A recent upgrade from 7.10 to 8.04 was stalled and a restart did not help things. After the restart, I updated all packages via Synaptic. Update Manager recognizes the OS as 8.04.

The problem:
When I log in, my desktop does not show any wallpaper (black background) and there are no icons on the desktop (there are items in the Desktop folder).

Makeshift solution:
At the command prompt, I type the following;
nautilus &

I did this because I was told that Nautilus handles the display of the desktop.

My Question:
i) where can i find the upgrade log
ii) what file contains the list of programs/services that are to be run every time the system is started. (if you can elaborate on the steps or point me in the direction of a detailed description, that'd be great)
iii) should i place nautilus in ii)? That seems like a hack to me...

Your help is greatly appreciated!