A few weeks ago I bought an SSD because they were on sale. After backing up all my data and setting up my data HDDs, I installed my OSes. Windows installed fine, and so did Ubuntu – at least that was what I thought.

After restarting from the install, I was dumped into a Windows-95-esque GNOME environment. No matter what changes I made to my appearance settings, I could not get any themes to load. After hours of troubleshooting, I found the problem to be a startup application known as gnome-settings-daemon. It is responsible for loading the theme and environment settings on startup. It turns out that the application starts too early and bails on the OS. It seems that SSDs are too fast for the way GNOME was designed!

There is no proper fix at this time, however you can add a delay so that the app starts later in the load sequence. To do that, edit the file /etc/xdg/autostart/gnome-settings-daemon.desktop and change line 4 so that it reads (exactly as below):

Exec= bash -c “sleep 2; /usr/lib/gnome-settings-daemon/gnome-settings-daemon”

You must be root to make this change, so you could run a command such as:

sudo gedit /etc/xdg/autostart/gnome-settings-daemon.desktop