Ubuntu – Basic desktop actions are not available on Ubuntu 20.04

20.04desktop-iconsdrag and dropgnome-shellshortcut-keys

In Ubuntu 20.04, on the desktop, there is a number of actions I wish I could do, such as, by order of importance :

  • use keyboard shortcuts such as select all, copy / paste.
  • use drag & drop with icons
  • deactivate the "mouse over" highlight, and restrict the clicking area to only the icon, not the surrounding square

To put it simply, I'd like to have the exact same features as offered by the desktop of Ubuntu 18.04 (probably related to a specific version of GNOME, and not Ubuntu itself).

Am I missing something obvious here? I actually see no reason why those actions are removed or deactivated on the desktop, since they all work in any Nautilus window.

Best Answer

Unfortunately, desktop icons are completely broken (which is quite unexpected in a LTS release of Ubuntu) as instead of the file-manager (Nautilus) handling the desktop items, now a GNOME Shell extension handles them.

See this bug report: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-shell-extension-desktop-icons/+bug/1813441

A workaround involving replacing the file-manager is described here: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gnome-shell-extension-desktop-icons/+bug/1813441/comments/14. To do that, follow the steps below.

  1. remove gnome-shell-extension-desktop-icons
  2. install nemo
  3. make Nemo handle desktop icons
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