How-To: Fix Gnome 3 sessions failing to start

I recently changed my LMDE repos and did a full update/upgrade/dist-upgrade – which landed me with Gnome 3… only it didn’t work, and only fallback mode was available.

Unfortunately, fallback mode isn’t very good.

When attempting to start a Gnome 3 session proper, I was getting an error message like this:

Oh no! Something has gone wrong.
A problem has occurred and the system can’t recover.
Please log out and try again.
[Log out]

Then you had to click the [Log Out] button and start a fallback mode session if you wanted to actually be able to do anything with the machine.

So, I did a bit of googling and the easiest way to fix it that I’ve found is to go to the folder: ~/.config/autostart/, create file called Gnome-Shell.desktop (the name doesn’t really matter as long as it ends with .desktop) and the put the following contents in it:

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=gnome-shell --replace
Name[en_US]=Gnome Shell
Name=Gnome Shell

BUT – for all this to work properly I had to do a little house cleaning first as I already had a “Gnome-Session.desktop” autostart item which was trying to start Gnome 2 (which isn’t even on the system anymore) and was causing mischief with the Gnome 3 session, so the safest way to do this is probably to:

  1. Create a copy of the entire ~/.config/autostart folder,
  2. Now you’ve got a copy in case things go wrong, go into the autostart folder and strip out anything you think might interfere (such as any existing Gnome-Session stuff),
  3. Add the new Gnome-Shell.desktop file with contents as above, and finally
  4. Log out then back in to a proper Gnome 3 session and you should be good to go!
Gnome 3
Gnome 3 window management is a bit different to the norm, but I'm finding it actually keeps things quite uncluttered...

I’ve got to say that apart from a few niggles (like the entire Ctrl+Delete to delete a file, Shift+Ctrl+Delete to permanently delete a file rubbish) I’m actually quite liking Gnome 3 so far – it’s a bit like Unity, but without crashing five times a day…

Not a bad start =D

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