Ubuntu: There was an error starting the GNOME Settings Daemon.

“Some things, such as themes, sounds, or background settings may not work
correctly.” blah blah blah

There were several posts on the web but none of it could get me my Ubuntu working. What i suspect is that this is a very generic error message and this could come so many ways.

My scenario

Worked seemlessly till i configured wireless for my boreadband internet. What followed is a long delay in starting GNOME and it would eventually start after 10 minutes displaying the above message in a message box.

Problem/ Diagnosis
I suspect two problems,

1) Since i configured for Wirelss through the GUI tool that come with Ubuntu Hardy as default, the entry for my lo/loopback in my /etc/network/interfaces file got displaced.

Many client server processes which run on the same machine, like some of them which GDM makes use of, needs a loopback reply from the same machine to proceed. Since the entries in the /etc/network/interfaces got screwed up, they wait infinitely to startup and result in long delays for timeout.

2)The other problem i discovered is that i cant ping
– pluto(which is my hostname)
– localhost

This is because of the fact that interfaces ‘lo’ or ‘localhost’ was not configured in /etc/network/intefaces.

Please check the command
#ifup lo

When i did it i got the error message,
Ignoring unknown interface lo=lo
If you get this error make sure that you make sure that you configure your interface settings in your /etc/network/interfces file correctly before proceeding any further.

This clearly shows that the interface for lo is not configured.


1) The solution is to feed in entries in /etc/network/interfaces for localhost and loopback.
So there would be two configuration in your /etc/network/interfaces.
One is the configuration for localhost/loopback interface and other is your wireless broadband.

It should look like this.

#vi /etc/network/interfaces

# The primary network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# Wireless interface
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet dhcp
wireless-key 123456789
wireless-essid Arun

2) The next step is to provide values in the hosts configuration file.
arun@pluto:~$ cat /etc/hosts localhost lo pluto

3)Check whether lo is pingable.
arun@pluto:~$ ping lo
PING localhost ( 56(84) bytes of data.
64 bytes from localhost ( icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=0.039 ms
64 bytes from localhost ( icmp_seq=2 ttl=64 time=0.040 ms

4) If the ping does not work,bringup the lo interface manually
#ifup lo

5) Restart the networking settings
arun@pluto:~$ sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart

Make sure that you run the networking services cron during the startup to get your wireless broadband connect.



28 thoughts on “Ubuntu: There was an error starting the GNOME Settings Daemon.”

  1. COOL~~~~~i am suffering the same question~~~because of my modifying the interfaces setting~~~
    now ,i know how to solve it,Thx!XD

  2. Hi, it worked! (i was two weeks struggling with this).
    My problem was similar and many administrative tools were failing as well.

    The hint came when I checked that I was not able to ping hyperion (my machine). If it helps others, I was able to solve it from the Graphic Interface :

    * System -> Administration -> Network -> General -> Host name : hyperion

    did not coincide with any hosts in

    * System -> Administration -> Network -> Hosts

    Then, I just added “hyperion” as the alias of IP

    and it worked. Thank you very much again,


  3. Got the same error too. But I can ping localhost, and went through the entire sequence of network initialization, but after I logout, and login again, the screen appeared again upon login.


  4. Many many thanks for your help. I had same message anytime after login, and printing hung as well as my “root”-Term and some of the applications as well.
    Now anything is up and running!

  5. I also have the same problem before. My PC need to have dual IP with different gateways. After reading some suggestions in this blog, I solve my problem. Here’s the configuration of my interfaces before:

    auto lo
    iface lo inet loopback

    iface eth0 inet static

    auto eth0

    iface eth0:1 inet static

    auto eth0:1

    …and here’s my new interfaces (working)

    auto lo eth0 eth0:1
    iface lo inet loopback

    iface eth0 inet static

    #auto eth0

    iface eth0:1 inet static

    #auto eth0:1

    …please note that I add eth0 and eth0:1 at the first line then I put a# sign after each gateway…just want to share. tnx

  6. I’m very glad to have found this information here. You helped me solve my problem. Thank you very much.

  7. Thank you so much Arun. This very problem was driving me nuts. Of course it was my fault for messing around with /etc/network/interfaces and I inadvertently killed the loopback interface. Once I fixed it, viola! Gnome started right up. I may have to come all the way to India to buy you a drink. 😉

  8. This solution has proven very valuable to me, not only did it fix my problems with the GNOME settings deamon, it also fixed another annoying issue:

    I have an HP Laserjet 1300n attached to my computer (by USB).

    In recent months, when ever I print it takes for ever (several minutes) before the print actually starts – before then, Gnome has warned me, that the printer may not be connected.

    This issue was also solved by the above hack.

    Keywords: hp laserjet ubuntu not connected slow delayed print

  9. hey,

    thanx a lot.. problem solved.. but the desktop still doesn’t show any icons… any idea y?

  10. I used the info from this site to fix this problem once and it recurred after a major update to Ubuntu 8.04.2 in July ’09. Not only that the the system took a performance hit all around! I had all the settings as shown here but still the problem persisted. In desperation I booted into ‘recovery mode’ and ran “gnome-config” at the command line in desperation. Ubuntu reported it was not installed. I installed it, rebooted and the gnome error message as described in these posts disappeared while the performance came back to normal. Thought I’d post in case anyone else has this issue.

  11. Hi,just discovered your Blog when i google something and wonder what hosting do you use for your web site,the speed is more faster than my wordpress, i really want to know it.will back to check it out,many thanks!

  12. Thanks !!!. That was my problem too!! after I intaled wifi from a BROADCOM chip in Lenny!. Thank You!!.

  13. I had a very similar problem, the difference being that I had the loopback interface correctly configured. Only thing is: my iptables configuration was too tough, and I forgot to open traffic between loopback and loopback!

    Everything works smoothly after adding to my iptables script:
    iptables -A OUTPUT -s -d -j ACCEPT
    iptables -A INPUT -s -d -j ACCEPT

    Thanks for this page, that put me on the right track to understand the origin of my problem !


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