How to install classic gnome desktop in ubuntu 12.04 (Precise)

This tutorial will explain how to install classic gnome desktop in ubuntu 12.04.By default ubuntu 12.04 loads in to unity desktop some of the users didn't like unity desktop so they want to get back the old classic gnome desktop.

Install classic gnome desktop in ubuntu 12.04

Open the terminal and run one of the following commands both does the same

sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback


sudo apt-get install gnome-panel

Once you install the classic gnome desktop you need to logout from the existing session.Once you are at logon screen click the option to change your session then choose Gnome Classic to logon

Once you logged in you should see similar to the following classic gnome desktop

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37 Responses

  1. Taxwork says:

    Thanks. Appreciate having the option to use Gnome

  2. billisnice says:

    I need a bottom panel or some intuitive way to see what programs are open. I could have a bank account open and not know it.

  3. minnesotajon says:

    I’d like to recommend Xubuntu instead of Ubuntu. The XFCE desktop is very similar to the classic Gnome desktop, and much more usable and configurable than Unity. You get panels — more than one, if you want. The whole thing is very configurable, and since Xubuntu is an official Ubuntu project, you get all the benefit from the Ubuntu backend development.

  4. ys999x says:

    I pre-installed Gnome 3 because I cant stand Unity; I would still recommend adding Docky but I have not had a chance to check that it is fully functioning with Pangolin; I found this useful for the Gnome 3 bit; plus shells if you want to get that involved;

    Good luck Pangolateers!

  5. alvin b. says:

    Thank you!

    Unity is terrible. I wouldn’t use Linux at all, especially not Unity, if it weren’t for some Android development I need to do that can’t be done on Windows. At least I can reduce the nightmare of Unity.

  6. saltuka says:

    I agree unity is terrible but there is option to disable it which is great. I personally think linux is better then windows in many aspects. Especial being a software developer you will quickly discover as you get used to it..

  7. dona says:

    Installing gnome-panel alone doesn’t solve the issues with unity. For example you still cannot have notifier icons on the top bar for e.g. skype and cannot add easily another applet to the same bar (e.g. system monitor). You cannot modify the them of the window and move the buttons on the top right corner for example. I installed ubuntu 12.04 3 days ago and I am very disappointed with the lack of features of unity with respect to the old gnome 2 bundled in ubuntu 10.04lts. Hope they will fix all these issues soon.

  8. minnesotajon says:

    Xubuntu is working well for me — the Xfce desktop is very conventional, like Gnome2. If you are unhappy with Unity and if you have a spare PC, I recommend that you install Xubuntu and see for yourself.

  9. gibahca says:


    ALT+Right click — Add to Painel — Windows List

    And you will be able to see programs opened.

  10. floorripper says:

    where is the System tab, from the top gnome pannel pleas?

  11. Noddy says:

    Alt + Tab to switch between applications does not seem to work. Any ideas how to fix this?

  12. Noddy says:

    floorripper, The two main items that were under the System menu are now found under the Applications menu: Applications -> System Tools

    You will find Administration and Preferences here.

  13. Wurzelmann says:

    You have to install Compiz and turn it on there, see this site for instructions:

    Worked for me!

  14. Nullcall says:

    tx its realy very nice solution without override anything in system… 😉

  15. Tom Bush says:

    This worked a treat, thanks. My Ubuntu laptop (HP 550) is pretty old, but I didn’t expect the performance improvements me to be quite so impressive when I switched back to good old plain Gnome… it’s like going back to XP after Vista.

  16. Arun says:

    Thanks a lot for the solution .. thanks very much .. me feel ubunthu classic is easy to use and few of my colleges has also same opinion.Once again thanks very much for this useful information

    and one thing is that it not work first .. its an 11.04 version .. then fisrt type sudo apt-get update and after run the command given ( sudo apt-get install gnome-panel ) then work ..

  17. lev says:

    Thanks a lot. This post is a lifesaver for me. Ubuntu 12.04.1

  18. pete says:

    Thanks very much for this. The ‘add launcher to panel’ option in Gnome is so useful, I’ll probably stick with gnome for ever. The Open Source community is good, isn’t it 🙂

  19. ndmaque says:

    thanks a million, i just got my life back

  20. pete says:

    It would help if you told ‘victims’ of the weird 12.04 desktop how to open the terminal, since there are no icons or menus visible when i upgraded to 12.04.

    Remedy – CTRL ALT t

    opens the terminal

  21. wijit says:

    This tutorial didn’t work for my Acer TravelMare P243-M-32372G50Makk laptop. I had this instead:
    wijit@wijit55:~$ sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback
    [sudo] password for wijit:
    Reading package lists… Done
    Building dependency tree
    Reading state information… Done
    Some packages could not be installed. This may mean that you have
    requested an impossible situation or if you are using the unstable
    distribution that some required packages have not yet been created
    or been moved out of Incoming.
    The following information may help to resolve the situation:

    The following packages have unmet dependencies:
    gnome-session-fallback : Depends: gnome-session-common (= 3.2.1-0ubuntu4) but 3.2.1-0ubuntu8 is to be installed
    E: Unable to correct problems, you have held broken packages.
    And now I couldn’t go beyond this point as I was worried that the system is going down and couldn’t continue my works. Any suggestions would be appreciate. Thanks.

  22. Atha says:

    The first one worked for me

    sudo apt-get install gnome-session-fallback

    Thanks a lot!

  23. galactusX says:

    XFCE is okay but I cannot stand the mouse icon etc.

  24. Jong says:

    Ubuntu should top using unity. It is horrible. I like classic UNIX desktop.

    Why are they doing that?


  25. jon says:

    I still can’t edit the panels, like I could in 100. example(right click on bars and click properties, to set the color, position, ect?) This is what is so annoying about unity

  26. Ben goldsmith says:

    sudo apt-get remove gnome-session-common

    Then try again that should do the trick, although I’m not sure as I am quite new to this my self… but worth a try, it should work as the old one will be removed then you “should” be able to install the new one 🙂

  27. Ashwin says:

    VMWare’s Unity does not work with the default Unity of Ubuntu’s 12.04.. And so, I had to fall back to GNOME2 for several reasons (not just VMWare Unity).

    Unity is somewhat annoying. With GNOME 2 (Classing Gnome) applications and folders can be sorted and accessed through a simpler interface. It’s very easy.

  28. dmon66 says:

    I found these steps also work with server, however, the order would be:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install xinit
    sudo apt0get install gnome-panel

    I’m in the process of recording all the details and this might be covered elsewhere, just a heads-up…

  29. dmon66 says:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install ubuntu-desktop
    sudo apt-get install gnome-panel

  30. Andy says:

    Thank you!

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