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How to hide desktop drive icons in Gnome

Many people running Gnome, such as most Ubuntu users might find it slightly irritating having all plugged in media, disk partitions etc. on the desktop. So, what if you can remove them, but still have them in the Places menu for easy access? Guess what, you can!

You just need to access the registry-like configuration editor for Gnome, which is called gconf. Before running the gconf editor, please note that changing any settings will have an immediate effect. Also, do take care to review any actions that you might take before actually doing them to ensure that you do not accidentally change any important system settings.

To start the gconf editor, press alt and F2 which should make the following window appear.


Type gconf-editor and click Run to start the application. To get to the settings, navigate to /apps/nautilus/desktop and you will see the following screen.


Uncheck volumes_visible and other settings you might want to change. The keys are rather self-explanatory, so there should not be any problem.

The gconf editor also lets you change many other settings hidden from the normal user interface. Have fun exploring and experimenting with the settings, but remember what I said in the beginning – be careful. You can however make a backup of the configuration, which makes it easy to revert the changes in case you accidentally break something. Just open a terminal from the Applications menu / Accessories / Terminal and type:

cp -r .gconf .gconf-backup

I will finish off with showing how my desktop looks without any drive icons. Click on the image for the full version.


Happy exploring.