“Show Desktop” widget not working properly on KDE/Kubuntu 16.10 – Fix it

By | February 17, 2017

Show Desktop widget

Kubuntu has been my favorite distro ever since I made the move from Windows to Linux. KDE feels very stable and a swift desktop environment. However KDE has its own set of problems. Ever since the introduction of Plasma 5, everytime I would upgrade Kubuntu, something very essential would break somewhere. And then you have to start looking for hacks and workarounds all over the internet.

After installing Kubuntu 16.10, I disabled all desktop effects and animations. Next, I added the "Show Desktop" plasma widget to the panel and tried using it. However it had a very funky behavior.

1. Pressing "Show Desktop" will not work everytime. 1 out of 5 times, it will miss the click. This happens when you have desktop compositor disabled and all other desktop effects turned off.

2. If you come to the desktop after pressing "Show Desktop" and try to open some app like a text editor, or right click and open "Folder View Settings" dialog and then close it, one of the minimised windows from the taskbar would popup.

The problem seems to happens only if you disable compositor and desktop effects.

After spending an entire day to find a solution, I found out that the "Show Desktop" widget is supposed to behave like this. Check the following link for more information -


So the "Show Desktop" widget is supposed to "peek" the desktop and not minimise any app window.

Finally the fix

I was so fedup with this, that I started imagining the Unity desktop, something that I didn't like either. However that reddit page showed a workaround for the problem.

The trick is to create a shortcut to call a Kwin script that would minimise all windows. Then place the shortcut on the panel and use it as the "Show Desktop" button.

1. Enable Kwin MinimizeAll Script

Go to System Settings > Workspace > Window Management > Kwin Scripts

Enable the MinimizeAll script. Click Apply and close.

2. Create a MinimizeAll shorcut

Get to the following directory -


Create a file called minimize.desktop

Open it in Kate editor and paste the following code in it

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=qdbus org.kde.kglobalaccel /component/kwin invokeShortcut "MinimizeAll"
Name=Show Desktop

Now save and close the file. Check the KDE menu > Utilities section. You should see a "Show Desktop" entry. Right click it and "Add to Panel".

Now click that new icon on the panel, and you should have the "Show Desktop" functionality. Once again Kubuntu feels great :)

About Silver Moon

A Tech Enthusiast, Blogger, Linux Fan and a Software Developer. Writes about Computer hardware, Linux and Open Source software and coding in Python, Php and Javascript. He can be reached at [email protected].


“Show Desktop” widget not working properly on KDE/Kubuntu 16.10 – Fix it
  1. P.B. Lecavalier

    Whoever complains it does not work: Read carefully about the step to enable the kwin script (I went too fast and just slapped that shortcut…).

    Works just fine (as of kde-plasma 5.14 on Gentoo). I even got for it the original desktop icon from oxygen icon set.

    Thanks a bunch. I’m so sorry that it has become so complicated to enable such a simple thing!

  2. Joe

    Okay, solved that too. Right click on the KDE menu button in the lower left corner of the screen.

    Choose “edit applications”. (Open KDE Menu Editor)

    In the new window go to the “Utilities” section in the menu list. Click the little arrow at the left to open the list within.

    Find “Show Desktop”. Click on it. In the right half of the screen at the top, click “advanced”.

    Go to “current shortcut key” and click where it says “none”.

    It will change to “input…”

    Press and hold the Meta key and “D” (or whatever you want).

    Click apply.

  3. Joe

    Oops! i figured it out. I went back to the minimize script file and right clicked on it. Then went to properties and changed the icon there. Click on the icon in the properties window and choose a new icon. Apply.

    The first time I used the “show desktop button” it updated the plain icon to what I choose.

    Next will be trying to find a way to bind a keystroke to it so I get the “Meta-D” functionality back that I had before.

    I still love the KDE DE but I wished I had not upgraded my system to the new version b/c so many of my tweak evaporated in the process. I was really settled into the old version.

  4. Joe

    Is there a way to change the icon to something else?

    Your fix works a treat though! That has been my experience too – each update breaks some tweak that is part of how I use my computer and it takes time to get it back.

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