Raspberry Pi – Customising the desktop

When using the standard SD card OS as supplied for the Raspberry Pi, the desktop program provided is LXDE (Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment). It is similar to Windows XP or 7, but lacks a few controls. For example, it is very difficult to reposition the icons. There doesn’t seem to be any “snap-to-grid” for all of them at once. Right-clicking each icon does show a “Snap to Grid” item, but this will just as likely put it on top of another one nearby! So we have to move all the icons away, leaving a clear patch, then drag each one back roughly where we want it to be and hope “Snap to Grid” works properly. What were the designers thinking? Talk about primitive!

And did I mention that a small drag and drop distance causes an error? What? So you can’t juggle icons to any exact location either:


The other bugbear is the double-click speed. I could find no way to adjust that. To get to the mouse control: LXDE button (at bottom left of screen) | Preferences | Keyboard and Mouse | Mouse:

Mouse preferences

All this shows is the acceleration and sensitivity. No double-click time. It is set very fast (probably .1 seconds or less). I’d like it to be set to maybe .25 seconds to save on finger-tendon damage with repetitive use.


Change over entirely to single-click mode,which I have used on Windows for years, and love it.

Hit the LXDE button | Accessories | File Manager | Edit | Preferences (not long to go, now) | General | Open files with single click.

Single click

Success! Amazingly, this also works for the desktop icons. [ They are, of course, just files too ]

11 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi – Customising the desktop

  1. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely helpful info specifically the last part 🙂 I care for such information much. I was looking for this particular info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

  2. Hi! I’ve been reading your site for a while now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Atascocita Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks for the contact, Agueda. Yes, I’m finding lots about the Raspberry Pi. I haven’t thought of any external control projects to do with it yet.

      One interesting future possibility is to connect up a video camera (there is a black connector for just that between the LAN and the HDMI ports). Then maybe take stills at fixed intervals or just turn it on when movement is detected… I know, there are plenty of $10,000 setups which can do that job “professionally” but hey, we’re not all THAT keen.

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