Removing Ubuntu’s Unity bar

So it was only earlier this week I put together a post complaining quite openly about the ‘Unity’ shell that now comes with the latest Ubuntu releases, so I thought it was time to say how I managed to remove it and bring back a bit of sanity and usability to my Ubuntu machine.

First of all a lot of posts suggested to simply type the following into console:

sudo apt-get remove unity

Although this ran fine when it came to rebooting the machine I couldn’t sign back in, some error was thrown about “failed to load session” if I recall correctly. To get it back working again, without being able to sign in to my machine, I had to go to a virtual terminal (e.g. CTRL+ALT+F1) and perform the reverse ‘apt-get’ command, e.g. ‘install’ rather than ‘remove’.

So back to step 1.

After several other suggestions from Google search hits, I found the following to work:

In a terminal window from your desktop environment, type the following:

 sudo /usr/sbin/synaptic

This will open the Synaptic Package Manager window. From here use the search box to search for the word ‘Unity’ and notice the ~10 packages that come back with a green block beside their name. I selected these packages, right clicked and “Marked for Removal”…

Disclaimer: Save this kitten
Read the disclaimer... it may save this kittens life



(Disclaimer: It should be pointed out that YOU are responsible for your system; Operating systems are amazingly complicated and what worked for me might not work for 100% of everyone else. I’m not responsible if you follow these instructions and your computer explodes taking a small kitten with it…)





… then clicked the ‘Apply’ changes button, confirmed the changes and went for a reboot.

Signing in brought me to a desktop environment free from Unity. Also as an extra benefit it automatically brought back the old menus at the top (including clock / WiFi monitor / logout buttons etc) as well as the windows bar at the bottom. Happy chappy!

Hope this helps remove Unity from people who’re currently stuck with it

* Its come to my attention that this is only a temporary solution. However it does brings Ubuntu back to a familiar working environment where a permanent solution can hopefully be found.


Like this article?


If this post has helped you with your Ubuntu, please drop me a message below.

I read every comment and will usually reply if you ask any questions.

Plus it often helps other visitors in the future.

3 thoughts on “Removing Ubuntu’s Unity bar

  1. How can we make the Ubuntu guys really harken to what users say about that nightmare called unity? I´ve using Ubuntu since 2008 and still have the “perfect 10” (Ubuntu 10.10) installed on my main computer. Right now I´m using another computer at home with Windows XP Pro ! because again Ubuntu 12.04 is horrible with tha fixed task bar at the top, etc
    With Unity all the control, shortcuts and customization posible has gone. This is really a drawback for the entire Linux community.
    What we need is Gnome 2.x with a Unity/Windows 8 improved aspect.

    1. I wish I could just go back to the Ubuntu pre-Unity days, sadly I have a small OCD for always updating the OS when one becomes available 🙁

      Its kinda ironic that Unity has divided the Ubuntu community so much :

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *