How to Fix Lost Launcher and Desktop on Ubuntu 14.04
Logged into your Ubuntu 14.04 computer and all you see is the desktop background and can’t do anything? Thinking that you have to totally wipe everything to fix? Think again. I found the solution.
After much time and fear that I was going to have to spend time backing up stuff via live boot disk or command line, I thankfully came across this post showing how to do it but the solution was actually found deep in the comments by a chap named Daniel. Here is Daniels solution and I have added one more tip at the end and added my comments in [comment brackets]:
NOTE: after all this is done, you might want to uninstall gnome-panel because you don’t need it anymore with:
sudo apt-get remove gnome-panel
But if you are too busy like me, you just have to remember that when you hit your login screen at the reboot at the end, that you have to switch back to unity or it will be ugly again.