I got back into using Linux Mint Cinnamon not too long ago (Good bye, Windows! Hello, Mint 17) (the installation on a computer with NVidia I should write about since that’s it’s own fun mess), but like any piece of complicated software, it has its bugs. One of the more annoying bugs is when the menu panel / menu bar on the bottom (equivalent to Window’s Task Bar) just so happens to lose all of its text and icons…
Or at least everything but a select few items disappear, such as the “Start” or main menu icon and the notifications icon. Those things seem to hang around for me at least.
But before we jump to the solution, you have to know what problem you have specifically. If your entire windows/menu/GUI system freezes (i.e. if the entire Mint Cinnamon desktop has frozen), then the solution you need is to restart it. For this, check the top two answers here:
However, if your problem is like mine (where all of the tabs in the Cinnamon menu panel / menu bar are blank and there is no text), the simple solution is this:
- Right click on the desktop and select, “Open in Terminal”.
- Type in the following command:
That’s it! After a few seconds, you should see things reload. The best part about this is that none of the programs you have open will be closed. You’ll be able to continue working as normal.
The command “cinnamon –replace” basically removes the old Cinnamon “desktop” and starts a new one. I don’t know why the command isn’t “restart”. That would make more sense since “replace” seems to imply the old one is kept around and stored somewhere (which it isn’t) and I imagine most people are going to try “restart” first or will be looking for something labeled “restart cinnamon” online.
Causes of the issue: I don’t know. It seems to happen most when I use Firefox or graphics-intensive programs (Gimp, Inkscape, etc.), but that may be a coincidence.
If Menu Panel is Always Blank
If the problem you’re having is that the menu is always blank, even after rebooting the computer, you might need to reset everything, in which case try this:
gsettings reset-recursively org.cinnamon
Info taken from a help file on the community website for Linux Mint.
Other popular links:
If Menu Panel is Merely Unresponsive
If the Cinnamon menu panel itself is simply unresponsive in that clicking the tabs and such is not working, then the menu may be in edit-mode. To turn off the menu panel edit mode:
- Open the System Settings. You can do this by right clicking on the menu panel / menu bar on either the “Start” or “Menu” button or somewhere on the far right (with all of the system tray icons) and select “Configure”. Regardless of the window it opens, there should be a button for “All Settings”, which you should click, and it will take you to all settings.
- From the System Settings menu, select “Panel” under the “Preferences” section.
- In the Panel settings, click the check-box next to “Panel edit mode” if there is an “x” in it. You want it off. If there is no “x” (i.e. it isn’t checked), then you have a different problem.
If Menu Panel Is Gone
Another problem with the menu isn’t really a problem with the operating system: It’s a setting that has been changed, perhaps on accident. Restarting Cinnamon won’t restore the menu. The Mint menu panel is actually an applet that can be turned on and off in your system settings, so if your menu panel happens to be simply gone, you need to turn it back on again. This doesn’t seem straight-forward since obviously you usually have to reach the system settings through the menu, but like every solution, you can load the system settings GUI via the terminal. I’ve given the solution below. I have checked all but the last step (which I’m sure does work without testing it).
- Open the terminal. To do this, right click on the desktop and select “Open in Terminal” from the menu.
- Enter the command “cinnamon-settings general” and hit Enter. This should load a general settings panel from which you can reach the other system settings.
- Click the “All Settings” button at the upper left part of the GUI.
- Find and click the “Applets” setting, which is in the “Preferences” section.
- Find “Menu” in the list of applets and activate it. It should be labeled “Main Cinnamon Menu” in the sub-heading. There should be a green button next to it. If there isn’t, you know that the menu is off. Right click anywhere on the row for the “Menu”, which should bring up a tiny list of options, one of which allows you to add an instance or turn on the menu.
And viola! The menu should be restored. The menu applet is read-only, so you won’t make the mistake of accidentally removing it from the settings panel.
I presume that the menu panel can be deactivated if you would rather add and use a different kind of menu, such as a Mac-esque dock.