I'm running Debian Wheezy using gdm3 as window manager and xfce4 as desktop environment.

Every so often, when I login, the desktop environment starts OK, but all windows are missing the title bar and are positioned at location (0,0).

Usually logging out and back in, or restarting gdm3 and logging in, fixes it, but today it didn't. I switched to 'GNOME classic' which works fine, indicating it's probably a setting in xfce4 that's got corrupted.

Short of just zapping every file in .config/ and .cache/ which refers to xfce, is there a simple fix/edit?

  • 2
    Sounds a bit like xfwm crashed and never got restarted. – jw013 Jul 25 '12 at 13:12
  • Is there a log file to indicate why it's crashing (or failing to start)? – StarNamer Jul 25 '12 at 22:41
  • That would probably depend on your set-up but ~/.xsession-errors might have something useful, or maybe the /var/log/Xorg.*log files. – jw013 Jul 25 '12 at 22:47
  • nothing obvious in ~/.xsession-errors' but simply restarting xfwm4` from a terminal seems to fix it (even across logouts/logins). – StarNamer Jul 26 '12 at 21:50

Xfce's window manager crashed for some reason and the simple fix is to run xfwm4 in a terminal.

If you can't do it in X (because, e.g., the panels/menus are unavailable, Alt+F2 doesn't work), switch to a virtual console (e.g. Ctrl+Alt+F2), login, and type DISPLAY=:0 xfwm4 --daemon.

(Use Ctrl+Alt+F7 to switch back to X.)

  • That was @jw013's answer (in a comment) but he never posted it as an answer, so, while correct, I cannot give you credit for it. – StarNamer Aug 19 '12 at 22:01
  • I'm sorry, AFAIK, the convention is to provide solutions as answers, not comments. – K3---rnc Aug 20 '12 at 8:58

Same thing happened to my wife's xfce machine, which I fixed by deleting some file under .config/xfce4 but when I lost all my title bars on my machine today I couldn't remember which one.

Just read the post above, so opened a terminal and typed:


everything came back :-)

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