Missing main menu bar in Gnome applications

I had this problem for quite some time now.  It’s been haunting me from computer to computer and from account to account.   I went through all configuration options I could find.  I started my Gnome and GTK profiles from scratch a few times.  And nothing seemed to help.  I even abandoned Gnome over this and switched to KDE and other desktop managers for some time – that’s how annoying it was.  And the worst thing, whenever I tried to Google for a solution – a totally different problem was coming up in the search results.

The problem was that in all of my Gnome applications main menu was missing.  The menu bar, which has File, Edit, View, Help, and such – never showed up.  Be that a video player or GnuCash or anything else.   Today I finally found a solution to this major annoyance.  Just in case the original will disappear, I quote for generations to come:

The problem was not in the .gnome or .gtk sub-directories, as I suspected.  Instead two packages installed were the problem.  gnome-globalmenu-common    and   gnome-applet-globalmenu were the culprits. There are two options if these are installed.  The first is to use the applet on one of the Gnome panels either top or bottom of hte screen.  This interesting applet will insert the ‘missing’ menu bar from the currently focused application into the bar the applet is a part of.  This will be VERY handy on the netbook, where real estate is an issue. The other option is to remove them.

Thank you, Daniel and mutk from #fedora IRC channel.  You sirs have saved my sanity.

Read 21 comments


  1. thank you! I was installing random software yesterday and played with globalmenu for like 2 minutes, and didn’t uninstall it. Then today I didn’t have menus anywhere and totally missed the connection. same steps to fix as you didn’t work, and then had a hard time finiding any comments on google, except yours. thanks!


  2. I had the same problem on Ubuntu 10.04, but I never had those packages you’re talking about…
    However I suspect the problem occurred after I tried ubuntu netbook edition, so it might be still some menubar package causing problems…
    I’ll write more here when I’ll find a solution.


  3. Wow, Thank you sooo much for posting this. I just installed a new desktop with Fedora13 and was looking to find a way to replace metacity with xfwm4. I installed a bunch of packages looking for ways to do that, and suddenly I found that I was missing the menu bar. I thought it was one of my hacks. I read this article, and sure enough, I had that stupid gnome-globalmenu-common. Getting rid of that, I got my menu bars back.

    Oh, and BTW, to get rid of metacity, open up gconf-editor and go to desktop -> gnome -> session -> require_components, and change metacity to what you want. You may need to kill metacity, start your preferred WM and save session on logout, and logout.


  4. I have the same problem but just with Audacity menu bar. Audacity is the first and only software I’ve installed after upgrading to Ubuntu 10.10 netbook edition. I have neither of the applets you mentioned.

    All others applications are working fine.


  5. I am in the same boat, so to speak, Enrico. Ubuntu 10.10. Can’t find the globalmenu items mentioned but Audacity not displaying menu bar at all. I have unity installed but login settings config for Desktop Edition.


  6. I had the problem with random applications in Ubuntu and realized much..much later the problem started showing up after I installed Unity (even thought I was always using Gnome). Once I removed Unity and ran apt-get autoremove the missing menu bars started showing up.

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