Elementary OS doesn’t allow file manager to access desktop, and the reasoning behind this approach according to dev team is a clutter free desktop. While some may agree with desktop restriction, there are probably more people who are unhappy about it. Fortunately, there is a way to enable desktop icons and also the right-click context menu on desktop to access features such as creating ‘New Folder’, ‘Copy’, ‘Paste’, ‘Change desktop background’, and more. Let’s get started.
Enabling icons and Right-click context menu on Desktop
Step 1: Install Nautilus Dconf Tools
Launch ‘Terminal’ and enter these commands one-at-a-time to install the Nautilus Dconf tools. This utility gives plenty of options to tweak your elementary OS in addition to enabling access to desktop and enabling right-click context menu on desktop.
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nautilus dconf-tools
Step 2: Configure Dconf
In the left pane, click through Org > gnome > nautilus > desktop and configure the following:
- home-icon-name: Home
- home-icon-visible: check the box
- network-icon-visible: check the box if you want this icon on desktop
- trash-icon-visible: check the box
- volumes-visible: check if you want all the hard disk partitions to show on desktop
Now let’s add the nautilus to startup:
click Org > pantheon > cerbere and add ‘nautilus -n‘ to monitored-processes.
Step 3: Launch Nautilus
Open ‘Terminal’ and type following command,
Finally, go to dconf-tools again and Org > gnome > desktop > background and check the box ‘show-desktop-icons’ box.
You should now see icons on the desktop. You will also get the right-click context menu.