I tried the method for Freya but it did not work. First of all nautilus was not installed (only the default files, which is aparently named pantheon-files). Installing nautilus did not help and changing it for pantheon-files just gave me a files window after login that reappeared when it was closed.

Does anyone know how to enable this? I hope Elementary developers will do this by default, it makes no sense to me from a usability point of few to have no use of that big space (and a show desktop button just to look at the desktop picture). It would be great if it would be a simple system settings option under desktop (there is not option for it there either).

thank you.

Note: it seems some people marked it duplicate, I don't know why and I do not see a link. As mentioned, I tried the Freya options and they do not work and also tried some things myself that didn't work. Remarks about design decisions are not really useful, in my opinion and probably the one of others, that is a wrong decision and that is why I posted the question. Thank you


2 Answers 2


This is a design decision. The philosophy of elementary OS is aimed just to have a clean desktop.

The developers supported the clean desktop day on October 17th in twitter:

elementary @elementary 17 oct. The Internet tells us it's #NationalCleanYourVirtualDesktopDay . We got you. elementary.io pic.twitter.com/Jr1vt2ME9H

So one can't say this is the ideal distro to fulfill the expectations of users that position multiple icons at the desktop.

In any case you can always try to change this feature to adapt elementary to your working habits.

In this question you have many answers that can solve your problem. One of the answers comes from Daniel Foré, founder of elementary OS: Why can't I place files on the desktop by default, and how can I get this feature?


you do read more: Enable desktop icons and right click on Elementary Freya OS.

  • @user163217 has tried the link you propose (as you can confirm clicking over the word "Freya" in the question). You should look for another answer or retire this one if you consider you can't provide a solution. For a guidance you can read: elementaryos.stackexchange.com/help/how-to-answer Nov 19, 2016 at 15:34

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