Linux Gnome: gconf-sanity-check-2 Exited With Status 256 Error and Solution

by on July 18, 2012 · 5 comments· LAST UPDATED July 18, 2012

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When I try to login into my Linux Gnome based desktop system, I get the following error from GDM :

gconf-sanity-check-2 exited with status 256

How do I fix this problem?

If you see an error about gconf-sanity-check-2, apply the following solutions (note you may need to apply all the solutions):

Fix #1: /tmp permission

You need to make sure /tmp permissions are with the sticky bit mode. An access-right flag on /tmp can be set as follows.
# ls -ld /tmp/
Sample outputs without sticky bit:

drwxr-xr-x 27 vivek users 12288 Jul 18 15:20 /tmp/

Set the correct permission and stick bit as follows (run it as root user):
# chown -R root:root /tmp
# chmod 1777 /tmp

Verify new permissions:
# ls -ld /tmp/
Sample outputs:

drwxrwxrwt 27 root root 12288 Jul 18 15:25 /tmp/

Fix #2: /home permission

Make sure /home has correct permission set. A typical set of permission looks as follows on /home
$ ls -ld /home/
Sample outputs:

drwxr-xr-x 4 root root 4096 May  5 16:29 /home/

If permisions are not as above set it as follows (run it as root user):
# chown root:root /home
# chmod 0755 /home

Try rebooting the system after applying above two solutions. If you still getting the message, empty the gdm home. Run it as root (this for gdm3):
# rm -rf /var/lib/gdm3/.*
For older gnome version (gdm 2) try:
# rm -rf /var/lib/gdm/.*

References:
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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Paul September 8, 2012 at 3:52 am

Thank you…. this procedure fixed my problem …

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2 NormK January 10, 2013 at 10:37 pm

I had a hard crash on a Centos 6 VM under VirtualBox.
Fix #1 worked for me and also found that my .ICEAuthority file in /var/lib/gdm was corrupted. It was the most recent file that changed since the crash. So I moved it to .ICEAuthority.tmp and rebooted. Everything came up great and my desktop settings were intact. I also had the error about the gnome power manager failing so I ran:
yum remove gnome-power-manager
yum install gnome-power-manager

Thanks!

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3 Uriah April 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Another problem is one of your directories under /etc/gconf may be missing some entries that are cached under /var/lib/gdm. The sanity check compares the settings under etc with the cached values, and if they are different will throw this error.

Example: manually removing /etc/gconf/gconf.xml.mandatory folder will cause that exact error as well; especially if you had settings in this folder prior to the error.

Running gconftool-2 to update/unapply the current config should help as well.

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4 RedCent November 29, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Thanks for the fixes. I was knockng out my RHEL with a rm -rf /tmp/. Because of your solution everything is fine without reinstallation.

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5 vikranth June 18, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Hello,

While I was working with my oracle linux image (under virtual box). I changed permissions of root by mistake. (I typed chmod -R 777 / ).since then my imag is not opening and I’m unable to find a solution to fix it. Can you please help me.

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