Upon updating to WordPress 3.2 this evening, I was afraid the “Refreshed Administative UI” was a bit more radical than I had hoped. The left side bar of collapsible menus was missing. Some of the functions had moved to the top admin bar as detailed in the update’s entry in the WP Codex but it did not nearly compensate for accessing all of the original functions. Thankfully, I found the problem was not permanent and was caused by an installed and activated plugin: WP-Insert.
By deactivating the WP-Insert plugin, the dashboard will regain the sidebar and look much more normal. However, deactivating the plugin is no easy task given the sidebar’s disappearance. Your options include using FTP access to rename the wp-insert folder in the wp-content/plugins directory or accessing the plugins page directly by entering the page’s URI in your browser: YourSite.com/wp-admin/plugins.php
The plugin has not been updated in a while and does not claim to be compatible with WordPress 3.2. It seems the developer is active at their own website, so perhaps an update will be released soon.
You can deactivate the plugin and have the sidebar but less control over ads or insert ads but no admin dashboard sidebar. Anybody have any alternatives to WP-Insert in the mean time? I am not using the dynamic features that much, so I will probably just end up insert the code directly into my theme.