When the Gnome2-Nautilus
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if I revisit this page.
On about 24 May 2017, I was working on my desktop computer which has the old 2009-era Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic Koala) operating system installed.
Suddenly my Cyberpower UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) let out a constant squeal and my computer and monitor (which were plugged into the power supply) shut down.
I could not get the power supply to restart by pressing the power on-off button, so I got a Cyberpower UPS power supply from another computer in the house --- a computer that I do not use much (a backup computer). In this case, that computer provided a backup UPS.
When I got power back and started up my computer, the Ubuntu desktop started up ... BUT none of the icons showed up on the desktop.
Those who know about the Gnome 2 desktop environment know that, typically, 3 drop-down menus are available from the 3 options
that are typically available on left of the Gnome panel, which is typically positioned at the top of the monitor screen.
When I clicked on the 'Places' option, a drop-down menu of my favorite directories appeared ... BUT when I clicked on any of the directory names, the Nautilus file manager GUI did not start up (positioned at the selected directory). A busy indicator (a circle with some rotating tic marks in it) appeared for about half a minute and then disappeared --- whenever I would click on ANY of the directory names.
The options in the 'Applications' and 'System' menus were working --- but not the options (directories) in the 'Places' menu.
It was a relief to know that I could start up various user applications and system utilities. In other words, a lot of things were working and a lot of files were not corrupted.
Since I was aware that the Nautilus program controlled the icons on the desktop as well as presenting the file-manager GUI whenever needed, I suspected that the 'nautilus' program was failing to start up whenever I logged in.
Luckily, some of my 'app' icons on the top panel were working, such as the 'Terminal' icon that started up the 'gnome-terminal' program.
I was able to start up a terminal and issue some commands like 'ls' and 'cd' to see that I could access files in my home directory and in operating system directories such as '/usr' and '/bin'.
What a relief that was to see that my file systems were still there --- and accessible.
If I remember correctly, the icons of the little applets (speaker-control, network-manager, date-time-calendar, and shutdown/switch-user/logout options) DID appear on the right of the top panel of the Gnome desktop.
So I could do things like establish a network connection (to my wired ethernet network) and shutdown gracefully. AND I could 'switch user' after I used the 'adduser' command to make a second user to see if Nautilus started up OK for that user. (That would indicate that the problem was a corrupted file in one of the Nautilus configuration files of my original userid home directory.)
In fact, I was able to start up my favorite web browser, Seamonkey --- for sure via the new userid that I created and by a login as that user --- and do some Google searches on keywords like
gnome nautilus not working
Some of the 'hits' that I looked at suggested that the users were getting 'segmentation fault' messages from Nautilus.
I probably could have used a command like 'dmesg|head -100' or 'dmesg|grep fault' or 'dmesg|grep -i nautilus' to see operating system messages from the startup sequence --- including nautilus or segmentation fault messages.
I actually issued the 'nautilus' command in a terminal window and saw the error messages including:
Initializing nautilus-gdu extension Segmentation fault
Since I was using an old 'Gnome 2' desktop with 'Nautilus 2.28.1' --- instead of the newer Gnome 3, I started doing searches on keywords like
Then, instead of newer 2015-to-2017 'hits', I got more hits in the 2009-to-2012 time frame of my Ubuntu 9.10 (2009 October) operating system.
One of the first 'hits' that I looked at was the 2016 case of a user who ran out of space on his disk drive. It turned out that he could solve his problem by deleting (or renaming) a file
under the '.config' directory of the user's home directory.
I tried that (and logged off and logged back on), but it did not work for me.
To make a long story short, I found a 2010 ubuntuforums.org link that indicated that a file or files in the
directory of my home directory was/were probably corrupted --- AND I could simply delete (or rename) the 'gvs-metadata' directory to allow Nautilus to startup at login.
So I went to the '.local/share' directory to rename that directory --- and, lo and behold, I found that I had renamed that directory before. I had renamed it to 'metadata_OLD2012nov15'.
Apparently something like this had happened to me back in 2012, and I had performed this fix once before.
Solution: (for my case)
This time I renamed 'gvfs-metadata' to 'gvfs-metadata_OLD2017may24' --- in the directory $HOME/.local/share.
Sure enough ... when I logged off and logged back in, my icons showed up and the 'Places' menu worked.
WHAT A RELIEF!
Someday I may look at the many (144) files in the 'metadata_OLD2017may24' directory to see if I can see which file(s) were corrupted.
For now, here is a list of 30 files in a 'healthy' circa June 2017 $HOME/.local/share/gvfs-metadata directory.
And here is a list of 211 files in the 'corrupt' $HOME/.local/share/gvfs-metadata_OLD2012nov15 directory.
And here is a list of 144 files in the 'corrupt' $HOME/.local/share/gvfs-metadata_OLD2017may24 directory.
Note that there seem to be pairs of files --- one being a '.log' file. Examples:
computer: computer:-1e3cfc77.log home home-caf82e6e.log root root-98611861.log trash: trash:-a2f15771.log uuid-1633409a-0d66-4eb1-8ecf-999bf2f2ead0 uuid-1633409a-0d66-4eb1-8ecf-999bf2f2ead0-45365244.log
One 'anomoly' that I see in the two 'corrupt' directories is that there are extra 'home' files --- in the 'OLD2017may24' corrupted directory:
home home-b2829197.log home.NEL9WW home.PBKK0Y
and in the 'OLD2012nov15' corrupted directory:
home home-751d033e.log home.26ZQRV home.47GWQV home.X88QNW
These are all 'binary' files --- even the '.log' files. So they are not readily 'human-readable'.
It may be that each pair of files corresponds to a file-system that was mounted at some time.
Perhaps removing some or all of the 'home' files would have sufficed to fix the problem. I will probably never know.
It turned out that I had mentioned the possibility of files in the '$HOME/.local/share/gvfs-metadata' directory becoming corrupted --- on my Linux installs to a '/apps' directory page --- which also had a link to my Gnome Guide by Blaze page where a Nautilus desktop-icons problem related to the '$HOME/.config/user-dirs.dir' file was discussed.
Those pages of mine did not discuss details of problems related to the 'gvfs-metadata' directory. So I decided to start this page, and put it on my 'RefInfo > Computer' menu page --- so that I am a little more likely to find this information --- if I ever need it again.
If you have problems (like those described on this page) with the MATE desktop environment and the Caja file-and-icons management program, you can probably fix the problem by renaming a 'gvfs-metadata' directory. BUT ...
I know that the MATE developers have changed the location of some of the Gnome 2 configuration files. So the 'gvfs-metadata' directory may have a slightly different name, and it may be in a different subdirectory of the home directory.
Hopefully, the MATE developers have consolidated the location of most of the configuration files under one directory like $HOME/.mate.
I know that Gnome 2 configuration files were scattered among subdirectories of the user's home directory such as:
If I install Ubuntu-MATE (or LinuxMint-MATE) in the future --- to upgrade my Ubuntu 9.10 Gnome2-Nautilus installation on my main desktop computer, then I may add notes here about the configuration directories and files of the MATE-Caja environment.
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Page was created 2017 May 26.