I have encountered that issue related to disappearing launcher, dash, places etc.
Upon forums searches, I did unity reset by trying several commands posted in this regard; however, I got back my dash, launcher and places, BUT
All documents and files simply gone, seems like I have installed fresh copy of ubuntu (13.04).
Apps are there, but all configurations has been reset also.
For example, Virtualbox is there, but my virtual machine simply vanished and I just trying to find out WHERE IS MY .VHD file?
Please help and advice.