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I have many users at the place I work, expressing the notion of switching to Ubuntu. Most of them, for whatever weird reason wanting to know if its possible to have refresh added when you right click on the desktop.

Is that possible?

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Refresh what? Icons, like Windows? I doubt that has any functionality in Win 7, etc. these days... – izx Jun 26 '12 at 11:55
@izx Yes, refresh icons, and the desktop. Windows 7 still has that. – Mitch Jun 26 '12 at 11:57
I know it does, but it doesn't seem to do anything :/ – izx Jun 26 '12 at 12:06
Why don't you try F5 or Ctrl+R Keys. It is better to use keyboard often. – atenz Jun 29 '12 at 10:01
up vote 10 down vote accepted

To add refresh command to right click context menu in Ubuntu 11.10 , install nautilus – refresh by running following commands in the terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nae-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nautilus-refresh

Once the package is installed, run following commands to restart nautilus or log out and log back in to see the changes.

nautilus -q
share|improve this answer
When I try the first command I get, E: Unable to locate package lineakd – Mitch Jun 30 '12 at 7:31
Can you supply a link? Everything I tried is not working. – Mitch Jun 30 '12 at 7:52
when I try to install using USC, I get an error about unmet dependencies. – Mitch Jun 30 '12 at 8:18
I updated my answer which a more simple approach.Try that instead :) – Rrjrjtlokrthjji Jun 30 '12 at 8:48
Lubuntu doesn't ship Nautilus, so I can't imagine how it works perfectly... – Radu Rădeanu Sep 21 '13 at 19:24

The default file browser in Lubuntu is PCManFM. So, if there are some possibilities to "refresh" desktop in Lubuntu, these should act on PCManFM. Thus, looking at the manual page of PCManFM (man pcmanfm), I found that running the following command(s) in terminal (lxterminal), the desktop will refresh

pcmanfm --desktop-off && pcmanfm --desktop --profile lubuntu

So far, so good; there is only left to do somehow to run this command from right click menu from the desktop. This can be done in 3 steps:

  1. Create a new small script, let say, with the following two lines inside:

    pcmanfm --desktop-off && pcmanfm --desktop --profile lubuntu

    Don't forget to make it executable:

    chmod +x /path/to/script/
  2. On the desktop, right click and select Desktop Preferences, click Advanced in the new opened window and tick Show menus provided by window managers when desktop is clicked.

    desktop preferences

  3. Using the following command in terminal:

    sudo -i leafpad /usr/share/lubuntu/openbox/menu.xml

    edit the opened file /usr/share/lubuntu/openbox/menu.xml as follow (you only have to add the bold text and to use the right path for the script created at 1st step):

  <separator label="System" />
  <menu id="system-menu" icon="/usr/share/icons/gnome/48x48/categories/applications-system.png" />
  <item label="Refresh">
    <action name="Execute">
  <item label="Log Out">
    <action name="Execute">


The result, as I tested in Lubuntu 13.04: (Make sure that you logout, and log back in for changes to take effect).

refresh desktop in lubuntu

(Sorry for the low quality of the animated gif, but I just don't have time to find something better for the moment)

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This is great. Does it only work on 13.04? I just tried it on 12.10, but no go. Any thoughts? – Mitch Sep 13 '13 at 16:53
@Mich As I said, I tested in Lubuntu 13.04. Try to play with pcmanfm --desktop --profile lubuntu, use only pcmanfm --desktop or another profile... After editing /usr/share/lubuntu/openbox/menu.xml file a re-login is required. – Radu Rădeanu Sep 13 '13 at 17:03
I hope that you don't mind, but I've added a note about logging out, and back in, because that did it on 12.10. :) +1 – Mitch Sep 13 '13 at 17:26
@Mich Of course I don't... thanks. So, now it works? – Radu Rădeanu Sep 13 '13 at 17:32
Yes it does. 12.10, and 12.04. Thanks. – Mitch Sep 13 '13 at 17:37

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