Ubuntu : Fix for Unable to start the settings manager ‘mate-settings-daemon’. 12

Well, its no surprise after Ubuntu 12.04 came out, many wanted the old gnome2 like interface back. Some would have tried the gnome classic option in 12.04, or some like me would have tried installing mate – the original fork of gnome2 project.

Chances are there with multiple WMs running, your Mate will have problems applying themes. And when you launch the System->Preferences-Appearance you would get an error message as shown below.

Unable to start the settings manager ‘mate-settings-daemon’.
Without the MATE settings manager running, some preferences may not take effect. This could indicate a problem with DBus, or a non-MATE (e.g. KDE) settings manager may already be active and conflicting with the MATE settings manager

Fix is simple and its explained in these posts http://forums.mate-desktop.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=175 and https://github.com/mate-desktop/mate-session-manager/issues/2.

Backup the below files before editing them.

user@computer:$ cd /etc/xdg/autostart
user@computer:$ sudo vi gnome-settings-daemon.desktop

#Replace the contents to the one as shown below.
[Desktop Entry]
Name=Mate Settings Daemon

#Next file

user@computer:$ sudo vi mate-settings-daemon.desktop

#Replace the exec line as shown below
Exec=/usr/bin/mate-settings-daemon –no-daemon &

Now save these files and reboot. Note: I have not tried to check if other WMs (classic, unity) will work after applying the above method, so try it at your own risk. For now I only needed MATE to be a ‘working’ desktop manager.

12 thoughts on “Ubuntu : Fix for Unable to start the settings manager ‘mate-settings-daemon’.

  1. Pingback: Error Starting Gnome Settings Daemon | labarana.com

  2. Reply Jack Roberts Apr 22,2015 6:25 pm

    Removing the non-English names worked for me with Linux 17.1.


  3. Reply acerimusdux Aug 5,2013 10:57 pm

    I think the problem isn’t in “gnome-settings-daemon.desktop” it’s in “mate-settings-daemon.desktop”.

    The above works OK as a hack, but you are better off editing the mate-settings-daemon.desktop file instead. There’s an error somewhere in all the name[]= statements for the various languages, causing the rest to fail. I just deleted them all, and everything now works fine. No need to touch gnome-settings.

    Changing settings within Mate now works as well (it will still give you an error if you edit gnome-settings instead).

    My file at “/etc/xdg/autostart/mate-settings-daemon.desktop” now looks like this:

    [Desktop Entry]
    Name=MATE Settings Daemon

    • Reply Tom Apr 1,2014 1:48 pm

      @acerimusdux – thanks for that tip, simply deleting non-English name statements (and rebooting) worked for me too on Mint Petra (16) Mate. (owing to the apparent need for a reboot I didn’t bother trying to narrow down the problem any further)

      • Reply beekay Dec 18,2014 1:59 am

        Removing non-English names (plus reboot) worked for me under Linux Mint Debian, thank you so much!

  4. Reply clerk Jun 8,2013 9:59 am

    Work like a cham. Thank you very much 🙂

  5. Reply Kop Dec 16,2012 2:53 pm

    I followed all instructions but found no solution. Finally I disabled autologin, then it worked.

  6. Reply Enila Dec 3,2012 1:32 pm

    Great ! Thank you.

  7. Reply peej Sep 22,2012 1:17 am

    Great thanx – works well

  8. Reply Trans-Clown-o-Morph Aug 7,2012 12:37 pm


    many thanks for this information. It helped me to fix this issue. But instead of changing the whole configuration of “gnome-settings-daemon.desktop” and risking the loss of functions in Gnome and Unity ( I also didn’t test this, but I still wanted to have Gnome and Unity working after the change) I just added “MATE”:


    This works well with my Ubuntu with Gnome, Unity and Mate.

    I hope this is helpfull

  9. Reply seba tur Jul 26,2012 2:25 pm

    thx for the hint

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