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[ubuntu] just updated linux/ubuntu, don't like new desktop configuration

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linux-howto

http://ubuntuforums.org – I just updated (without knowing much about what I was doing) linux, and ubuntu from 10.04 to 12.10 (I think). I now have a working extended desktop, which was my original problem, but I have a new desktop configuration that I do not like. I have a series of icons, which get in the way, down the left side of my main monitor, and nothing in the top bar. With the old configuration, I had a few drop down menus along the top, which I much prefer, as there were some useful things (can't remember what they were called) that I don't seem to have any more. Does anyone know what I'm talking about, (Hardware)