I have many users at the place I work, expressing the notion of switching to Ubuntu. Most of them, for whatever weird reason wanting to know if its possible to have refresh added when you right click on the desktop.

Is that possible?

  • 1
    Refresh what? Icons, like Windows? I doubt that has any functionality in Win 7, etc. these days...
    – ish
    Jun 26, 2012 at 11:55
  • @izx Yes, refresh icons, and the desktop. Windows 7 still has that.
    – Mitch
    Jun 26, 2012 at 11:57
  • 1
    I know it does, but it doesn't seem to do anything :/
    – ish
    Jun 26, 2012 at 12:06
  • Why don't you try F5 or Ctrl+R Keys. It is better to use keyboard often.
    – atenz
    Jun 29, 2012 at 10:01

2 Answers 2


To add refresh command to right click context menu in Ubuntu 11.10 , install nautilus – refresh by running following commands in the terminal.

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:nae-team/ppa
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nautilus-refresh

Once the package is installed, run following commands to restart nautilus or log out and log back in to see the changes.

nautilus -q
  • When I try the first command I get, E: Unable to locate package lineakd
    – Mitch
    Jun 30, 2012 at 7:31
  • Can you supply a link? Everything I tried is not working.
    – Mitch
    Jun 30, 2012 at 7:52
  • when I try to install using USC, I get an error about unmet dependencies.
    – Mitch
    Jun 30, 2012 at 8:18
  • I updated my answer which a more simple approach.Try that instead :)
    – dlin
    Jun 30, 2012 at 8:48
  • 1
    Lubuntu doesn't ship Nautilus, so I can't imagine how it works perfectly... Sep 21, 2013 at 19:24

The default file browser in Lubuntu is PCManFM. So, if there are some possibilities to "refresh" desktop in Lubuntu, these should act on PCManFM. Thus, looking at the manual page of PCManFM (man pcmanfm), I found that running the following command(s) in terminal (lxterminal), the desktop will refresh

pcmanfm --desktop-off && pcmanfm --desktop --profile lubuntu

So far, so good; there is only left to do somehow to run this command from right click menu from the desktop. This can be done in 3 steps:

  1. Create a new small script, let say refresh.sh, with the following two lines inside:

    pcmanfm --desktop-off && pcmanfm --desktop --profile lubuntu

    Don't forget to make it executable:

    chmod +x /path/to/script/refresh.sh
  2. On the desktop, right click and select Desktop Preferences, click Advanced in the new opened window and tick Show menus provided by window managers when desktop is clicked.

    desktop preferences

  3. Using the following command in terminal:

    sudo -i leafpad /usr/share/lubuntu/openbox/menu.xml

    edit the opened file /usr/share/lubuntu/openbox/menu.xml as follow (you only have to add the bold text and to use the right path for the script created at 1st step):

  <separator label="System" />
  <menu id="system-menu" icon="/usr/share/icons/gnome/48x48/categories/applications-system.png" />
  <item label="Refresh">
    <action name="Execute">
  <item label="Log Out">
    <action name="Execute">


The result, as I tested in Lubuntu 13.04: (Make sure that you logout, and log back in for changes to take effect).

refresh desktop in lubuntu

(Sorry for the low quality of the animated gif, but I just don't have time to find something better for the moment)

  • This is great. Does it only work on 13.04? I just tried it on 12.10, but no go. Any thoughts?
    – Mitch
    Sep 13, 2013 at 16:53
  • @Mich As I said, I tested in Lubuntu 13.04. Try to play with pcmanfm --desktop --profile lubuntu, use only pcmanfm --desktop or another profile... After editing /usr/share/lubuntu/openbox/menu.xml file a re-login is required. Sep 13, 2013 at 17:03
  • Yes it does. 12.10, and 12.04. Thanks.
    – Mitch
    Sep 13, 2013 at 17:37

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