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I have a custom installer that will install a .desktop file to ~/.local/share/applications. Right after I install, I try to search for the new app in Unity, and it can not find it. However, once I log out and then log in again, Unity will now display the new app. Is there any way to get the app to show up immediately without logging out and in again?

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Yes, press Alt+F2, insert and run the following command:

unity --replace
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