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I have a script that kills the biggest lxpanel task on my Raspberry Pi, but occasionally it kills both tasks, which kills the menu system on the GUI.

I am using VNC to view the desktop and I have putty to create remote shells. I intend to make my script a crontab job, but that means that it does not have a "display:", so "lxpanelctl restart" will not work (cannot open display:).

So, how do I restart the GUI from a crontab job which is like doing it from a remote putty shell?

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Your cron doesn't have its DISPLAY variable set, so it simply doesn't know which display it is to restart lxpanel in.

Simplest solution:

# lxpanel restarts every day at 03:00
00 3 * * * export DISPLAY=":0.0" && lxpanelctl restart

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