I need to set --no-desktop via gconf for nautilus, I use OpenBox. I used to just set it like this

# Disable Nautilus desktop.
gconftool-2 -s -t bool /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop false &
# Do not let Nautilus set the background image.
gconftool-2 -s -t bool /desktop/gnome/background/draw_background false &

However, I find this does not work in Ubuntu 11.10. Has something changed in gconf? Might it have anything to do with Gsettings? In the mean time, I just added --no-desktop to my .desktop shortcuts. This is not a solid long term solution for me, for a few reasons. Anytime you upgrade the nautilus package, those changes will overwrite. Much more importantly, Anything that launches nautilus another way wont use --no-desktop. If anyone can help, it would be much appreciated.

BTW: gconf-editor let me view my settings, but no schema for nautilus even existed.

2 Answers 2


Yes, in Gnome 3, Gconf is being replaced by DConf, which is accessed through GSettings. You can use dconf-editor from the dconf-tools package to explore. It's very similar to gconf-editor.

The entries your looking for are located at org -> gnome -> desktop -> background

Uncheck draw-background AND show-desktop-icons

enter image description here

No more openbox menu and wallpaper problems :)

  • 1
    can you update your answer ? I tried the solution but it's still showing up the nautilius background even when I uncheck the draw-background
    – Suhaib
    Nov 21, 2012 at 17:25
  • am using 12.10 Ubuntu + openbox
    – Suhaib
    Nov 21, 2012 at 17:46
  • 2
    The question was about 11.10. Things may have changed since then, and I don't use 12.10. Perhaps a new answer should be added? Nov 25, 2012 at 9:17
  • on 14.04, works fine
    – josinalvo
    Dec 30, 2014 at 17:00
  • 1
    on 16.04.1, works fine.
    – Greg Bell
    Aug 29, 2016 at 23:33

The setting mentioned in Jo-Erlend Schinstad's answer has been deprecated and I can't find a new equivalent setting. A workaround is to let the file manager set the background but set the alpha to zero. The command for this is

dconf write /org/gnome/desktop/background/picture-opacity 0

or you can use the dconf-editor gui to set it as discussed in Jo-Erlend Schinstad's answer.

The setting to hide the desktop icons is still the same:

dconf write /org/gnome/desktop/background/show-desktop-icons false
  • For me it was sufficient to set the show-desktop-icons to false.
    – elzapp
    Feb 10, 2014 at 8:50
  • 1
    Just tested and yep, that seems to work. I'll try it out on some more computers before I edit the answer because it seems weird...
    – dshepherd
    Feb 10, 2014 at 13:53

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