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Can’t Create Desktop Shortcuts to Steam Games on Linux? You’re Not Alone…

steam with tux mascot

Whack-a-bug is a tedious game to play.

Having issues trying to create a desktop shortcut for a Steam game on Linux?

Well, you can seek some solace in the fact that you’re not alone.

A number of you have mailed in over the past couple of weeks to tell us you’re having issues trying to make desktop shortcuts to Steam games on Ubuntu (and other Linux distributions, too).

Right-clicking on a title in your Steam library to select the ‘Create Desktop Shortcut’ option throws this error:

"Could not create shortcut. A shortcut to this game is probably already on the desktop"

You could understand this error were it true, but it shows even when the desktop folder is empty and there are no shortcuts listed in ~./local/share/applications.

Frustratingly, the issue isn’t limited to games you have already installed. No “start menu” or “desktop shortcut” is created when installing new games, even if the option to do so is checked.

Reader Norah J. is among those affected. She e-mailed in to explain:

“I’ve been experiencing an issue with steam since at least June 12, as have many others. Basically the client refuses to create icons for downloaded games saying that there is already an icon on the desktop…which is false. Obviously its not that difficult to create your own icons (which I have done for the time being), but its annoying.”

For now you can workaround around this inconvenience by making your own game launchers manually, something which Norah says she’s having to do.

You can learn on this Github issue. Hopefully Valve devs will issue a fix for this annoyance soon.

Thanks Norah