I came from Xfce, switching to Gnome. When I opened Nautilus I missed my Desktop icon:

Nautilus with missing Desktop Icon

I was able to add it as a bookmark but this puts it down in the bookmarks section. I was wondering if there is a way to get it back as in another user's account on the same machine (see below).

Nautilus with present Desktop Icon

The Videos/Music/Pictures icons may be missing because I deleted the folders they point to (recreating them didn't bring the icons back). But the Desktop folder is still there.

I found some bookmarks locations in my home, but none of seems to contain those special bookmarks showed at the top in the location side bar.

Any idea how to get the icon back?

Update: I found out, that I can control appearance and paths of the icons in the space's sidebar (that's the name of the desired icons) by editing ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs. There also existed an entry for Desktop. I can edit it and it some effect (e.g. give my Videos folder the icon of the Desktop). But the icon still does not show up!

1 Answer 1


The Desktop icon showed up finally, when I set the dconf path /org/gnome/desktop/background/show-desktop-icons to true (I disabled it with intention before).

This setting controls whether on the Desktop shows the files in the Desktop folder. But I seems also to control the appearance of the Desktop icon in the spaces side bar for whatever reason.

I wouldn't call it a proper answer to my question, but I think that's the best I can do at the moment.

  • 3
    Same with dconf-editor, Tweaks or gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.background show-desktop-icons true Nov 25, 2019 at 14:52
  • I have /org/gnome/desktop/background/show-desktop-icons checked true in dconf, but my desktop is 100% empty, showing 0 of the files or folders in ~/Desktop
    – Lexible
    Mar 27, 2020 at 3:09

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