Ubuntu: My dconf/gsettings installation is broken. How can I fix it without Ubuntu reinstall?


I run Ubuntu 12.04.1 LTS x64 in VirtualBox. After one very unfortunate misclick (reset saved state instead of load saved state) I got a very annoying problem.

Almost all applications (unity, synaptic, gedit, etc.) print on start:

Using the 'memory' GSettings backend.  Your settings will not be saved or shared with other applications.  

And all GUI settings reset after reboot.

Another symptom:

$ GSETTINGS_BACKEND=dconf dconf-editor  (dconf-editor:2353): GLib-GIO-WARNING **: Can't find module 'dconf' specified in GSETTINGS_BACKEND  GLib-GIO-Message: Using the 'memory' GSettings backend.  Your settings will not be saved or shared with other applications  

But /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/gio/modules/libdconfsettings.so is present.

What I tried (and it didn't help):

  • sudo apt-get install -f --reinstall dconf-tools libdconf0 libdconf-dbus-1-0 dconf-service
  • Build dconf-0.5 from sources and make install it
  • Create empty user profile and start programs there

I have to keep current Ubuntu installation so a complete reinstall is not an option for me.

How can I fix it?


I've found the solution. It appears that I got several custom-built libraries in /usr/local/lib that "shadowed" system libraries from /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/.

I discovered it by checking dynamic libraries loaded by libdconfsettings.so:

ldd /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu/gio/modules/libdconfsettings.so    ...  <  several dynamic libraries from /usr/local/lib >  ...  

It happened because of the order of search paths for dynamic libraries (defined in /etc/ld.so.conf.d/). The order was the following:

  1. /lib/i386-linux-gnu
  2. /usr/lib/i386-linux-gnu
  3. /lib/i686-linux-gnu
  4. /usr/lib/i686-linux-gnu
  5. /usr/local/lib
  6. /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu
  7. /usr/lib/x86_64-linux-gnu

So if for example you put your own libc.so into /usr/local/lib it will be loaded instead of default libc.so from /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu.

The fix:

sudo mv /etc/ld.so.conf.d/libc.conf /etc/ld.so.conf.d/xuserlocal.conf  sudo ldconfig  sudo reboot  


First check if this command returns true:

gsettings writable com.canonical.Unity.Launcher favorites  

If not, install the backend with:

sudo apt-get install dconf-gsettings-backend   

If this doesn't help either, reset your profile with:

rm -rf ~/.gnome ~/.gnome2 ~/.gconf ~/.gconfd ~/.metacity .config/dconf/*  

Afterwards reboot.


Just wanted to add my personal experience on this with ubuntu 16.10. Mine stopped working after using GNOME desktop environment for a while, and then switching to Unity to show a friend how nasty it looked (IMO :D), and back to GNOME. I then started getting the "...using memory backend...".


rm -rf ~/.gnome ~/.gnome2 ~/.gconf ~/.gconfd ~/.metacity .config/dconf/*  sudo ldconfig  sudo reboot  

Fixed it for me.


I experienced same thing in Debian Jessie. But questioner's solution (he had failed with it) was proper for my case:

 sudo apt-get install -f --reinstall  dconf-tools libdconf0 libdconf-dbus-1-0 dconf-service  

This problem had been killing me, but you saved my life, Thanks :D


I encountered the same GLib-GIO-Message when trying to use gsettings to set the Launcher position. I searched thru the forum's posts and tried the suggestions here including resetting dynamic linker configuration using ldconfig. However, all could not fix the problem.

Then Dmitry's post got me thinking to use ldd to check 'gsettings' shared object dependencies, which caused me to find out the executable I was using came from that in Anaconda's installation.

By using the version in /usr/bin resolved the issue.

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