Part I. A Tour of the GNOME Desktop

Chapter 8. Using Your Desktop

The Nautilus file manager manages the desktop. This chapter describes how to use the Nautilus desktop.

Introduction to the Desktop

The desktop lies behind all of the other components on your visible desktop. The desktop is an active component of the user interface. You can perform the following tasks from your desktop:

  • Start your applications, and open your files and folders.

    You can add desktop objects for convenient access to files, folders, and applications that you use frequently. For example, you can add an application launcher to the desktop. You can create a symbolic link to a file that you use often, then add this link to your desktop. You can also store files and folders on the desktop.

  • Open the Desktop menu.

    Right-click on the desktop to open the Desktop menu. You can use the Desktop menu to perform actions on the desktop.

  • Work with Trash.

    You can move objects to Trash and empty your Trash.

  • Customize your desktop.

    You can customize the pattern or color of the desktop.

Table 8.1, “Functions of Default Desktop Objects” describes the functions of the default objects on the desktop.

Table 8.1. Functions of Default Desktop Objects




Nautilus computer icon.


Opens a file manager window, and displays your CD-ROM drive, floppy drive, file system, and network.

Nautilus home location icon.


Opens a file manager window, and displays your home location in the view pane.

Nautilus Start Here icon.

Start Here

Provides an access point to some of the key features of the GNOME Desktop.

Nautilus Trash icon.


Opens a file manager window, and displays your Trash in the view pane.