Annoyingly, I somehow managed to get the main application menu bar at the top of my classic 11.04 Ubuntu desktop to disappear. Be it from a corrupt panel entry or an accidental deletion, the fact of the matter was that the entire top menu bar panel had disappeared, rendering the workstation just about useless – and simply rebooting the machine wasn’t bringing it back.

Without the menu items, basic GUI-driven tasks become pretty impossible, so the easiest way to recover from this situation is simply to restore the system panels back to their default state. To do this, launch a terminal by pressing Ctrl+Alt+t.

Once open, enter the following lines to delete the current panel setup and force a restart of the gnome-panel service:

gconftool --recursive-unset /apps/panel
rm -rf ~/.gconf/apps/panel
pkill gnome-panel

Your top and bottom panels should now reappear, albeit in their default install state.

Doesn’t matter, at least I can use my machine again! :)