I installed Ubuntu 11.10 alongwith Windows 7, on my laptop. It worked fine. Then I installed some Desktop Cube (maybe Compiz). When I rebooted, all I got was my desktop Wallpaper. There was no vertical bar (with tools) on the left. Also those small icons on top like WiFi, Date, Time etc on top left were missing. I tried to figure that out but no luck. Removed Ubuntu and re-installed. Again installed Desktop Cube and again the same issue. I still have Ubuntu. If this can be resolved, fine, otherwise I would uninstall it again. Any help would be appreciated. Any clarifying questions are welcome - thank you!!
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Maybe this should help you (as the user there also encountered 'blank' desktop.