal window)
  • Type (or Ctrl-C to copy, then right-click to paste) the following command into the Terminal (then press the “Enter” key to run that)
xfwm4 --sm-client-disable
  • Open the Application Finder by pressing the “Alt” and the “F2” keys at the same time
  • Type (or Ctrl-C to copy, then right-click to paste) the following command into this window (then press the “Enter” key to run that)
xfwm4 --replace
  • Finally, log out of Mint with “Save session for future logins” checked.

For further information about this see: [Solved] startup xfce4 xfwm problems? & xfwm4 in Xfce 4.10 behaving badly?

Creating & Using a “Fix Xfce Desktop” Script

To create the Script that I now include on any Linux Mint 13 Xfce system I load:

From a Terminal window use the leafpad text editor to create this script file

Note: Don't worry if the Terminal indicates that gksu and/or leafpad are already installed – as this (1st) command is just to make sure that they are installed and available to use.

  • From the Terminal (“Menu” icon » Terminal Emulator) run (copy & paste) the following commands (one line at a time):
    sudo apt-get install gksu leafpad    # used to make text file editing easy
    gksu leafpad /Fix_Xfce_Desktop.sh
  • Copy & Paste the following into this empty file (then Save the file & Quit Leafpad):
    #!/bin/bash
    # Fix the Xfce 4.10 Desktop "Behaves Badly"
    xfwm4 --replace
    exit
  • Then run the following command to set the File Permissions, so that any user can run this script:
    →In the still open Terminal window run (copy & paste) the following command
    sudo chmod +x /Fix_Xfce_Desktop.sh

To use this script to restore/reset the Xfce Desktop

  • Using the program Menu, open the “File Manager”, then go to the “File System” directory.
  • Double-Click on “Fix_Xfce_Desktop.sh” to run the desktop restore/reset script.
  • Using the program Menu, select “Log Out”, then ensure “Save session for future logins” is checked when clicking “Reboot”.