So I installed VBoxLinuxGuestAdditions(part of Oracle VirtualBox) to support a better resolution and other reasons, but came across a big annoying problem.

I remember that before installing this, when I use my right mouse button there was a option "open this in terminal" or something similar. But now, it only says this: the options I get

My entire desktop is messed up. my desktop

I have no icons, but in my nautilus ~/Bureaublad (Dutch name for desktop) the files DO appear.

P.S. I have Kali Linux Rolling, and I use gnome.


I have used gnome-tweaks but of no help. I don't see a tab named "Desktop". I also have tried to use dconf but also of no help. And I have tried to fix it using gsettings: also of no help.

  • Removed a fairly tangential discussion in the comments – Michael Mrozek Sep 24 '18 at 22:56

I have found out that the version of gnome that I'm running doesn't support desktop icons anymore.

It is not possible.

  • Try installing Nemo to replace Nautilaus, in the article I linked for you, and you'll have them back. – eyoung100 Sep 24 '18 at 20:17

Kali's Purpose

First off, you must understand that Kali Linux is built for a specific purpose, so the answer I tell you, is correct on other less targeted distributions. The Kali Linux Website and their WikiPedia page clearly state:

Kali Linux is a Debian-derived Linux distribution designed for digital forensics and penetration testing. It is maintained and funded by Offensive Security Ltd. Mati Aharoni, Devon Kearns and Raphaël Hertzog are the core developers.

If you have no idea what penetration or forensic data analysis is, the commenters are right that you should not use Kali Linux.

Your Solution

You need to download and install GNOME Tweak Tool, for versions less than GNOME 3.28, as stated in How to configure GNOME 3 to show icons on desktop.

Note: This solution, may or may not work because Kali Linux uses different repositories than Ubuntu or Debian, because of my earlier explanation. As proof that this is correct. On Gentoo, you can clearly see a Desktop Choice:

GNOME Tweak Tool

For Versions greater than or equal to 3.28, users are left with no alternative as the OP and I found out together. Read Nautilus desktop plans, or the more technical Gitlab Nautilus Bug 158 Report

For those of you reading this as Googlers: If your new to Linux, stay away from Kali unless you need it for these two purposes:

  1. Penetration Testing
  2. Digital or Computer Forensics
  • Dear eyoung100, I'm sorry I have not stated I have already used gnome-tweaks to try this. But I also have a problem there: I don't see a tab called "Desktop". – Sam Sep 24 '18 at 19:46
  • 1
    @Sam Your Edit beat me to my posting, but I edited your answer with a possible solution, and mine with more information if your interested. Beating Answers happens often, and welcome to this exchange – eyoung100 Sep 24 '18 at 20:39

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