Ubuntu or any other Linux distribution under the Gnome desktop environment by default displays all the mount (various partitions or drives) icons on the desktop. This includes USB flash drives also.
This may not always be desirable especially when the Places menu under Gnome 2 or the Unity Launcher already provides ways to access them. The good news is that these automatically added icons can be hidden from appearing at the desktop.
Following are the easy to follow steps:
- Press the Alt + F2 key combination to bring the Run command dialog.
- Type the command gconf-editor to open up the window.
- Browse to the location app -> nautilus -> desktop to open its respective options.
- On the right, uncheck the box that says volumes_visible
- Close the window.
This will hide all the auto mount icons from the desktop. The truth is that Linux only displays the partitions mounted under the /media directory. Another way is to mount the partitions under /mnt or any other directory and they won’t show up on the desktop even though the volumes_visible option is enabled.
Update for Ubuntu 12.10
I was unable to find gconf-editor in this version of Ubuntu. It has been removed as a default but can be installed again using the command:
sudo apt-get install gconf-editor
This should work now!