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How To Completely Remove Gnome Shell from Ubuntu

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If you’ve installed Gnome Shell on your Ubuntu system and now want to remove it completely, this guide will walk you through the process step by step. We’ll use both the Ubuntu Software Center and the terminal to ensure that all Gnome Shell packages are thoroughly removed.

Quick Answer

To completely remove Gnome Shell from Ubuntu, you can use both the Ubuntu Software Center and the terminal. First, open the Software Center and search for "gnome shell" to remove related packages. Then, open the terminal and use the command "sudo apt-get purge gnome-shell" to remove the main Gnome Shell package. Additionally, you can use "sudo apt-get autoremove" to remove any additional packages.

What is Gnome Shell?

Before we dive into the removal process, let’s briefly explain what Gnome Shell is. Gnome Shell is the graphical shell of the Gnome desktop environment in Linux. It features a top bar with an Activities button, a system status area, and an overview screen for managing your running applications and virtual desktops. However, if you prefer a different desktop environment or simply want to free up some system resources, you might decide to remove Gnome Shell.

Removing Gnome Shell via Ubuntu Software Center

The first method we’ll use to remove Gnome Shell is through the Ubuntu Software Center. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Ubuntu Software Center by clicking on the corresponding icon in your dock or by searching for it in the Applications menu.
  2. In the search bar, type “gnome shell” and press enter. This will bring up a list of all packages related to Gnome Shell.
  3. Click on each package and then click on the “Remove” button.

Removing Gnome Shell via Terminal

While the Software Center is user-friendly and straightforward, it might not remove every package that was originally installed with Gnome Shell. To ensure a complete removal, we’ll also use the terminal.

Open the terminal by pressing Ctrl + Alt + T or by searching for it in the Applications menu. Then, enter the following command:

sudo apt-get purge gnome-shell

sudo is a command that allows you to run other commands with administrative privileges. apt-get is the package handling utility in Ubuntu, and purge is an option that removes the packages along with their configuration files. gnome-shell is the name of the package we want to remove.

This command will prompt you for your password. Enter it, and the terminal will begin removing Gnome Shell.

Removing Additional Packages

To remove additional packages installed with Gnome Shell, use the following command:

sudo apt-get autoremove

autoremove is an option that removes packages that were automatically installed to satisfy dependencies for other packages and are now no longer needed.

Reverting to the Default Theme

After removing Gnome Shell, you might notice that your system’s appearance has changed. This is because Gnome Shell uses the Adwaita theme by default. To revert back to the default Ubuntu theme, Ambiance, follow these steps:

  1. Open System Preferences by clicking on the corresponding icon in your dock or by searching for it in the Applications menu.
  2. Click on “Appearance”.
  3. Under the “Theme” dropdown menu, select “Ambiance”.

Conclusion

In this guide, we’ve walked through the process of completely removing Gnome Shell from Ubuntu. We’ve used both the Ubuntu Software Center and the terminal to ensure a thorough removal. Remember, it’s important to be careful when using the terminal, as it gives you the power to make significant changes to your system. Always double-check your commands before pressing enter.

If you have any questions or run into any issues, don’t hesitate to ask for help. The Ubuntu community is very supportive and there are plenty of forums and resources available online. Happy computing!

Can I remove Gnome Shell without affecting my other installed applications?

Yes, removing Gnome Shell will not affect your other installed applications. However, make sure to carefully review the packages that will be removed before proceeding.

Will removing Gnome Shell revert my system back to the default Ubuntu desktop environment?

No, removing Gnome Shell will not automatically revert your system back to the default Ubuntu desktop environment. It will only remove the Gnome Shell packages. If you want to switch to a different desktop environment, you will need to install and configure it separately.

Can I reinstall Gnome Shell after removing it?

Yes, you can reinstall Gnome Shell after removing it. Simply follow the installation instructions for Gnome Shell to reinstall it on your Ubuntu system.

Will removing Gnome Shell improve my system performance?

Removing Gnome Shell may free up some system resources, but the impact on performance will depend on your specific hardware and usage patterns. If you are experiencing performance issues, it may be worth trying to remove Gnome Shell to see if it improves your system’s responsiveness.

Will removing Gnome Shell remove all the settings and configurations associated with it?

Yes, removing Gnome Shell using the purge command will remove all the settings and configurations associated with it. However, it’s always a good idea to backup any important configuration files before making significant changes to your system.

Can I remove Gnome Shell and switch to a different desktop environment?

Yes, you can remove Gnome Shell and switch to a different desktop environment. After removing Gnome Shell, you can install another desktop environment such as KDE Plasma, XFCE, or LXDE, and then choose it as your default desktop environment during login.

Will removing Gnome Shell remove all the Gnome-based applications installed on my system?

Removing Gnome Shell will remove the Gnome Shell packages and any dependencies that were installed with it. However, it will not automatically remove all Gnome-based applications. You may need to manually remove any additional Gnome-based applications that you no longer want.

Can I remove Gnome Shell without using the terminal?

Yes, you can remove Gnome Shell using the Ubuntu Software Center as explained in the guide. However, using the terminal is recommended to ensure a complete removal, as the Software Center may not remove every package that was originally installed with Gnome Shell.

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