I have an issue with Ubuntu 21.04. After upgrading I noticed all my files in the desktop went to a folder named Desktop in Documents. How can I transfer them back to the desktop screen? When I select Move to or Copy I can't make them go in the desktop. It's like the Desktop is restricted to not be able to add files too.


1 Answer 1


You will want to install gnome-tweak-tool and then enable the "Desktop icons ng" extension. Here's how you can do this:

  1. Open Terminal (if it's not already open)
  2. Update apt:
    sudo apt update 
  3. Install Gnome Tweaks:
    sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool
  4. Open Gnome Tweaks: Gnome tweaks
  5. In the "Extensions" tab, ensure the top toggle is enabled as well as "Desktop icons ng": Gnome Tweaks - Extensions
  6. Copy/Paste/Move files to the desktop to your heart's content

Note: One issue that I see with this extension is that you cannot delete files from the desktop with Shift+Delete. Instead you will need to right-click, then choose "Move to trash"

  • thank you very much. it worked well & files back to their original places.
    – eeesa
    Apr 25, 2021 at 14:17
  • 1
    Please consider "accepting" the answer if it helped you: click the checkmark next to the question
    – vanadium
    Apr 25, 2021 at 18:48
  • 1
    @matigo better now recommend to use the dedicated 'extensions' tool, i.e. sudo apt install gnome-shell-extension-prefs: more reliable for system extensions, and moreover, the management of gnome shell extensions will be removed from Tweaks anyway.
    – vanadium
    Apr 25, 2021 at 18:50
  • @vanadium if Tweaks was installed from the USC, is it still preferable to install gnome-shell=extension-prefs?
    – graham
    Apr 26, 2021 at 17:01
  • At some point (in 19.10) I found I could not reliably enable/disable the system Desktop Icons extension with Tweaks, but there was no problem with Extensions.
    – vanadium
    Apr 26, 2021 at 18:11

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