I switched back to GNOME after a while and a day using KDE, so in an effort to get some kind of desktop going (my old GConf configuration had nothing there) I went to apps/nautilus/preferences and hit the checkbox that says "show desktop." So the window list bar, on bottom panel, proceeded to fill up with file manager windows exponentially until everything else got pushed off screen. None of them would be brought up by clicking on them, and none of them showed in the terminal process manager, but it put my computer's usual temp up by 20+ degrees to have what looked like a ticker of bars so thin they had no name to them scrolling across the bottom.
What happened? I didn't use config from an old version of GNOME or anything . . .