Ubuntu workspaces problems

This is a compilation post, for workspaces problems as I’m tired of searching for solutions each time when this hits me (upgrades etc.).

Desktop size

My personal number one. Check if your Desktop Size ain’t set to 1×1.

Compiz -> General -> "General settings" -> Desktop size

Disable Cube, enable Wall

Both are mutually exclusive, so if you can’t access your workspaces or see key bindings pressed giving no effects, that might be it.

Compiz -> Desktop -> "Cube" -> Disable
Compiz -> Desktop -> "Desktop Wall" -> Enable

Key bindings

A natural point to check: if Wall is enabled, see if keybindings are a problem. Change them to something else, see if it works.

Usual hijackers

Not so common, but no so rare: VMWare seems to hijack keyboard combo to switch between virtual machines it has. Change it’s combo (add super to it perhaps?).

You may also want to check your IDE, for some also like to use this. Though I think this would be less important and system shortcut should prevail.

Reset Unity

Default settings may help. So, to get them for Unity / Compiz, open Terminal:

# Ubuntu = 13, three commands :(
# install dconf-tools:
sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

# Resetting Compiz means resetting Gsettings (dconf):
dconf reset -f /org/compiz/

# now restart Unity
setsid unity

For clarity:

  1. unity – wrapper for starting the unity shell and handling fallback
  2. dconf – Simple tool for manipulating a dconf database
  3. dconf database – binary file (or files, if you layer prefs), with key-value pairs, optimized for reading
  4. setsid – run a program in a new session

Sources

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