My settings window currently looks like this:

enter link description here

Obviously, a lot of items should be there and they aren't. They have been present before in XFCE and in Unity. I've seen other questions about losing System Settings completely, but both gnome-control-center and unity-desktop are completely installed and up to date on my system.

What files/permissions affect what appears here, how might I resolve this?

  • This is very similar to what I have in gnome-control-center here on Xfce. You have a lot of settings in xfce4-settings-manager. But you are looking for restoring all the options in gnome-control-center, correct? – landroni Jan 17 '14 at 21:57
  • That's right. This is an old issue now (I'm not using xfce any more) but that was the nature of the problem I was having then. – asfallows Jan 17 '14 at 22:03
  • I never found a solution. – asfallows Jan 17 '14 at 22:03
  • Yes, this is a curious issue. I always assumed that things were missing because I didn't have much of Gnome installed. But maybe something else is wrong here. – landroni Jan 17 '14 at 22:08
  • Does the following address your issue: askubuntu.com/questions/397077/…? – landroni Jan 18 '14 at 9:01

I know this is an old answer, but I ran into it while googling the same issue -- you can restore items to the gnome-control-center or unity-control-center when under xfce by going to /usr/share/applications/ and editing the *-panel.desktop files, adding ";XFCE" to the "OnlyShowIn" line.

I recommend doing this for the gnome-bluetooth-panel.desktop and the gnome-datetime-panel.desktop files if you're using the indicator applet under XFCE -- it'll let you change bluetooth devices and the clock settings.


Another necropost, but I think the above answer is wrong.

In both Xfce and Unity (but not Gnome) you can control what appears in the settings panel by adding to the Categories in the .desktop file for whatever utility you want to add.


I installed Xfce on regular Ubuntu 16.04, but noticed that the Settings panel in a live usb session of Xubuntu 16.04 was different. One thing missing in my setup was Language Support. I looked for Language Support (actually Tacaíocht Teanga in my case) in /usr/share/applications with a root file manager and opened it in a text editor. I then changed the Categories line:






All sections of the settings panel require:

  • Xfce: Settings;X-XFCE-SettingsDialog
  • Unity: Settings;X-Unity-Settings-Panel


  • Xfce: X-XFCE-PersonalSettings
  • Unity: X-GNOME-PersonalSettings


  • Xfce: X-XFCE-HardwareSettings
  • Unity: HardwareSettings


  • Xfce: X-XFCE-SystemSettings
  • Unity: X-GNOME-SystemSettings


  • Xfce: If no section is specified the icon will appear in the Other section
  • Unity: Much more complicated! If you look at standard Gnome/Unity Settings .desktop files they have extra lines giving a keyword that (I think) is used for localisation, e.g. for Language Support (language-selector.desktop)
    If you add the name you want to appear to an X-Unity-Settings-Panel= line, it will appear under Other. If you don’t include this line the Other section will appear but the icon will not. For other sections, it doesn’t matter if you include this or not.

Syntax: although you often see these lines ending in a semi-colon, it is only required to separate each category with a semi-colon.

Command line

In a GUI file manager .desktop files appear with the Name= field name as their filename, not their real filename. So to find the right file to edit from the command line you’d have to do something like…

sean@nung:/usr/share/applications$ grep "Language Support" *.desktop
language-selector.desktop:Name=Language Support
sean@nung:/usr/share/applications$ sudo nano language-selector.desktop


Although it’s unlikely to happen very often, the .desktop files in /usr/share/applications can be overwritten when an app is updated or the system is upgraded.

For Xfce the solution is simple: copy the files you want to change to ~/.local/share/applications and make your changes to those files. They will override the global ones.

For Unity it’s not so simple. To be added to the settings panel the file must exist in /usr/share/applications. You can still move the files to ~/.local/share/applications (for ease of editing/storage) and link them back to /usr/share/applications. The links will still potentially get blitzed, but you’ll still have your modified files to relink.

For Unity the local .desktop files need to be executable.

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