Enable files on the desktop

Hi everyone, can you enable me to display desktop files on the desktop? I use openbox.

You can try xfdesktop and see if it suits your need

You can also switch to a file manager that will also manage the desktop.

PcmanFM will do that, there are details in the Arch Wiki page for starting it so that it manages the desktop wallpaper and desktop icons.

I think using either xfdesktop or PcmanFM to manage the desktop will conflict with using nitrogen to set the wallpaper.

I didn’t think you could do this with openbox?

@beagle if you want desktop icons, why don’t you try installing XFCE on your setup, deleting the XFCE default panels and run Polybar.

Once again, moving this topic as not an issue caused by ArchLabs.

Sure can (fluxbox as well. I think pekwm, but pekwm isn’t fully EWMH compliant so it may not work):


in the openbox autostart file add:

pcmanfm --desktop &

and comment out any wallpaper setter like nitrogen or feh because pcmanfm will handle the wallpaper. Copy any *.desktop files from /usr/share/applications/ to ~/Desktop (or create your own) and they will show on the desktop.

By default, the right-click desktop menu will be pcmanfm menu, but start that and go into the:

Desktop Preferences -> Advanced and you can check the box to use the window manager’s default menu.

Bit of a memory hit:

13.2 MiB + 3.4 MiB = 16.5 MiB pcmanfm

but the total isn’t any more (probably less) than xfce at idle.


I use a close relative of pcmanfm, spacefm needs a little too, it reminds me a bit of konqueror with several options and windows and tabs, it’s good.


Ah excellent. Thanks for the info.

Other than desktop icons (which I personally don’t like) and not needing a third party app for wallpaper, what is the advantage of this?

Thank you, I’ll test! When I installed xfce through the start script, I marked it as the default to start xfce. Where do I change the default desktop option? To remove xfce completely, do I remove all xfce4- * in pacli? Thank you!!

You may want to keep some of the XFCE stufff as they are part of the original setup…

Beauty, but how do I remove the xfce desktop without destroying my openbox? I installed xfce from the initial script.

If you aren’t short of space I would just leave it on there.

You will need to manually remove them.

Afterwards, depending on whether you are using thunar or not and whether you are using any of the xfdesktop stuff you can reinstall them

pacman -S thunar xfce4-settings
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None really. It’s just a way to put desktop icons on a window manager. Save the user a bit of memory over Xfce if that’s an actual issue.

Nice setup. SoaceFM is a pretty good file manager. I took a quick look at their download page and it seems there was some recent development. Project keeps coming back from the abyss; good for them.

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It is good, especially in managing multiple windows with only one open, and the context menu is quite complete.

@PackRat yeah I really don’t see the point of desktop icons…but thats just me.

@m.rogers, I really like spaceFM though it is not as fully equipped as Thunar.

Each file manager has its own particularity, things that Thunar has, SpaceFm does not have and vice versa.