How-To Geek

Add the Trash Can Icon to Your Ubuntu Desktop

Ubuntu has an option for adding a Trash Can icon to the desktop, which might be a comfort for those of you migrating from Windows.

Just type gconf-editor into the Alt+F2 run dialog to open the Gnome Configuration Editor.

Now browse down to the following key:

apps \ nautilus \ desktop


On the right hand side, you’ll see an entry called trash_icon_visible. Just check the box. You can also change the trash_icon_name if you’d like. 

And there’s the icon.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/7/07

Comments (43)

  1. kobewan

    This only works for GNOME however. The way I got it in Kubuntu (and I think it should work with any window manager/DE with slight modification) is to create a new file ~/Desktop/Trash.desktop. The contents of the file are:

    [Desktop Entry]
    Comment=Contains removed files

  2. The Geek


    You are great! Thanks for that.

  3. RedPanda

    I have been looking for this some time, and you just posted it a few days after I discovered the site. Thanks a lot!

  4. ADC

    Thanks! The guide helped!

  5. hena

    You guide ROCKS! Thanks!

  6. mean

    thanks man!

  7. Sander


  8. SoulSmasher

    thanks for this great tuorial, ive translated to turkish and wrote there too, also given your link as source, hope that’s ok for u :)

  9. Naser

    Thanks for that tip :) I can’t believe its not nearly as hard as other Ubuntu processes/procedures

  10. Myk Melez

    It’s not just for comfort (I’m a longtime Linux user), it’s also a usability issue. The icon on the bottom bar is too small to be a good drop target, and it’s usually obscured by the icon of the file I’m dragging, so I’m constantly failing to drop a file onto it. A big Trash icon on my desktop is much easier to drag files into. Thanks for the tip!

  11. Mr.Crowley

    thanks for help.

  12. Mike's beeps!

    Thank you! It gave me an option to show or hide the Trash icon. And I figured out how to rename it.

  13. Spreech

    thanks, it helps!

  14. meekon5

    Thanks Guys, another one of my wishlist achieved (desktop config list that is).

  15. Ken

    That was an awesome tip kobewan. Worked like a charm!!!

  16. chris mcmanus

    thanks very much, i have been trying to do this for ages,.. great now i have added a.w.n as default instaed of my bottom panel….and still have my bin where im used to it (bottom right).

  17. Ramon

    It seems even I added this trash icon in the desktop in Ubuntu 9.04, I still cannot find anything in this trash folder after I deleted some files…

  18. Elom

    This works perfects. thanks

  19. Efren Palacios

    Very nice, I’ve been trying to find out where it was :)

  20. Nina

    Thanks alot, Ubuntu rules.

  21. marco

    thank you. works perfect.

  22. Michael

    Excellent!!! you Rock!!!

  23. Kevin

    Couldn’t you just right click the panel and add the trash can to the panel? I guess someone use to using Windows would not know that. Sorry

  24. Jürgen A. Erhard

    If this isn’t a WTF, I don’t know what is… yes, I hate GNOME. And if this is Ubuntu-idiocy, Ubuntu too.

  25. Jesiqua

    Ok i need to know where i go to create the file sorry i am very new to linux if someone could help me out it would be greatly apprieciated.

    thanks again

  26. Syed Shoaib

    Thanks really. It helped… :)

  27. jsd


  28. sunnyx

    Thanks Guys i really Appreciate it worked for me.

  29. *zuzu*

    thanks mate! I’m no geek and couldn’t find the file I mistakenly deleted!!! aaahhh… feel so much better now!!!

  30. Mauricio_

    Thanks! worked like a charm

  31. Aravind

    Thanks….I Like….!!!

  32. themamakcorner

    thanks :)

  33. zixprx


    I dont need these windowizations personally, but my 69y/o mom can use a bit of ease in the transition.


  34. asd

    Thank you :)

  35. Paul

    thanks, easy peasy.

  36. Yves

    Thank you!

  37. jerry baldino

    My system has gone mute. Besides checking preferences (sounds) what can I do?

  38. mangesh

    Excellent job by u…..ur tric is more helpful for me……thanx bottom of my heart

  39. Malik

    Thanx buddy. I accidentally deleted my office files and now i could restore it back…

  40. Toby

    This does not work with Lubuntu.

  41. aurel.b

    numi pot recupera cosu gunoi ,, dupa disparitie.. folosesc un xp3 ful si mia disparut cosu odata ceam marit bara de lucru cum al pot recupera ,, e an linba romana

  42. aurel. b

    dati un raspuns sigur si concret va rog pe yd ,,, ion_gabriel90

  43. Jim H

    I also have the same problem as Toby … what is the format for Lubuntu. This did not work for me in 11.04

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