I'm running an Archlinux system with i3 as a window manager and nm-applet does not display an icon or respond to mouse clicks. It used to in the past, and does on some other systems with (as near as I can tell) an identical setup.


  • If nm-applet is run with sudo, it does display an icon and does respond to mouse clicks.
  • If you click on where the icon would normally appear and wait for a minute or two, the list of wifi networks will appear and function as per normal until nm-applet is restarted.

When running nm-applet from a terminal as a normal user it displays (after a minute or so):

(nm-applet:1701): libnotify-WARNING **: 04:16:33.115: Failed to connect to proxy

(nm-applet:1701): nm-applet-WARNING **: 04:16:58.141: Failed to show notification: Error calling StartServiceByName for org.freedesktop.Notifications: Timeout was reached

(nm-applet:1701): libnm-CRITICAL **: 04:16:58.142: ((libnm-core/nm-setting-connection.c:220)): assertion '<dropped>' failed
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    It's a bad idea to run GUI programs as root. In particular nm-applet is not supposed to run this was, instead it uses D-Bus and gets authorization via PolicyKit. – thaller Oct 5 '18 at 6:13
  • @jasonwryan, the reason I had the archlinux tag is because people likely to encounter this issue are people who aren't running the major DE's. These users are often (but not always) arch users. So while it isn't arch specific, I think it will help ensure the right people get directed to this Q/A. Similarly, I didn't have the D-Bus tag because the people who encounter this problem aren't going to know the link between nm-applet and d-bus (nor is the problem a d-bus one). The tags were information on the visible problem, not information on the technical solution. – sdfgeoff Oct 5 '18 at 8:41
  • @sdfgeoff it's not Arch-specific, but would be relevant to any non DE environment. And the error makes it clear it is a dbus issue. – jasonwryan Oct 5 '18 at 18:00

In my case this was caused by my window manager not providing a notification daemon. As the error message shows, no service is providing the org.freedesktop.Notifications service on d-bus. In my case a service was installed but was not running.

You can test if this is the problem by running in a terminal notify-send "test" If a pop-up notification appears, then this is not the same problem you are facing. If the command hangs, then this is the same problem.

The solution is to start a program that provides the org.freedesktop.Notifications service. There are many programs that do so, and there is a list on archwiki. In my case, I had the notification service dunst installed but it was not running. Adding it to the startup applications of my window manager solved the problem.

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