I have installed vnc4server on my Ubuntu 18.04 vps server. Used ssh tunnel to connect on and via VNCviewer connected to it. I can't see icons in the start menu or the icons of the folders. Please see the screenshot attached.

vnc4server-ubuntu18.04 This is my xstartup file

exec /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc

[ -x /etc/vnc/xstartup ] && exec /etc/vnc/xstartup
[ -r $HOME/.Xresources ] && xrdb $HOME/.Xresources
xsetroot -solid grey
vncconfig -iconic &
xterm -geometry 80x24+10+10 -ls -title "$VNCDESKTOP Desktop" &
twm &
  • It's somewhat out of date, but perhaps something here will be helpful: Missing icons for headless Xfce session via VNC Apr 16, 2019 at 2:13
  • Unfortunately it didn't help. Followed the article, but still have the issue.
    – Wiredancer
    Apr 16, 2019 at 4:32
  • I suspect the issue is somewhere else that the xstartup. I have tried several different settings there and outcome is always same.
    – Wiredancer
    Apr 16, 2019 at 5:17

1 Answer 1


After trying all the various vnc servers and many settings I have found the solution right under the spotlight.

In the Applications > Settings > Appearance I have changed the icons to different from the default and suddenly all the icons are there and working.


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