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My PC runs Linux Mint 18.2 xfce, and has done so without a hitch for about 4-5 months or so. Today, I rebooted the PC, and on boot it displayed the Ubuntu splash saying Ubuntu 18.2, rather than the Mint splash I was expecting. I'm aware that Ubuntu 18.2 doesn't actually exist, which makes this even more confusing.

The log-in screen looks the same as usual (looks like xfce Mint is supposed to look), but upon logging in, I found myself faced with a desktop that looks like Ubuntu/Unity. As far as I can tell by just clicking around, the system seems to be fully functional, and all my files and folders are in their normal locations. It's just that everything looks like Ubuntu.

I've never seen this before, and apart from 1 thread on the Linux Mint forums from 2014, which ended in the user reinstalling Mint, I've not been able to find anyone with this problem. As a result, don't know how to fix this.

I do not have the option to choose a desktop on the login screen. I rebooted, verified I'm booting from the correct partition, yet the issue persists.

This system is a dual boot with Windows 10, but I've not set up the bootloader to support that. i.e. I have to tap F8 during boot if I want to boot into Windows.

Things I did prior to reboot which might be related:

Set up Ubuntu server 16.04 in a virtualbox. The ISO for this install resides on my normal system, where it has been for a while, but I'm positive I installed it in the Virtual Machine. There's no chance I accidentally installed it on my normal system, because I was watching YouTube videos while the VM was busy installing Ubuntu. I also verified that Ubuntu Server has been correctly installed to the VM, and it would be highly unlikely if not impossible for it to be accidentally installed to 2 partitions. Also, the Ubuntu/Unity desktop environment does not come with Ubuntu server, as that is terminal-based.

I installed RVM package manager, and got an error for missing dependency g++. I tried to install g++ using apt, but got more missing dependencies.

This is when I decided to reboot the system, to see if that would work.

Would the issue be resolved by removing/purging RVM again? I'm a bit hesitant, as I don't want to completely bork the system.

What I think might have happened is that somehow a unity desktop was installed (or activated) during the attempted install of RVM, or during a different activity (although I wouldn't know which activity could have caused that; I didn't do anything unusual as far as I can remember). I am, however, unsure if that's even possible, let alone how to resolve that.

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    Watching a video doesn't really tell you where you installed Ubuntu because your main system would not have been affected until you reboot. That's the logical explanation for what happened. And if you were watching a video, perhaps you were distracted and more likely to make a mistake or not observant of the visual clues during installation. – fixer1234 Nov 30 '17 at 20:38
  • Fair enough, but I double-checked, and Ubuntu Server has only been installed to the VM. In addition, even if I had accidentally installed Ubuntu to my existing partition, the splash during boot shouldn't say Ubuntu 18.2, as Ubuntu 18.2 does not exist and can therefore not be installed. Also, installing Ubuntu to my active partition would not have left all my files and software intact. – Tijmen Dec 1 '17 at 16:00
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I finally figured it out with some help from the Mint support IRC. What happened was this:

In order to install RVM, I added a new PPA, so I would get the newest version of RVM.

By installing from this PPA, several aspects of my DE were overwritten. Notably the window manager and the panel settings.

By re-installing the correct 'mint' packages using Synaptic package manager, I was able to get the windows to look like Mint again. In addition, I manually added a new panel, configured that to be positioned at the bottom of the screen and included the 'whisker menu', which is Mint's default menu. I then also manually added the other panel apps to be the way I wanted them. Then, I removed the two panels that had been added when the DE changed. My PC now looks the way it ought to. As far as I can tell, no functionalities have been broken and it appears to be just as fast as usual.

The issue here was entirely in the visual desktop environment and separate from the actual OS, as confirmed by running inxi -Fxxxrzc0 which told me I'm still on Linux Mint 18.2, and had not switched to Ubuntu.

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