I am having trouble logging out and shutting down normally using the Gnome 3 desktop interface. This is what I was shown on random occasions when I turn on the computer:


The arrows point to where things are not normal. Right clicking the dropdown arrow on the system top bar produces the half-hidden "spanner" instead of the user menu. As for the "cog", it is always visible on top. I have tried looking into journalctl for warnings, but there isn't any that I could find that is relevant to the desktop.

Also, I didn't do any customization to my desktop. I know how to log out and shut down with linux terminal. I am looking for solutions to the graphical issue. Any ideas?


I found I few lines which may be related to the display (drm is the display rendering manager). But I have seen this even when the display is normal. So, I am not very sure if it is useful:

kernel: fb: conflicting fb hw usage inteldrmfb vs EFI VGA - removing generic driver
kernel: [drm] Supports vblank timestamp caching Rev 2 (21.10.2013).
kernel: [drm] Driver supports precise vblank timestamp query.
kernel: [drm] Wrong MCH_SSKPD value: 0x16040307
kernel: [drm] This can cause pipe underruns and display issues.
kernel: [drm] Please upgrade your BIOS to fix this.
kernel: fbcon: inteldrmfb (fb0) is primary device
kernel: i915 0000:00:02.0: fb0: inteldrmfb frame buffer device
kernel: [drm] Initialized i915 1.6.0 20080730 for 0000:00:02.0 on minor 0
kernel: [drm] Enabling RC6 states: RC6 on, RC6p off, RC6pp off
  • Are you sure this isn't just an overscan issue with the display? askubuntu.com/questions/4358/…. It's likely not since you were able to capture it with a screen shot but thought I'd double check. – slm Mar 1 '14 at 16:10
  • Does this happen with any DE? Did you tried shutting off/on the monitor? – Braiam Mar 7 '14 at 15:39
  • @Braiam, I only have Gnome installed. Turning the power/on off button makes no difference. – Question Overflow Mar 8 '14 at 4:53

From the GNOME3 FAQ in the ArchLinux Wiki:


Gnome 3.10 UI elements scale incorrectly

With 3.10 Gnome introduced HDPI support. If your displays EDID info does not contain the correct screen size, but the resolution is right, this can lead to incorrectly scaled UI elements. As a workaround you can open dconf-editor and find the key scaling-factor in org.gnome.desktop.interface. Set it to 1 to get the standard scale.


The OP provided the following info regarding the monitor.

It's a Philips LCD SXGA17", specifically It says 170B7CS/69

After a bit of research I found these 2 URLs for that product family.


This issue if not resolved by the above method of setting the scaling-factor, may be an issue of the monitor not correctly adjusting its overscanning correctly. You can typically force a monitor to auto sync, usually through the menus on the monitor itself.

Based on the manual this monitor has an AUTO button which might resolve this issue.

Compatible modeline

You can confirm that your video card is using a compatible resolution for this monitor. Again according to the manual the following is recommended.

Recommended video mode for Philips 17": 1280X1024 @60Hz

You can confirm this is what you're driving the monitor with using xrandr.

$ xrandr -q
Screen 0: minimum 320 x 200, current 1440 x 900, maximum 8192 x 8192
LVDS1 connected primary 1440x900+0+0 (normal left inverted right x axis y axis) 303mm x 190mm
   1440x900       60.0*+   50.0  
   1024x768       60.0  
   800x600        60.3     56.2  
   640x480        59.9  
VGA1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
HDMI1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP1 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
HDMI2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
HDMI3 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP2 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)
DP3 disconnected (normal left inverted right x axis y axis)

Make sure you're driving it with the correct interface (VGA, HDMI, etc.) as well. The above output is from my Thinkpad T410 laptop, so your's will be different. You'll want to make sure that your resolution is being driven at 1280x1024 @ a 60Hz refresh rate. The line with the star (*), tells you which mode is currently in use. This is what my default is:

   1440x900       60.0*+   50.0  
  • Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I don't have dconf-editor, but I think I can use gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.interface scaling-factor instead. My current normal display value is uint32 0, not 1. Will check back again to confirm with you whether value 1 works when the display goes rogue again. Thanks. – Question Overflow Mar 2 '14 at 2:47
  • @QuestionOverflow - yeah that should work as too. I'll be here let me know either way so we can look for alternatives if need be. – slm Mar 2 '14 at 2:49
  • I managed to test this today. All the parameters in org.gnome.desktop.interface remains intact when the display went rogue. Changing the scaling-factor from 0 to 1 has no visible effect on the display. – Question Overflow Mar 5 '14 at 2:24
  • @QuestionOverflow - does you monitor have the ability to auto scale the signal it's receiving from your video card? occasionally monitors require being sync'd with the video signal. Can you please confirm this? – slm Mar 7 '14 at 15:42
  • I am not sure. How do I check this? Other programs like FireFox are displaying normally. Only Gnome desktop UI is giving me problem. – Question Overflow Mar 8 '14 at 4:55

I used successfully the following workarounds on ASUS X51RL laptop:

  • For the login display going rogue, I deleted /var/lib/gdm
  • For the gnome desktop interface problem, I added the following instructions at the end of the ~/.xprofile file :

    xrandr -s 1280x720
    sleep 1
    xrandr -s 1280x800

It appears necessary to change the resolution, with a one second delay, to get rid of the problem. In my case, 1280x800 is the correct resolution.

  • Can you explain what is the impact of deleting gdm? – Question Overflow Apr 19 '14 at 4:16
  • Also, there is no hidden .xprofile in my home directory. Can you paste the details of that file here? Thanks. – Question Overflow Apr 19 '14 at 4:18
  • I can't tell exactly the impact of deleting /var/lib/gdm but didn't noticed any harm (except some config reset like favorites in the left desktop tool bar). It is automatically re-created on next reboot. It did solve 2 problems I encountered : the one you mention and a gnome crash on startup after playing with the zoom (see this thread, post #160 [bbs.archlinux.org/viewtopic.php?pid=1402503]). As for ~/.xprofile, you can create it from scratch if it does not exist and add the suggested code above (see [wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/xprofile]) – hutou Apr 19 '14 at 13:12
  • The rogue problem hasn't come back for quite a while. I will try your solution next when it occurs and feedback you again. There are a couple of files in the gdm folder. If you can help pin-point the relevant file would be nice. Thanks. – Question Overflow Apr 20 '14 at 4:42

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