Just booted my laptop running elementary OS today and found the desktop in a window. Cannot move it, cannot maximize it. I can live with it but I don't like this at all. Has this happened before, do you guys have some clues about what can be the cause?

The only modification I made was install the theme Arc-Darker and Super Flat Remix icon pack.

I don't know if this is a elementary OS specific question or maybe a software one but I neither know what piece of software is causing it so... (Tagging Gala because I think it may be it's fault)

Oh, here's a pic of the problem, just in case I didn't explained myself well https://i.stack.imgur.com/JEz3a.png

  • Did you by any change install Nemo File Manager? Try the command pkill nemo.
    – Jeroen
    Nov 18, 2015 at 7:57
  • It worked! Now that i remember, when I installed Dropbox i think nemos was installed along. I'll see if I can fix this. Many thanks!
    – Trigork
    Nov 18, 2015 at 11:19
  • I've added my comment as an answer.
    – Jeroen
    Nov 18, 2015 at 11:45

2 Answers 2


It is because of the Nemo file manager. Nemo could be installed by other applications as a dependency.

To remove the desktop:

pkill nemo

Pkill will stop the nemo process.

To run Nemo without an desktop:

nemo --no-desktop

If the desktop comes up after boot you'll have to remove it from statup applications in the system settings. (settings -> applications -> startup applications).

  • 1
    Just to complete the answer for my particular case. There are workarounds to install dropbox for pantheon in elementaryOS, people should note that before installing "nemo-dropbox".
    – Trigork
    Nov 20, 2015 at 9:09

As ansered by Jeroen, this is caused by nemo. I faced the same problem even in Loki. To fix this, I changed the .desktop file entry for nemo and added nemo --no-desktop in the entry. Use the following code to change the desktop files

sudo scratch /usr/share/applications/nemo-autostart.desktop

and also change

sudo scratch /usr/share/applications/nemo.desktop

change the value of exec to

Exec=nemo --no-desktop

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