How to add/remove USB and other mounted volumes to/from Ubuntu desktop

Ubuntu 17.10 and all later versions are equipped with a feature that displays all the mounted devices such as USBs and phones on your Ubuntu desktop. This functionality might be useful to some but may prove to be extra for anyone who has more useful data residing on the desktop. These volume labels mostly do not provide anything more than just the names such as the device number or its data capacity. It does not even give information about where the device is mounted. So if you are like me, you would prefer removing the mounted volume icons from the desktop altogether.

Here is how your Ubuntu Desktop looks by default with a mounted volume:

Ubuntu Desktop

This article describes two ways to remove or add USB and other mounted volume icons from the Ubuntu desktop. It explains how you can install Dconf Editor and the Gnome Tweaks Tool to your Ubuntu system and how you can utilize them to add/remove the mounted volume icon to or from your Ubuntu Gnome Desktop.

We have run the commands and procedures mentioned in this article on a Ubuntu 18.04 LTS system.

Method 1: Through the Dconf Editor

Open the Ubuntu Software manager from the Activities bar located on the left side of your Ubuntu Desktop. Once the utility is open, click the search icon and try to look up for Dconf Editor by entering a relevant keyword in the search bar.

You will be able to see the Dconf Editor listed in the search results as follows:

Search for Dconf Editor in App installer

Click on the Dconf Editor entry that will open the following window: Install Dconf Editor

Click the Install button. The following authentication dialog will be displayed:

Get administrative privileges

You will need to provide the password for a privileged user as only an authorized user can add/remove and configure software on Ubuntu.

When you enter the password and click the Authenticate button, the installation process will begin. At the end of which, you will be able to see the following window:

Dconf Editor started

You can launch the Dconf Editor directly through this window or you can search for it through the system Dash. When the application opens, it will display the following message:

Confirm notice

That means that you need to be very careful while performing system configurations as it might mess up with sensitive settings and break down your system. After clicking the “I’ll be careful button”, navigate to /org/gnome/nautilus/desktop/ through which you can configure many desktop settings.

Select /org/gnome/nautilus/desktop/ tree

In the configurable settings, you will also be able to see the “volumes-visible” button. By default, this button is turned on, meaning that the icon will be displayed on your system.

You can switch it off in case you do not want the mounted volume icons displayed on your desktop. When you do so, the Trash icon will disappear from your Ubuntu Desktop right-then.

Although the Dconf Editor is a very handy tool if you wish you can remove it through the Ubuntu software by locating it under the Installed tab.

Method 2: Through the Gnome Tweaks Tool

The Gnome Tweaks can also be installed through the Ubuntu Software manager. Here, we will explain how to install it through the Ubuntu command line, the Terminal. You can access the Terminal either through the system Dash or the Ctrl+Alt+T shortcut.

Then, enter the following command as sudo in order to install the very useful Gnome Tweak Tool:

$ sudo apt install gnome-tweak-tool

Please remember that you need to be an authorized user to add/remove and configure software on Ubuntu.

Install GNOME Tweak Tool

The system might prompt you with a Y/n option to continue installation. When you press y and hit the Enter button, the software will be installed on your system.

You can access the Tweaks tool by searching for it in the system Dash or by accessing it from the applications list.

Start Tweaks application

When the tool is open, click on the Desktop tab. From this tab, you can choose the icons and features you want to see on your desktop. By default, the Mounted Volumes button is switched on. That means that you can see the mounted volume icons on your desktop. Switch this button off as follows:

Tweaks Desktop settings

Now your system is configured to display no icons for any mounted volumes and devices, on your Ubuntu desktop.

The Gnome Tweaks Tool is a very useful tool for installing and managing themes and extensions and also change power settings, and enable/disable desktop settings. However, you can remove it by entering the following command as sudo:

$ sudo apt remove gnome-tweak-tool

Or, through the Ubuntu software by locating Gnome Tweaks under the Installed tab.

Through this simple tip described in this tutorial, you can manage what icons you want to view or disable viewing on your Ubuntu desktop. This way, you can make physical space for more important icons and shortcuts on your desktop.