,I used a Newbie tutorial to download several wallpapers. The tutorial suggested that I create a 'wallpapers' folder on my desktop to store them. That worked fine, but now I want to move those files to the usr/share/backgrounds so they will show up in my default wallpaper list.

I've tried cp & mv in terminal, but neither works, and I get an error message the "usr/share/backgrounds" doesn't exist, though I can access it in Terminal. Could this be a permission problem, or is there an easier way to do this?

  • Have you tried "Sudo Nautilus" then copy and paste? Also check this Q& A out askubuntu.com/questions/123381/… Nov 24, 2012 at 21:11
  • @StephenMyall not the best method. Someone might consider that a very handy method and forget about possible problems that can happen when using sudo in a file browser (like flipping permissions to root on a file).
    – Rinzwind
    Nov 24, 2012 at 21:15
  • @Rinzwind Agreed which is why I also pointed the OP to the other Question and Answers where permissions are explained. Nov 24, 2012 at 21:20

3 Answers 3


The theme section you are shown when selecting properties from the desktop also has a drop down menu to select a wallpaper from the /home/$USER/Pictures/ folder.

enter image description here

This should be the most logical place to store pictures.

Nevertheless the command to store those images in /usr/share/background/ would be

sudo cp /home/$USER/Desktop/wallpapers/* /usr/share/backgrounds/
  • 2
    I consider it a bug that Ubuntu doesn't look in Pictures subdirectories. I have over 700 desktop background images. I don't want them mixed in with everything else.
    – Zan Lynx
    Oct 22, 2014 at 22:01

Yes - it's to do with permissions. Just add sudo to your commands and they should work as you intend.


It sounds like it may be a permissions issue. Try it with sudo and see if you have any luck.

If not, comment on this answer.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .