Home Linux Tips & Tricks Reset Linux Desktop To Default Settings With A Single Command

Reset Linux Desktop To Default Settings With A Single Command

By sk
Published: Updated: 60.8K views

A while ago, we shared an article about Resetter - an application which is used to reset Ubuntu to factory defaults within a few minutes. Using Resetter, anyone can easily reset their Ubuntu system to the state when it is installed in the first time. Today, I stumbled upon a similar thing. No, It's not an application, but a one-liner command to reset your Linux desktop settings, tweaks and customization to default state.

Reset Linux desktop to default settings

This command will reset Ubuntu Unity, Gnome and MATE desktops to the default state. I tested this command on both my Arch Linux MATE desktop and Ubuntu 16.04 Unity desktop. It worked on both systems. I hope it will work on other Linux desktops as well. I don't have any Linux desktop with GNOME as of writing this, so I couldn't confirm it. But, I believe it will work on Gnome DE as well.

A word of caution: Please be mindful that this command will reset all customization and tweaks you made in your system, including the pinned applications in the Unity launcher or Dock, desktop panel applets, desktop indicators, your system fonts, GTK themes, icon themes, monitor resolution, keyboard shortcuts, window button placement, menu and launcher behaviour etc.

Good thing is it will only reset the desktop settings. It won't affect the other applications that doesn't use dconf. Also, it won't delete your personal data.

Now, let us do this. To reset Ubuntu Unity or any other Linux desktop with GNOME/MATE DEs to its default settings, run:

dconf reset -f /

This is my Ubuntu 16.04 LTS desktop before running the above command:

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS desktop
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS desktop

As you see, I have changed the desktop wallpaper and themes.

This is how my Ubuntu 16.04 LTS desktop turned out after running that command:

Reset Ubuntu Linux Desktop To Default Settings
Reset Ubuntu Linux Desktop To Default Settings

Look? Now, my Ubuntu desktop has gone to the factory settings.

For more details, refer "dconf" command's man pages.

$ man dconf

I personally prefer to use "Resetter" over "dconf" command for this purpose. Because, Resetter provides more options to the users. The users can decide which applications to remove, which applications to keep, whether to keep existing user account or create a new user and many. If you're too lazy to install Resetter, you can just use this "dconf" command to reset your Linux system to default settings within a few minutes.


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Stephen February 17, 2021 - 4:06 pm

This fix ( dconf reset -f / ) also works on Cinnamon / Ubuntu 20.1 February 2021 You just have to edit your preferences again.
Thanks very much

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