I have built a new image on a RPi3B+ with Noobs using the latest Raspbian which I believe is named Buster. I uninstalled libreoffice (for space) and have installed various python libraries and the applications that they depend on, (things like openCV and tensorflow). I removed and imaged the SD card and when I put it back in and rebooted the menu bar flashes a few times and then disappears. This leaves me with a blank screen with just the wastebasket displayed and the default background photo. I am trying to get the menu bar back.
I have googled this problem and it seems common, but none of the fixes have worked. Here is what I have tried:
I have already tried rebuilding and this is the second time this has happened with a new install of Buster. The first time the menu bar disappeared when I tried to access the audio menu option.
VNC is not enabled but SSH is. I dont think this is the issue as posts on the web have only mentions vnc as the issue.
Raspbian plugins are referenced as a cause, but I have not installed any Raspbian plugins.
As per some suggestions I used Cntrl-Alt-F6 to get into a terminal and tried deleting ~/.config/lxpanel and then a reboot. This seems to have recreated the folder structure lxpanel but there are no files in it. Which seems odd.
To test what the folder lxpanel should look like I created a new user named test and assigned it to the audio and video groups. That user can now successfully run startx and see the menu. If I compare the ~/.config/lxpanel folder structure for pi and test they seem identical...no files at all found there but a structure of ~/.config/lxpanel/LXDE-pi/panels. (It seems strange to me that there is a folder LXDE-pi for the user test, but I guess the reference to pi here must not be to the username).
Some suggestions indicated this issue is related to access to audio (and it is interesting that the menu on a previous image disappeared when I tried to access audio options. So I removed pi from the audio and video groups and added back but that didnt work.
I need the pi user working as various code needs to run as that user. Any ideas how to get the menu bar back for my pi user?