Desktop icons moved around at boot time (XFCE) - little nuisance

A little annoyance witch I can’t get rid off. I like to have my desktop icons on both side of the screen. The thing is that all the right side icons get thrown back to the left at reboot (XFCE). It happen on two of my computers but strangely not on the main one. I tried “session saving” but has no effect on that.
Not a big issue but am I missing a setup somewhere ?


Do they arrange to a specific side?

look in ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/

you may have more than one rc file there, with different screen sizes in the file names. i do: one the full resolution of the screen and one with the height of my bottom panel subtracted. one of them has my icons the way i want them, so i copy the contents of that file into the other one.


It’s a ‘known issue’ with the xfce desktop. :man_shrugging:

Having only one rc file in the location steanne provided above seems to decrease the frequency of the occurence.

Also try to keep a backup of the current (good) file in another location. Then if the icons get rearranged replace with the backup and logout/login the xfce session.

You are right. I did not know about those files. Yes I had about 12 rc files in there with different resolutions as I changed monitor three times on this computer. I remove all but one, the correct one is “icons.screen0-1920x1080.rc” but it had the wrong icons position. I am not sure when a new file is generated but it create a “…1920x1053.rc” eventually after I move back the icons to the right side. This one was good so, like you did, I copy it over the …1920x1080.rc, rename it with the correct res. and it seems to works now.

Btw, my main computer (which works all right ) has six of them, “icons.screen0-1904x1029”, -1904x1030, -1904x1035, 1904x1036, 1904x1064, 1920x1080.rc. The last one is the right one. Do you know went those files are created ?

Thanks guys.

I think the 1920x1053 one is the ‘correct’ one, being the desktop size minus the panel (this being the area that the icons can use).

The latest update to xfdesktop changed this; previously it was a 1904x10YY size (don’t ask why).

The files are created when the desktop detects a change to the configuration, either through a resolution change, addition or deletion of an icon, or something that happens at reboot or login.

Probably the best thing to do immediately is to add an icon to the desktop (from one of the apps in the whisker menu) and delete it again just to refresh the file. Then you know the current arrangement just got saved. Backup that file and delete the others. :smile:

From what I experience, the 1920x1053 rc file is used when you log out and log back in. The 1920x1080 file is used on a reboot. Now I know what to do …:blush:

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Ah, that makes sense.

Seems there can be a race on reboot between loading the desktop and loading the panel… :sweat:

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Gosh, it seems that that doesn't work anymore. Anything I do with those rc files, it still reshuffle the icons to the left on reboot.
Don't know anymore. Ah well ...

As @grinner stated in his first post: this is an unsolved and annoying issue.
Sometimes for more than a month all is well, then the icons rearrange every 2nd reboot regardless what I do to the *.rc files in ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/.
I've given up on this.

Since I migrated to a SSD my icons stopped getting shuffled on boot.

But here are some simple scripts for backing up xfce desktop icons. You will have to edit the resolution for your monitor.

I use crontab to run every hour (you can probably name this something better, this is a general script I use for other stuff also).

# back up 3 desktop icon positions
mv ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/icons.screen0-1904x1037.rc.2 ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/icons.screen0-1904x1037.rc.3
mv ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/icons.screen0-1904x1037.rc.1 ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/icons.screen0-1904x1037.rc.2
cp ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/icons.screen0-1904x1037.rc ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/icons.screen0-1904x1037.rc.1

crontab entry
0 * * * * ./

Then I use as an Application Autostart entry (in Session and Startup).

cp ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/icons.screen0-1904x1037.rc.1 ~/.config/xfce4/desktop/icons.screen0-1904x1037.rc

Command to run in Session and Startup
sh -c "sleep 21 &&"

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. So I usually just ran manually after logging in then press F5 on the desktop.

I admire your obstinacy korealinux but your last sentence kill it for me. I think the easiest way is not to reboot as often as possible but send it into standby if not used.

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This thread contains another way of working-around the problem by locking down the icons using chattr. In particular see posts #2 and #16.

There is a long-standing open bug report here just in case anyone is interested. :grin:


I don't want to drag on this subject but as I said, it seems to affect only certain installations, Nvidia proprietary or AMD. I cannot find what the difference is. The only thing I may see (clue) is that I went from a lower resolution screen to a larger one.

One day some programmer will fix it without knowing he did ...:rofl:

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