Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I've updated the system to Ubuntu 11.10 and set Gnome Shell as default GUI. Now I cannot move files from one desktop to another.

Let me illustrate this. I used to have Thunderbird maximized on desktop 1. When I create a new email and want to add attachments to it, I went to another desktop (desktop 2 or 3), grabbed the file from it, moved it to the left side of screen which made the screen rotate to desktop 1, and then just dropped the file into an email message.

Example no.2. The same procedure was when I wanted to move an open screen of some app from one desktop to another.

With this new Gnome Shell, desktops do not rotate left and right, but up and down. If I grab a file on one desktop and move it to the top/bottom, the screen does not rotate at all. Of course, the same is with the left/right side.

So, how can I made Gnome Shell rotate desktops when I touch one side of the screen (either top/bottom or left/right)? Has this been implemented at all?

PS. I know that I can move screens via desktop shortcuts. However, they are useless when I want to move files.


I found a way to move files. Grab it, move to upper left corner, navigate to the right desktop, touch some windows on that desktop to get focus and then drop the file into it.

share|improve this question
I'm not sure about gnome3, but it used to be an option of the corrosponding compiz-plugin. In ccsm you had to chose desktop-wall or expo sth. and select an option for touching an edge of your screen... – Simon Feb 10 '12 at 14:24
@Simon Gnome3 does not like ccsm as all these options are enabled, but Gnome3 does not respect them. – ubuntico Feb 10 '12 at 15:42
@ubuntico: you are using Gnome Shell. I cleared that up in my edit. Gnome 3 != Gnome Shell != Gnome 3. Unity also runs on Gnome 3. Also, please post your edit as an answer. – RolandiXor Feb 10 '12 at 15:54
@RolandTaylor Thanks. I did not know that :) – ubuntico Feb 10 '12 at 17:28
I found a way to move file, but not window. I'll edit the title – ubuntico Feb 10 '12 at 17:28
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The only way to move a window from a workspace to the other one is launching to Activities Overview, and dragging the window to the list of workspaces on the right side of Activities Overview.

You can use screen edges for desktop switching with an extension.
Here it is :
When you scroll at the right edge of your screen, desktops are switching up and down.

By default, it uses right edge of screen.

share|improve this answer
I went to this page, set ON on the left part of the screen, got a message saying if I want to install this... and now what? I touch the right edge with some window and nothing happens. – ubuntico Feb 11 '12 at 16:41
And yes, the extension is activated and either side I touch, nothing happens. – ubuntico Feb 11 '12 at 17:01
Do you mean "clicking" with the word "touch"? If so, you have to scroll, not click (or touch) – sHellboy Feb 11 '12 at 20:33
Yes, I can scroll now. But how to move a window from one desktop to another? – ubuntico Feb 13 '12 at 15:57

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.