Ubuntu: Desktop shows a white or black background instead of wallpapers


After the upgrade from 12.10 to 13.04 my desktop background turns black after I try to set a image for that. How to fix it?

This is my desktop screen:
My desktop screen after upgrade to 13.04


I tried this and it worked!

gsettings set org.gnome.settings-daemon.plugins.background active true  


Having the same problem.

A workaround I've found through random clicking is to turn on desktop icons.

This can be done with dconf-editor or ubuntu-tweak-tool. The second is the easiest:

sudo apt-get install ubuntu-tweak-tool  

Then launch it from the menu.

Under System/Desktop Icons you'll find a toggle to enable icons on the desktop. Switch this on, and suddenly -- wallpaper! This stays there if you turn off desktop icons but disappears again on login.

I've just allowed desktop icons to stay enabled, but simply any from my desktop.


Right click isn't working for me either...cause the desktop is not handled by file manager now.

Try doing reset of dconf/unity --reset... but it makes lose all your settings...I've found one link:


Maybe this can help.

SOME DETAILS: (from link, with minor edit for clarity)

.. you can reset the settings from terminal. (CTRL+ALT+T).

or just Ctrl+Alt+F1.

"You will lose all of your settings .. even the background. .. apply the commands below one at time."

Check your spelling, and/or print this first.

gconftool --shutdown    sudo killall -r -I gconf  sudo killall -r -I dconf    rm -rf .compiz* .gconf* .config/dconf/ .config/compiz*  

Restart PC

sudo shutdown -r now  


Quick fix - install "Gnome Tweak Tool" and in the Desktop section uncheck "Have file manager handle the desktop."


Un-tick "Have file manager handle the desktop" in Gnome Tweak Tool and your wallpaper should show up again.


I got my desktop with these steps

  1. Login to Ubuntu with unity interface
  2. kill gnome-session using terminal (killall -e gnome-session). (Looks like Gnome 3 overrides Unity.)
  3. Step 2 will kill the shell.
  4. login to gnome (u might get a white desktop at this point) and use gnome-tweak tool to turn off "Have file manager handle the desktop". (Tweak Tool > Desktop> Have file manager handle the desktop-OFF).
  5. login back to Unity.

I got my desktop screen back with those steps


Right click the desktop and untick "show desktop icons" or "show icons" does that fix the wallpaper display issue? If so, go through Gconf editor to the gnome desktop settings, set draw desktop to off, reboot, set it to on, reboot, and it should work. I had the same issue


No need to turn off "Have file manager handle the desktop" or reinstall anything.

Just change theme to default, that will work until this is fixed. Ergo, change GTK theme to Adwaita (using a tool like Gnome Tweak Tool).


You need to purge the PPA from GNOME3. This is probably the issue here an update could cause the problem from this PPA.

I had similar issues for 13.04 and purging this solved it.

Open terminal & follow these steps:

sudo apt-get install ppa-purge  sudo ppa-purge ppa:gnome3-team/gnome3  sudo apt-get update  


Same thing happened to me. To resolve I removed the Nautilus (with purge to remove the configuration files), and then installed again. Problems arose broken packages, but it was enough to remove them all and install again also. I ended the session and everything was normal.


I had this problem when I installed Ubuntu-Gnome 13.10. For me, in order to use a background, I can not use the settings as they just leave me a white screen. Instead, I choose any screen I want to use with Firefox. I right click on the image and choose to use as background. This actually works with the options for stretch, fit, tile, etc.

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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