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Sorry if this is a duplicate question, but my searching found nothing. But I solved this on my other systems a long time ago and I've forgotten how.

I have a 20.04.1 Xubuntu system with about 100 desktop icons for unoccupied mount points (never mind why I have so many). I can only find a way to remove "file system" and "home". I'd really like to remove them all, or at least the empty ones.

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You have a couple of choices to accomplish this.

Open up your application menu and navigate to 'Settings.' Once you're there, you want the desktop settings with the 'Icons' tab.

From here, you can set it to 'None' or you can 'Minimized Application Icons'.

It looks like this:

change desktop icons

Choosing either does exactly what one would expect it to do and requires little elaboration. The first rids you entirely of desktop icons and the second minimizes the number, limiting them only to minimized applications.

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