Xfce swap desktop for pcmanfm's

Share your own howto's etc. Not for support questions!

Xfce swap desktop for pcmanfm's

Postby ruffwoof » 2017-07-18 18:18

Xfce is well structured and works well, with the exception of desktop icons. Position them nicely and sooner or later Xfce desktop will rearrange them.

Pcmanfm is a nice file manager ... similar to Xfce's Thunar ... and pcmanfm can also provide the desktop.

To swap to using pcmanfm for the desktop first install it (apt-get install pcmanfm); Then Menu, Settings, Session and Startup ... and click the session tab and in the restart style for xfce desktop click the "Immediately" text and select the "Never" option. Then kill the xfce desktop by entering pkill xfcedesktop in a terminal window. Having stopped Xfce's desktop we can setup to use pcmanfm's desktop; Navigate to the Application Autostart and click the +Add and add a startup command of
Code: Select all
pcmanfm -d --desktop

Then navigate to the General Tab and make sure "Automatically save session on logout" is ticked.

Log out and back in again ... and you'll be using pcmanfm's desktop instead of xfce's. You can revisit the Menu, Settings, Session and Startup, General Tab to turn 'Automatically save session on logout' back off again (or if you prefer just leave it).

Some further tweaks more complete the transition ...

Thunar appears in the root menu, to be rid of that create a ~/.local/share/applications folder if it doesn't already exist and copy the /usr/share/applications filemanager.desktop file to that folder. Edit the file to remove the X-Xfce-Toplevel category. Also copy the .desktop file for pcmanfm and edit that to include that X-Xfce-Toplevel category.

Finally run exo-preferred-applications ... and under the Utilities tab change the preferred file manager from Thunar to pcmanfm.

DON'T try and remove thunar from your xfce system (such as apt-get remove thunar) ... as many important dependencies will also be removed. Also remember to make backup's before making such changes.

Personally I find Xfce along with pcmanfm as both the filemanager and desktop (icons) manager to be a good combination. Install brightside (hot corners) and use brightside-properties to set a corner to toggle show/hide desktop and thereafter a simple mouse movement into the corner reveals your pcmanfm desktops nicely arranged icons ... ready to pick whichever icon/program to launch; And where those icons can be nicely positioned as you so desire.

Posts: 298
Joined: 2016-08-20 21:00

Re: Xfce swap desktop for pcmanfm's

Postby Danielsan » 2017-07-18 21:54

Basing on this git page the issue should be fixed:


However I might not replace pcmanfm with thunar.
User avatar
Posts: 602
Joined: 2010-10-10 22:36

Return to Docs, Howtos, Tips & Tricks

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests