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

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/.*

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{ 15 comments… add one }
  • Paul September 8, 2012, 3:52 am

    Thank you…. this procedure fixed my problem …

  • NormK January 10, 2013, 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


  • Uriah April 19, 2013, 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.

  • RedCent November 29, 2013, 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.

  • vikranth June 18, 2014, 12:49 pm


    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.

    • Fela August 7, 2014, 9:18 am

      Please try and run this command # restorecon -v / (this should restore all the settings in the root). I hope it helps

  • Jogeshwar August 6, 2014, 7:11 pm

    Run the below command to fix this.

    chmod -R 777 /var/lib/gdm
    chown -R gdm:gdm /var/lib/gdm

    • Fela August 19, 2014, 10:42 am

      I just typed the command below and all went well:

      restorecon -R /

  • Latif December 5, 2014, 6:36 am

    Thanks a lot, you saved my day……….:)

  • spensor26 May 16, 2015, 1:29 am

    After I petition my head drive and reboot the system I got the same message

  • Bill W June 1, 2015, 8:35 pm

    I received the same error as well after logging into my graphical desktop, and found that my ~/.gconf had a different UID than the one displayed when running the ‘id’ command. I understand what caused the UID mismatch; changing my ~/.gconf using chown -R login_id ~/.gconf fixed it.

  • spensor26 January 10, 2016, 1:56 am

    Hi Guys,
    How can are install Eclipse Mars on Web logic, or fix it? it is so slow, very slow.

  • Dennis April 25, 2016, 3:05 pm

    Thanks, this helped me!!

  • Saket April 26, 2016, 11:02 am

    Worked like a champ..Issues on /temp directory’s permissions.. :)

  • ila July 7, 2016, 6:19 am

    Thanks. this worked for me.

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