- The quick facts

What are DESKTOP files and how to open them

Are you having problems opening a DESKTOP file or just wondering what they contain? We explain what these files are used for and show you software that we know can open or otherwise handle your files.

What is a DESKTOP file?

Files that contain the .desktop file extension are commonly associated with Linux and Unix-based operating systems. These files provide the Linux and Unix systems with a GUI and let the systems know how to launch the associated application.

DESKTOP files are data files that contain information about an item that is located on the user's hard drive. These configuration details contain information about a program's menu, storing details about the name of the program, the program's associated icon file, the command that is used to run the program and other related program data.

The .desktop file suffix is also used by the DesktopX utility, which is a program that allows users to change the way their desktop looks. These files incorporate themes and widgets into the DESKTOP file to customize a user's computing experience.

How to open DESKTOP files

Important: Different programs may use files with the DESKTOP file extension for different purposes, so unless you are sure which format your DESKTOP file is, you may need to try a few different programs.

We have not yet verified any programs for Windows that work with this specific file format. If you know one, please use the 'Suggest a program' link below. Thanks!

Last updated: July 13, 2020

Suggest another file format using extension DESKTOP

While we know of one file format using the .DESKTOP file extension, there may be more. It is widespread that different programs use files with the same file extension for very different types of data. Please let us know if you are aware of a different kind of .DESKTOP file.