Adding Custom Icons and Disabling Desktop Icons In Gnome

By | 2008/06/19

A few of us were discussing minimal desktop environments the other day and I was reminded of the olden days when I used XFCE.  I really liked the clean interface which did not display any desktop icons by default.  Looking back on that I was reminded that it is an option available in Gnome as well, so here is how to do it.

Disable Desktop Icons In Gnome

A lot of Gnome configuration is done via the gconf-editor.  I’ll outline how to do this manually and graphically, including a command you can use to activate it from the shell.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  Do you prefer icons or not?  They always seem like clutter to me.

The graphical method of stopping icons from displaying on your desktop is as follows:

Alt-F2 "gconf-editor"

Navigate to “apps > nautilus > preferences” and on the right-side look for “show_desktop”.  Toggling this will toggle, in real-time, the icons from being displayed on your Desktop

This setting can also be achieved by entering the following command at your shell:

gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop --type bool 0

and to revert these changes set the bool to 1:

gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop --type bool 1

Activating Additional Icons

A second, similar setting is to disable mounts from being displayed, or adding the “Computer”, “Home” or “Trash” icons to the desktop.  The graphical method of displaying the additional icons is as follows:

Alt-F2 "gconf-editor"

Navigate to “apps > nautilus > desktop” and select the boxes “computer_icon_visible”, “home_icon_visible”, “trash_icon_visible”.

Disabling the display of mount points (CDs, USB drives, etc) is done by deselecting the “volumes_visible” option.

Again, these can also be toggled by way of the following commands:

Activate Computer Icon

gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/desktop/computer_icon_visible --type bool 1

Activate Home Folder Icon

gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/desktop/home_icon_visible --type bool 1

Activate Trash Icon

gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/desktop/trash_icon_visible --type bool 1

De-Activate Volumes

gconftool-2 --set /apps/nautilus/desktop/volumes_visible --type bool 0

5 thoughts on “Adding Custom Icons and Disabling Desktop Icons In Gnome

  1. Vadim P.

    I prefer the icons on, but keep the amount of them down to a minimum.

  2. Brian White

    This was a great tutorial. I’d always wondered how to do this, especially since I’ve come to prefer the non-Computer/Home Folder ways of Ubuntu, and now I know how to achieve this in Fedora as well! Thanks!

  3. RogerT

    Thanks! I was searching all over for this, and you sent me to just the right place.

  4. Tohya

    I’ve got some Icons that are custom that I would like to use instead of the ones provided. I have Ubuntu Tweak which is a very handy program but I still can’t figure out how to do apply my custom Icons. Could anyone tell me how to do this?

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