Gnome startup/gconfd errors

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The Issue

If ubuntu is not booting all the way to login, and is giving various errors related to gnome component configuration files, then this wiki may help solve the issue.

Overview of the procedure:

  • First, make sure the main partition is not full. If it is, then backup/remove some files and try a reboot and work from there
  • Check to see if the gconfd server is running. If not, then try the next step.
  • Backup and delete the gconfd 'saved_state' file. This may be keeping gconfd from starting properly.

First make sure the disk is not full

open terminal and run:


output should look like:

Filesystem           1K-blocks      Used Available Use% Mounted on
/dev/sda1             5148288   3670952   1217412  76% /
tmpfs                  1046856         0   1046856   0% /lib/init/rw
udev                   1023448        24   1023424   1% /dev
tmpfs                  1046856         4   1046852   1% /dev/shm

if the main partition (ie. /dev/sda1) is 100% full, then some files need to be backedup/removed before anything else can be done. Make space on the partition, and check to see if the machine starts up. If no startup, then please fix issue and post steps to fix here.

If the drive is not full, proceed to next section

Check to see if gconfd-2 is running

Gconfd is the daemon that manages gnome configuration settings. These are instructions to check if the gconfd server is running. If the server is not running, the next section gives instructions to help it start on reboot.

run in terminal:

ps aux | grep gconfd

this prints running processes using ps, and then filters them using grep to return matches to the phrase 'gconfd'

output should look like:

1013     10036  0.0  0.1   4592  2580 ?        S    09:57   0:00 /usr/lib/libgconf2-4/gconfd-2
1014     10206  0.0  0.1   4588  2564 ?        S    10:00   0:01 /usr/lib/libgconf2-4/gconfd-2
tech3    10924  0.0  0.1   4480  2548 ?        S    11:06   0:00 /usr/lib/libgconf2-4/gconfd-2
tech2    12352  0.0  0.1   4480  2552 ?        S    12:36   0:01 /usr/lib/libgconf2-4/gconfd-2
tech2    14534  0.0  0.0   1804   636 pts/5    S+   14:35   0:00 grep gconfd

gconfd-2 is the gconfd server. This is the process that should be running. Ignore 'grep gconfd'.

If you see that gconfd-2 is running, then this wiki may not help you; see the external links at the end for insight into the problem, and update this wiki.

If gconfd-2 is NOT running, then try next step

Reset gconfd 'saved_state' file

These instructions will backup and delete the gconfd 'saved_state' file. This may be keeping gconfd from starting properly.

the file is located in:


use mv to backup/remove the file to saved_state.bak[date]:

mv ~/.gconfd/saved_state ~/.gconfd/saved_state.bak[date] (put today's date in place of [date])

Reboot, and see if issue still persists

External References

RT: #26349: Nancy Chevalier