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I really dislike Ubuntu's default file browser, nautilus, and decided to opt for a lighter alternative (Thunar or Xfe).

I've used the following script to change the default to Thunar, but now all my icons are gone from the desktop ! The files are still there, in /home/myid/Desktop, but they do not appear.

Is there a way to show them, or is this a consequence of removing nautilus as the default file browser ?

Can I modify the following script* in order to keep the icons ?

*copied from https://help.ubuntu.com/...:

## Originally written by aysiu from the Ubuntu Forums
## This is GPL'ed code
## So improve it and re-release it

## Define portion to make Thunar the default if that appears to be the appropriate action
makethunardefault()
{
## I went with --no-install-recommends because 
## I didn't want to bring in a whole lot of junk,
## and Jaunty installs recommended packages by default.
echo -e "\nMaking sure Thunar is installed\n"
sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install thunar --no-install-recommends

## Does it make sense to change to the directory?
## Or should all the individual commands just reference the full path?
echo -e "\nChanging to application launcher directory\n"
cd /usr/share/applications
echo -e "\nMaking backup directory\n"

## Does it make sense to create an entire backup directory?
## Should each file just be backed up in place?
sudo mkdir nonautilusplease
echo -e "\nModifying folder handler launcher\n"
sudo cp nautilus-folder-handler.desktop nonautilusplease/

## Here I'm using two separate sed commands
## Is there a way to string them together to have one
## sed command make two replacements in a single file?
sudo sed -i -n 's/nautilus --no-desktop/thunar/g' nautilus-folder-handler.desktop
sudo sed -i -n 's/TryExec=nautilus/TryExec=thunar/g' nautilus-folder-handler.desktop
echo -e "\nModifying browser launcher\n"
sudo cp nautilus-browser.desktop nonautilusplease/
sudo sed -i -n 's/nautilus --no-desktop --browser/thunar/g' nautilus-browser.desktop
sudo sed -i -n 's/TryExec=nautilus/TryExec=thunar/g' nautilus-browser.desktop
echo -e "\nModifying computer icon launcher\n"
sudo cp nautilus-computer.desktop nonautilusplease/
sudo sed -i -n 's/nautilus --no-desktop/thunar/g' nautilus-computer.desktop
sudo sed -i -n 's/TryExec=nautilus/TryExec=thunar/g' nautilus-computer.desktop
echo -e "\nModifying home icon launcher\n"
sudo cp nautilus-home.desktop nonautilusplease/
sudo sed -i -n 's/nautilus --no-desktop/thunar/g' nautilus-home.desktop
sudo sed -i -n 's/TryExec=nautilus/TryExec=thunar/g' nautilus-home.desktop
echo -e "\nModifying general Nautilus launcher\n"
sudo cp nautilus.desktop nonautilusplease/
sudo sed -i -n 's/Exec=nautilus/Exec=thunar/g' nautilus.desktop

## This last bit I'm not sure should be included
## See, the only thing that doesn't change to the
## new Thunar default is clicking the files on the desktop,
## because Nautilus is managing the desktop (so technically
## it's not launching a new process when you double-click
## an icon there).
## So this kills the desktop management of icons completely
## Making the desktop pretty useless... would it be better
## to keep Nautilus there instead of nothing? Or go so far
## as to have Xfce manage the desktop in Gnome?
echo -e "\nChanging base Nautilus launcher\n"
sudo dpkg-divert --divert /usr/bin/nautilus.old --rename /usr/bin/nautilus && sudo ln -s /usr/bin/thunar /usr/bin/nautilus 
echo -e "\nRemoving Nautilus as desktop manager\n"
killall nautilus
echo -e "\nThunar is now the default file manager. To return Nautilus to the default, run this script again.\n"
}

restorenautilusdefault()
{
echo -e "\nChanging to application launcher directory\n"
cd /usr/share/applications
echo -e "\nRestoring backup files\n"
sudo cp nonautilusplease/nautilus-folder-handler.desktop .
sudo cp nonautilusplease/nautilus-browser.desktop .
sudo cp nonautilusplease/nautilus-computer.desktop .
sudo cp nonautilusplease/nautilus-home.desktop .
sudo cp nonautilusplease/nautilus.desktop .
echo -e "\nRemoving backup folder\n"
sudo rm -r nonautilusplease
echo -e "\nRestoring Nautilus launcher\n"
sudo rm /usr/bin/nautilus && sudo dpkg-divert --rename --remove /usr/bin/nautilus
echo -e "\nMaking Nautilus manage the desktop again\n"
nautilus --no-default-window &

## The only change that isn't undone is the installation of Thunar
## Should Thunar be removed? Or just kept in?
## Don't want to load the script with too many questions?
}



## Make sure that we exit if any commands do not complete successfully.
## Thanks to nanotube for this little snippet of code from the early
## versions of UbuntuZilla
set -o errexit
trap 'echo "Previous command did not complete successfully. Exiting."' ERR


## This is the main code
## Is it necessary to put an elseif in here? Or is
## redundant, since the directory pretty much
## either exists or it doesn't?
## Is there a better way to keep track of whether
## the script has been run before?
if [[ -e /usr/share/applications/nonautilusplease ]]; then 

restorenautilusdefault 

else

makethunardefault

fi;
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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Your icons are not 'gone' - they are still in ~/Desktop, they are just no longer displayed on your desktop where you'd prefer.

Thoughts, in the order I would try them:

  1. Knowing the xfce version would help. Try Settings Manager -> Desktop and manually check "Allow xfce to manage your desktop" - I think this optaion may have been removed as of xfce 4.6
  2. There is a command xfdesktop. Try xfdesktop --reload
  3. Nautilus might be hijacking your desktop. Check out this article.
  4. If none of that works, In Applications -> Settings -> Desktop Settings, on the Behavior tab, select "Show Icons for home" Not quite Desktop, but close.
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Thanks for the tips. I'll reinstall karmic koala, then try some of these solutions. –  Manu Oct 29 '09 at 18:30

Try this script instead, i removed the last bit so that Thunar doesn't manage your desktop and Nautilus still does.

Download this script

Open Terminal in the folder where you have the script saved. Example if on the desktop.

~/Desktop
./defaultthunar

To uninstall run the script again. Have fun ;)

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