Recently I have been having a very strange issue with my desktop box. After I log in (sometimes immediately, sometimes after just a few minutes), menus stop appearing. This includes the Gnome-panel menus as well as the menus in any program I may be running or the right-click context menu in Nautilus. When I click a menu, its color changes to indicate that it has been clicked like it normally would, but I don't see the menu.
If I am running any program such as Nautilus or Totem when the problem occurs, I can keep using it normally (as long as I don't need to access a menu or right-click anything), but the only way I have found to resolve the issue is by restarting X (after having installed dontzap and re-enabling the ctrl+alt+backspace shortcut).
Also-- I use Gnome-Do's Docky interface. I noticed that if I click an icon in Docky while this problem is going on, the icon grows like normal then nothing happens: the program does not launch and the icon doesn't shrink back to its normal size either.
So, this seems to be some weird problem with my desktop not refreshing or something. I do not recall making any changes recently, other than installing a few updates when prompted (sorry, I don't recall which ones, but this came up about 2-3 weeks ago).
Over the weekend I installed a host of updates (including some kernel updates and the problem seemed to go away. Unfortunately, that proved not to be the case: I'm still having the problem, although I have some more information about what seems to be going on.
It all seems to be related to an episode I had a few months ago after I inadvertently allowed my $HOME partition to fill up. I wrote about it in all its painful glory here.
Since that time everything has seemed fine, except weird issues I've been having in Banshee. I noticed after I addressed the issues caused by the full partition that whenever I launched Banshee, it would never remember my view settings (it did before the problems I had). For example, one view pane would always be reduced to about 5% of the viewable screen instead of the 60/40 split I would always use. Every time I launch Banshee the first thing I do is resize the view panes to the way I like them, but it never remembers the preference (again, it used to remember).
The display issue I wrote about in my first post seems to have started coming up after Banshee locked up when I paused a movie I was watching. I killed the program with the Force Quit applet. I think that this is when the display issues started.
As I mentioned above, the problems seemed to stop when I installed some updates (including a Kernel update). Tonight I re-installed the latest kernel through Synaptic and the issue seemed to stop again.
I'm going to play around with Banshee and see if I can cause this to happen again. What I'm wondering is whether what I'm describing about Banshee and the other issues ringing any bells to anyone. Am I touching on something here? If I am able to cause this to happen by causing a Banshee lockup again, I guess I could try to back up my banshee.db then completely remove/ reinstall the program and see if it performs normally again.