Add a “Refresh/Reload GUI” Button to your Gnome Panel

Your first thought when reading the title of this post is probably, “WTF? Why would I need that?” Gnome Black LogoWell, if you’re like me and you love customizing your Gnome system, you’ll know that during your customizations, you have to reload this and reload that for your new changes to take effect. Sometimes its simply because a change you did caused some problems and something didn’t load correctly. Whatever it is, most of the time it requires you to use the killall command in the terminal.

This is common enough for the Gnome panels and for Nautilus since it draws and handles the desktop by default. I was tired of pulling up a terminal window and typing in the killall commands to “refresh” my GUI or Desktop or repeating them if I had already ran them previously. Not that it takes that long to do. I just wanted a quick “button” I can click that will do it automatically.

So I did it myself. Not very complicated, really. Actually, it’s not complicated at all. :)

  1. Right-click the panel or drawer you want the button to be situated
  2. Select “Add to Panel…” and the “Add to Panel” window will open
  3. Click on the “Custom Application Launcher” at the top of the window
  4. In the Launcher Properties, select “Application in Terminal” as a Type
  5. Name it “Refresh GUI
  6. For the command, type in: “killall gnome-panel nautilus” without the quotes
  7. For the comment, type in: “Reloads the panels and the desktop (Nautilus).” or whatever you want. ;)
  8. Click on the “No icon” button and choose an icon of your choice.
  9. Click close and you’re done

Now, whenever you need to reload/refresh your Desktop, you can simply click on your brand-spanking new shiny button!

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22 responses to “Add a “Refresh/Reload GUI” Button to your Gnome Panel”

  1. Kushal Koolwal says :


    Thank you for your tip. Although the method that you suggested only worked to load the panels however it does not work for desktop icons. Any ideas???

  2. anaconda says :

    I also noticed that your command doesn’t refresh the desktop icons

    I use these two lines to refresh the desktop icons from a script
    gconftool –set /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop –type boolean false
    gconftool –set /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop –type boolean true

    For obvious reasons this works only in gnome….

  3. kaustubhvp says :

    too good! wine screwd my nautilus
    so just added this button!

  4. Surender says :

    Thanks for the tip. Every Update of Linux used to get the icons on the panel, awry. The button is a help.

  5. Jonas says :

    To use gconftool-2 use these lines:
    gconftool-2 –type boolean –set /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop false
    gconftool-2 –type boolean –set /apps/nautilus/preferences/show_desktop true

    – Jonas

  6. Name says :

    “There was an error creating the child process for this terminal”

  7. ebiarbashu says :

    rzuywh Menia viebali kak shmelia na goufake YYou!!!!

  8. Atari_Gods says :

    Worked a treat! Thank you for your advice.

  9. Carlos Pereira says :

    That didn’t work…I can see it refresh the desktop, but I still have a bit of a ‘broken’ window that was formerly a corner of Chrome that stopped responding, left in the top right quadrant…and it is there, regardless of the Workspace I select.

  10. Bladt says :

    I realise this is old, but as it isn’t a forum i see no problem in replying :)
    The tips mentioned by anaconda and jonas will not work when cp’ed into a terminal, because they use some wierd hyphens (I assume it’s a problem with wordpress) if you use two single hyphens without space betwee however, they work :) ( hyphen = – )
    To be certain the formatting holds, here’s an example in a pastebin:

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