When I try to doubleclick-execute a .desktop file it opens up the GNOME Games launcher and does nothing else. Even if i try to reset the opening application by right clicking and editing the properties, the default application still remains the games one (Icons don't work too). Executing the file via terminal, using gtk-launch filename.desktop, works fine.
Is there a configuration file that I should edit or something more to reset?

I'm working on Ubuntu 19.04 with GNOME 3.32.1

  • What is the location of the .desktop file?
    – pomsky
    Jul 16, 2019 at 17:19
  • ~/.local/share/applications and /usr/share/applications
    – user975866
    Jul 16, 2019 at 17:25
  • Let me get it right, you open on the locations in your Files application and then double-click a .desktop file. Then instead of launching the associated application, it does nothing, right?
    – pomsky
    Jul 16, 2019 at 17:31
  • Exactly, even if they are the preinstalled applications in /usr/share/applications
    – user975866
    Jul 16, 2019 at 17:36

2 Answers 2


Nautilus no longer allows the launching of .desktop files thru it. (nautilus)

The only way to double click > launch is to have the .desktop file on your Desktop. Even then you'll need to set it to allow launching, likely thru the right click context menu.

Other file managers such as nemo aren't encumbered in this regard.


Could be permissions, directory permissions, mount options.

Use my pathlld script https://github.com/waltinator/pathlld to explore your access.

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