If I insert a flash drive and try to drag any files onto desktop - nothing happens.

Or from any other folder.

Drag 'n copy only works if you open desktop in nautilus ("show desktop in files").

I already ran the command:

gsettings set org.gnome.nautilus.preferences use-experimental-views false

It didn't help. How to fix this?


Since Ubuntu 19.04, Nautilus doesn't handle desktop icon management, rather it is handled by a GNOME Shell Extension called 'Desktop Icons' (package name: gnome-shell-extension-desktop-icons). The extension doesn't support the drag-and-drop feature yet.

However, you can replace Nautilus with Nemo as your file manager and get the traditional desktop icon management back. Follow this Q&A to replace Nautilus by Nemo: Make nemo the default file browser.

You should disable/remove the Desktop Icons extension to avoid any potential incompatibility. You may also have to add Nemo manually to the list of (auto-) startup programs.


Support of icons on the desktop in Ubuntu 19.10 is still limited for reasons outlined here. Thus, you currently cannot (yet) drag and drop files from Nautilus to the desktop. For the moment, your workarounds are:

  • Copying using the keyboard (Ctrl+c, then click on desktop and Ctrl+v).
  • (As you mentionned:) You can drag files in Nautilus to the Desktop folder in your home directory. These files will appear on the desktop.
  • 1
    Ctrl+c and Ctrl+v doesn't work for me. Nothing happens when I press Ctrl+v. But it does work when I select paste from the right click menu. Help. Also, is HTML not supported in comments? – Sasuke Uchiha May 12 '20 at 5:36
  • I'm running 20.10 and I still can't drag a file out of trash back to the desktop. This is hilarious! – Andreas Nov 5 '20 at 16:43

Another possibility is to uninstall the "Desktop Icons" extension and install this one:


enter image description here

I lightly tested it, and for now drag and drop works as supposed to do and moving icons in different screens also.

Additionally, it's much more configurable:

enter image description here


Yes it works, Nautilus has to be uninstalled after Nemo installation and it needs an extra start application command: nemo-desktop. This is to avoid the desktop getting filled by duplicated dragged icons etc if Nautilus is still present. Then it needs gnome-shell-extension-dekstop-icons to be installed.

  • donwgrade to nautilus 3.26 plus desktop extension (NG) does it. – fred Jul 10 '20 at 11:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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