Have you done too many customizations and turned your Gnome Linux desktop ugly or broke something? No worries! You can always reset Gnome desktop settings to default in Linux as described here.
I have a habit of changing the look and appearance of stock GNOME desktop environment. I often install many themes, change the icon theme, cursor theme, colors, and move the topbar to different position etc. After completing the customization, I mostly end up with either an ugly desktop or broken desktop. If you're anything like me, don't panic! Resetting GNOME Linux desktop to its factory settings is easy!
Reset Gnome desktop settings to default in Linux
We can rest the Gnome desktop settings to its default state using dconf command line tool or using Gnome Tweaks graphical application. First, we will see the command line way.
1. Reset Gnome desktop settings to factory defaults using dconf
The dconf program is a low-level configuration system and settings management tool to manipulate a dconf database. It performs various operation on a docnf database, such as reading and writing individual values or entire directories. The main purpose of dconf tool is to provide a back end to GSettings on platforms that don't already have configuration storage systems.Dconf is part of Gnome 3 and is replacement for Gconf.
To reset a Gnome desktop back to stock using dconf, simply run:
$ dconf reset -f /org/gnome/
This command will reset all customization and tweaks you made in your Gnome desktop system, including the following:
- the pinned applications in the Dock,
- favorite items,
- desktop panel applets,
- desktop indicators,
- your system fonts,
- GTK themes,
- icon themes,
- cursor themes,
- icon themes,
- shell theme,
- monitor resolution,
- keyboard shortcuts,
- window button placement,
- background and lockscreen images,
- mouse settings,
- custom keyboard shortcuts
- power settings.
It not just resets the Gnome desktop settings, but also any application that stores its settings using dconf from /org/gnome, such as Gnome Terminal, Disks, Files, Software and many. It also resets all shell extension settings and disables any non-default Gnome shell extensions.
Good thing is it will not delete any personal data and applications settings that doesn't use dconf. After resetting Gnome desktop settings to the default original state, log out from the current session and log in again to see the changes.
You can also use dconf to backup the current Linux desktop system settings and restore them after doing a fresh installation. For more details, check the following guide:
2. Reset Gnome desktop settings to factory defaults using Gnome Tweaks tool
Some of you may not comfortable with command line way. This is for those who prefer GUI over CLI. We can reset Gnome desktop settings to its stock settings using a graphical application called Gnome Tweaks.
As the name implies, Gnome Tweaks is a graphical application to configure application settings in Gnome 3. Even though Gnome Tweaks is exclusively made for GNOME desktop, it will work on other desktop environments as well. Only a few features will be missing when Tweaks is run on a different desktop.
Gnome Tweaks is available in the default repositories of many Linux distributions.
To install Gnome Tweaks on Debian-based systems, run:
$ sudo apt install gnome-tweaks
To install Gnome Tweaks on Redhat-based systems, run:
$ sudo dnf install gnome-tweaks
After installing Gnome Tweaks, launch it from Menu or Application launcher. Click on the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) on the top. Click "Reset to defaults" option to reset your Gnome desktop settings to factory defaults.
Next, click OK to reset all tweak settings to the original default state.
That's it. Log out from the current session and log back in to use the stock Gnome desktop.