KDE Plasma has too many places to input Desktop Location Path

I’ll begin with a spoiler alert that cost me a lot of time and frustration:

On KDE Plasma’s Desktop, if you navigate to the following:
Right click > Desktop Folder Settings > Location context menu
there is a place to type “Custom Location” for the ~/Desktop

The problem with this is that there are several other Location Path entries scattered around KDE, and you can lose a lot of time if you have set this and for some reason in the future decide to move your ~/Desktop to a different location. Because XDG will say your ~/Desktop is where you told it to be, your Desktop symlinks will point to the proper place, the command prompt will cd you right over to ~/Desktop no problem, but this hidden setting behind a right click on the KDE Plasma Desktop will override anything XDG says, and anything Manjaro itself knows, and your Desktop will say “folder not found”. So it’s kind of a dangerous setting for those who value time If for some reason you forgot that there is a context menu in the Desktop itself. And in general, there shouldn’t be so many redundant places to input Location Paths in an operating system. Like in Dolphin, you can change all those locations but it doesn’t affect xdg or anything else in the system. Locations needs to be referenced from one file only. Like ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs but there is a weird situation at present in that there are multiple places where the user may naively expect a change made to a Location in one interfae, to actually change a Location for the environment. Nope.

So avoid the right click desktop custom location setting, it’s too easy to forget where it is. There should be one place to change one list of user-dirs in my opinion, or at least all changes need to happen to one user-dirs.dirs file.

Just an observation and suggestion, hope it helps, and if I’m wrong, let me know.

Your post is really not clear, what are you talking about?

In System Settings → Application → Locations is where you change the folders paths.
In Dolphin, the left panel for is for shortcuts to folders.

//EDIT: Also

On KDE Plasma’s Desktop, if you navigate to the following:
Right click > Desktop Folder Settings > Location context menu
there is a place to type “Custom Location” for the ~/Desktop

This is the place for the folder view, either you select “Desktop” and it uses the system Dekstop folder, or you click the CUSTOMIZABLE path and you set a custom path. It is not to reconfigure the system Desktop folder, it is to customize the Folder View mode of the desktop.


I have my ~/Desktop on another drive, using a symlink. works perfect.
(and i wrote that drive the UUID way in FSTAB for good measure.)
This isn’t related to the other thread I made before I had the problem solved there. This is a different issue. The issue is a KDE related one.

try this: if you use KDE, right click the desktop, go to locations, and change that folder. reboot. then when your desktop is not there, go to command prompt and type ‘find ~/Desktop’ and of course the real location of your desktop will be different than the custom one you have changed. But that doesn’t change the fact that the Desktop has a hidden feature that alters the Location of the Desktop Path according to the very function of the Desktop itself, and that setting is only found by right clicking the Desktop, not in System Settings (which is also KDE)

What I’m saying is that the feature is useful, but when you change custom location of Desktop in that Desktop Right Click menu, it should be changed system wide, not just in the hidden menu where if you forget where it is, you may never find that setting again.

So, I believe this is a KDE problem. If Manjaro thinks it’s unwise to have a user-dirs override that is hiding in an invisible right click menu and not in the System Settings, then I agree.

on second thought, maybe the very concept of a Desktop itself is slowly turning legacy and I just didn’t factor that in. It’s just confusing to see one word across the system settings and Dolphin menu and that word means more than one thing.

You cannot. The tilde (~) signifies $HOME. So ~/Desktop is always the same as $HOME/Desktop.

What you can do is designate another directory as the one to load one’s desktop icons from. But this has no relevance to the $HOME/Documents, $HOME/Downloads and other XDG directories.

  • First of all, I do not think you understand the meaning of the word “system-wide”. GNU/Linux is a multiuser system. Altering something system-wide would alter it for all user accounts, and would require root privileges to do so.

  • Secondly, everybody knows that you can customize the desktop settings by right-clicking it ─ it’s the most logical way for altering those settings. And the ~/Desktop directory itself only contains the files that will be shown as icons on your desktop, so it does not warrant being put on a separate partition ─ this is not Microsoft Windows. Putting the entire content of your /home ─ note: that is /home, not $HOME ─ on a separate partition is another thing altogether and would be a wise decision, even.

  • Thirdly, if you feel that the directory to be used as the one that by default holds your desktop icons should be settable from within the System Settings, then feel free to file a feature request at bugs.kde.org. Manjaro does not develop KDE Plasma ─ nor does Arch, for that matter.


Everybody doesn’t know, because I am part of group everybody and I didn’t know. but now I do know. there comes a question of ambiguity when you have something in the desktop environment that is colloquially called a Desktop and also some folder that is vestigially labelled ~/Desktop. I’d like that much credit please.

I thought I found something that was obviously off-kilter, and I’m bringing it up here because I am still developing an understanding of the meaning of Linux Distributions in general, as far as the scope of what is within the interest of a particular distribution or not. Manjaro is hot right now and so I think folks who run KDE might even hang out here on occasion. How many forums do I wanna join is the real question I guess. I hope some noob out there like me who got confused about where their Desktop went will shave a few seconds off finding it again as a result of my post.

If I am completely in the wrong, why in KDE is there a menu location called Locations, which helps the User to create a custom location for their Desktop in addition to a redundant, (but higher in priority) piece of information located behind a right click menu that isn’t searchable via System Settings?

