Windows manager broken

since this morning my windows manager is broken. im using the default xfce windows manager. some wins like chrome have no border so i cant move them around. the other windows have a tiny border. cant resize any windows. workspaces dont work either. i cant even use xterm because no keyboard input. task manager also has no keyboard input.

i tried to restore the system via timeshift but that changes nothing after reboot. if i try to select another win manager in settings the dialogue doesnt come up. i can reinstall stuff via pacman but what? thunar works so i can can delete and copy stuff. otherwise im totally stuck.

somebody please help. thanks!

Hello @lilakmonoke :wink:

Logout, change to another TTY (CTRL+ALT+F3) and login there. Then create a new user

sudo useradd -m username

and create a password

sudo passwd username

Switch back the previous TTY (CTRL+ALT+F7) and try to login there. If that work, then it is a problem the configs at your home folder.

hi megavolt, thanks!

sudo died a while ago because there is something wrong with the sudoer file. i can switch to superuser with su i think.

so what would be wrong with the configs at my home folder? which file could i edit or how can that be fixed? cant i just reinstall the windows manager?

this is a really scary malfuntion on a system that was totally stable for a long time. ill write your instructions down and give it a go. thanks again …

What did you try to install?

nothing between yesterday when all was fine and today. i cant figure it out myself. i have timeshift running specifically for that case but if i restore an earlier state it doesnt do that as well. that would be the easiest solution i think as i have 19 snapshots here.

i think im making a mistake in restoring because files that i created today are still there after it. but i dont see what i could do different as its fairly straightforward. i only have 5 gig free harddisk space on my main system drive. could that be the problem why it is not restoring anything?

so i checked the dry run of timeshift and the snapshots are ok. it lists all kind of file changes. but then during the actual restore process it must terminate somewhere. it then reboots ok and nothing has changed.

the log of timeshift says:

[20:00:01] Main: check_dependencies()
[20:00:01] Another instance of this application is running (PID=1745)

any clue what that could be?

solved the timeshift mystery i think. i used the default settings which excludes /root and my home dir. so i was diligently snapshoting nothing. un-be-liev-able. im close to setting up a new system which is such a waste of time but i dont see how i can fix this. need to take a break …

That is normal, because timeshift is designed for system backups and NOT user backups.

Well then check if there is a pacsave or pacnew file. Also check if you are in the group wheel or sudo.

Yes in general it means, if the drive is full, especially on ext4 drives, you will not able to write anything and therefore the sudo command can also have a problems.

thanks a lot megavolt!. all this doesnt fix the completely dysfunctional windows manager i think. i still could try doing some of it from another login but im running an electronic music studio and right now cant do anything.

so if there is no way to restore the system i recon setting up a new system is much faster than trying to fix something that doesnt even have a functional xterm. every system crash is another learning experience :slight_smile:

one last question: what do i need to backup for this to not happen again? in other words what do i need to snapshot with timeshift. i dont want to run into this again ever. thanks again!

could be that the low disc space cause an overwrite somewhere so im going for a bigger ssd drive next.

I had a similar issue today and found a solution in this thread: Window Manager Not working anymore: Completely unusable OS

What worked for me was:

xfwm4 --replace

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