Unity Dash not showing Applications after upgrade from 19.04 to 20.04


I’m a longtime Ubuntu (and Unity) user (12+ years).

I recently upgraded from Ubuntu 19.04 to 20.04, which I had to do because 19.04 was retired and everything was working perfectly, but when I logged back in… the unity dash cannot find any applications.

I have spent about 10 hours already Googling and trying everything I can find, including:

  • rm ~/.cache/software-center -R
  • Installing some packages with zeitgest in the name.
  • Installing, reinstalling, purging packages with unity-lens-something.
  • Validating .desktop files with desktop-file-validate

This last thing (desktop-file-validate) does give me quite a few warnings in the /usr/share/applications/ folder. However, I have tried moving that folder and creating an empty version of it (or with one correct .desktop file) and it still does not bring my apps back.

I’m under a tight work schedule as a coder who works remotely and I reaaaaallly cannot deal with this right now, since I’m more busy trying to stay employed. I can’t even use the default Ubuntu desktop effectively since it won’t let me change the screen resolution when I’m in there.

I had everything configured so well to be productive for so many years before this happened!

Any help with this will truly be appreciated.