This isn’t a gripe about Manjaro, I’m just saying that right now Manjaro probably has some pull or at least some creative critique that may be useful to KDE.

Nah, that’s beneath them. :stuck_out_tongue:

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I’ve emailed them and they got right back to me (about some discrepancies with their user manual) but I guess I didn’t mention Manjaro… :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

That may be confusing to you but to me it is similar to what Windows had, a place to have shortcuts to folders, and by default it has the default user folders shortcuts from the user Home. I’m not sure you understood. I think I summarized it kinda well in my initial reply:

  • In System Settings → Application → Locations is where you change the folders paths for the user that other applications may refer to (for example the web browser by default will use the Downloads folder configured here, the Desktop itself will use the Desktop folder configured here, and so on…)
  • In Dolphin, the left panel for is for shortcuts to folders. It is just that, shortcuts, you don’t reconfigure the user folders here, you can rename or change the path of the shortcuts, maybe that is what is confusing you here
  • On the Desktop itself, by default it uses the Desktop folder from the user Home to store icons and files/folder, like on Windows, and if you want to use another folder it is possible if you decide to use the Custom Path when your Configure the Desktop by right clicking it. It is what is called the ‘Folder View’ for the Desktop, you can change that to not show a folder content on the Desktop when you reconfigure the Desktop

The only redundant thing I could agree with, is the use of the word desktop in various cases, that could be confusing.

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I didn’t even include the xdg config file in this screenshot.

Nor did I include Dolphin, since it’s not part of KDE, but Dolphin can hold even more locations, meaning you can end up with potentially unlimited locations for Desktop if you factor in an unknown quantity of software that is creating references for a Location. That’s a best-practice user error issue admittedly.

Also, not a gripe to you or Manjaro whatsoever!

My point is there’s some weird redudnant stuff in KDE, and this is only in addition to the colloquial/vestigial ambiguity of the term ~/Desktop and/or ‘Desktop’

I’m not sure which config file you’re talking about.

It definitely is, this is the KDE file manager.

Also I’m not sure what you’re trying to show in your screenshot.

On top left here is where you configure the paths for the user folders used by the system/programs.

On the top right is the configuration of the Desktop itself (where you land when you boot the computer, the Desktop itself) where as explained you can show various things if you have the Folder View enable for the background setting (the content of the Desktop folder configured in Location on top left of your screenshot, or Activities related files, or one of your shortcuts configured in Dolphin, or a Custom path)

In your terminal I don’t know what you want to demonstrate.

I get that it could be confusing that the same words can be used in different places (Location and Desktop, for instance), but at the end of the day it is not that hard to understand, when you see that the Desktop itself (where you land when you boot) is like an ‘application’ itself which has its own configuration.

The windows titles also can be helpful, for instance on top left it is the System Settings window, on top right it is the Desktop Folder settings, Desktop Folder being what is enabled for the Wallpaper in the Desktop itself (click Wallpaper, see, either you show a desktop, basically nothing more than the wallpaper, or you enable Folder View, which is what you configure in Location then)

It’s all good I didn’t take anything personally I just insist on trying to explain to you what I see.

I disagree here, yes the terms could be redundantly used in various places in the UI, for different things, but you do not have many different possibilities, see my summarization above.

Anyway I guess you could still open request to KDE at this point if you think some things could be improved in their UI.

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I’ve just edited the Desktop location in Dolphin to be different than in Settings/Locations and they appear to be agnostic to one another, perhaps they refer to the xdg configuration at userdirs.dirs on reboot though, but would i bet on it? no. So that right there is a potential conflict, and neither of the ones I mentioned care if they are assigned the location ~/Desktop, which is a constant in Linux that can’t be changed unless you write your own kernel or something. I totally get that. But the userdirs.dirs also contains the locations and you cannot change those using the Settings/Locations dialogue or Via Dolphin’s “edit locations” function, but the command in the context menu on the Desktop will indeed have the final say as to what is displayed as your Desktop, and I get that. But it can get weird if you are trying to think of your ~/Desktop as one place if it can be modified by yourself at an earlier time and for some reason your hard disks need to be moved around, which is what happened to me. I forgot that the Desktop had a right click menu that had a Desktop custom location in it that was not propagated recursively to the multiple other Locations Preferences dialogues througout KDE, of which there appear to be at least 3. I’m not trying to argue a point, I’m trying to define it better.

Why is there a “Custom Location” override in the Right Click Menu on the KDE “Desktop” GUI element itself when there is already an existing Settings>Locations dialogue for the same thing? Seems like there only needs to be one place in the Desktop Environment to enter that information. If you want some other kind of Desktop to display, great, load up the Right Click Menu on the Desktop with a million options, but the standard option should just be the one you entered into the System>Locations entry. If the User wants some other location, they can just go into the Locations dialogue and change it there. Not a hill I exactly want to die on, just trying to offer a little bit of energy to the subject because it was a little bit frustrating to form an understanding of where the invisible lines were connecting things here.

in KDE’s favor, it’s really cool that each screen you have can be given a custom default location. But let’s say you have 8 monitors, with 8 different folders as their view, that’s great, but then what do the customizable Desktop entries signify in Settings/Locations and in Dolphin/Places?