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Trying to make Nemo take over the desktop in Mint Xfce I found that very difficult, even if Thunar is uninstalled. Therefore, it is not Thunar by itself that handles the desktop (the icon desktop I mean), but something within the Xfce desktop environment different from the file manager Thunar. After removing Thunar though, some desktop context menu actions stop working, like creating folder or document, with an error about org.xfce.FileManager.

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nemo-desktop is the Nemo equivalent, not dependent on the Cinnamon desktop. What is that for Xfce if not Thunar?

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By request, my comment posted as an answer: xfdesktop docs.xfce.org/xfce/xfdesktop/start

Unfortunately, I don't have any directly pertinent details, as I've never pursued replacement of xfdesktop with a file manager's desktop handling functionality or anything else.

I did do a brief search of replace "xfdesktop" on DuckDuckGo and found (four pages deep in the search results) a page providing evidence that xfdesktop can be replaced. See the section of the page Tips, Tricks and Howtos | Xfce Wiki entitled "How to use ROX to manage your desktop in order to have desktop icons". Don't know if that's of any help, but there it is.

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    In fact I have found a solution to the linked question about Nemo-desktop taking over he desktop in place of the Xfce desktop manager, thanks to you. xfdesktop simply needs to be specified in dconf Editor under org.nemo.desktop ignored-desktop-handlers, but it needs not (nor should be) stopped or removed. See the answer here. – cipricus Sep 25 '19 at 1:19
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    Excellent! I use Caja in Xfce, so I'm definitely holding on to a that link to try shifting desktop management to Caja at some point. – David Yockey Sep 25 '19 at 1:46

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