I am fairly incompetent with Ubuntu and old so please forgive me if I ask something stupid.

My problem is that I can't change the icon on a folder on my desktop on 20.04. I have tried the usual method. Rt click folder. Properties. Click on displayed icon. Select new icon.

This PARTIALLY works. It works in 'files'. If I go to files and look at desktop then sure enough it has the new icon. But.... on the desktop itself it does not change. It remains as the original standard icon for a folder.

I do not have any folder changing software installed.

My only question would be that I installed 'mega' files integration with nautilus. I can't see how this works and how to remove it. Could that cause any problems?

I should add that it is the mega files 'sync' folder that I am trying to change the icon on.

The folder works perfectly. It's just that I want it to have the mega logo on it so that I can easily spot it on my desktop.

Thanks for any help.

2 Answers 2


I don't think it's a bug. GNOME developers removed the SW code related to some desktop operations. EDIT: If you notice, for example you cannot do copy/paste operations directly on the desktop, you can do them only if you operate directly inside the Desktop folder. Similarly, you can create new files/folders only if you are inside the desktop folder, but not with a right click of the mouse in yur desktop. For example, drag and drop from a folder to desktop is not possible.

I've recreated your scenario in my Ubuntu 20.04 installation and what happens is the same as in your installation: I can change the icon from inside the Desktop folder, but I cannot see the new icon from the Desktop.

I don't know if it really exists a way to solve it, due to the fact that GNOME lacks of code to perfomr operations directly from the desktop (by a voluntary programmers decision)

  • 1
    Thanks for your comment. Though, as an experiment I just copied and pasted a folder on my desktop and it worked perfectly.
    – robartist
    May 16, 2020 at 16:30
  • You are right: it's the drag and drop feature that is not enabled, copy/paste is possible. I wrote something that is not exact, I will partially modify my previous answer. May 16, 2020 at 16:34
  • Yes you are right. But I still don't see why we can't change desktop icons. Shame it would be really useful.
    – robartist
    May 16, 2020 at 18:22
  • A related issue is that it would be very useful to change the basic desktop folder icon to something more 'readable'. I find the colour and lack of strong outline difficult. Also the text is difficult to read. I have a pale blue desktop background colour. Perhaps if the developers could just have a look at offering a different icon set for the desktop that would be helpful. Please. Unless I am missing something and it is possible but I can't find out how. Thanks
    – robartist
    May 17, 2020 at 7:19
  • 1
    Solved. Kind of. I installed LXQt desktop. It turns out to be the kind of desktop that I like. And I installed a set of icons and changed the icon to what I wanted. Plus I find the destop combination with font more readable. Thanks for your help. All the best.
    – robartist
    May 17, 2020 at 18:43

The default extension for GNOME is now outdated, so I recommend you to try another one that adds configurations for icons in desktop, like what you are asking. One example is Desktop Icons: Neo.

This extension lets you change folder images in the way you are trying (properties in right-click).

Lastly, disable the older Desktop icons extension from GNOME Tweaks or from the official GNOME extensions website. If you have compatibility issues, try disabling it from the native Extensions app (the one that comes with Ubuntu).

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.