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I'm running Mint 17 Qiana MATE on a HP250 G laptop with 4GB of RAM and Intel on-board graphics. The host OS is Mint and Windows XP runs as guest using VirtualBox with 1GB RAM and 20GB reserved hard drive space.

After working normally for a few days, the final boot process suddenly failed as follows:

The laptop boots normally to the login screen, after logging in the Welcome window appears normally but with a blank (grey) desktop behind it. I can start Firefox or HexChat from the Welcome screen and both of these display normally, but I can't see a way to open Terminal.

Where should I go from here? Should I boot from the LiveCD and try to fix it from there? I'm not sure what I did last to cause the problem, perhaps a file became corrupted? I don't have any backups as I was still getting started with my new laptop when this happened.

Further information: I started Terminal using CTL+ALT+F1 at the login screen. Looking at bash_history shows that I probably killed the desktop with the following commands:

sudo apt-get install openbox

openbox --reconfigure

Typing startx only gets me the blank desktop with the Welcome window again. Is this problem reversable?

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The MATE Desktop Manager was restored by removing the OpenBox package:

sudo apt-get remove openbox

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