Elementary OS with right-click context menu on desktop
Elementary OS with right-click context menu on desktop

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
Terminal elementary OS - apt get install
Terminal elementary OS – apt get install

Step 2: Configure Dconf

dconf-editor

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
dconf editor - nautilus
dconf editor – nautilus

Now let’s add the nautilus to startup:

click Org > pantheon > cerbere and add ‘nautilus -n‘ to monitored-processes.

dconf editor - pantheon - cerebere
dconf editor – pantheon – cerebere

Step 3: Launch Nautilus

Open ‘Terminal’ and type following command,

nautilus -n

Finally, go to dconf-tools again and Org > gnome > desktop > background and check the box ‘show-desktop-icons’ box.

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dconf Editor - show desktop icons
dconf Editor – show desktop icons

You should now see icons on the desktop. You will also get the right-click context menu.

Elementary OS with right-click context menu on desktop
Elementary OS with right-click context menu on desktop
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mrbean
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mrbean

does this work on 0.4 Loki?

MaxTwax
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MaxTwax

Yes. But i dont know how to switch icon text color.

crazykp
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crazykp

I am not getting cerbere in my dconf editor
any fixes

Michael
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Michael

neither am I, all I see that begins with a ‘c’ is capnet-assist

Conor
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Conor

I found it under org > pantheon > desktop > cerebre and made the same changes. Didn’t work at first, but I ran nautilus -n in terminal again and it worked

Suman
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Suman

This solution works only as long as the nautilus -n is active in the terminal. When you close the terminal it goes back to square one. Is there any other way to make it stay permanently?