Emulationstation Pixel Desktop Shortcut No Command Line


How to create a emulationstation desktop shortcut to get to back to RetroPie from the Pixel Desktop, without going to the command line!

Note: This Only works on a Retropie image and not if you manually install Retropie on your existing Raspbian image.

You can easily install the Pixel Desktop from the RetroPie setup menu (Configuration / Tools >> Raspbiantools >> Install Pixel Desktop Environment). It takes a while, but once installed and after restarting Emulationstation, it will be in the Ports menu on RetroPie.

Once installed, hit alt F4 on the keyboard to exit retropie and type “startx” at the command prompt. The desktop should load.

Also Note: You will need a keyboard and mouse to navigate the desktop!

Once you are at the desktop, right click somewhere on the background and choose, “create empty file” and name it, emulationstation.desktop.

Then download the icon below (right click and save as), and move it into your /home/pi directory.

emulationstation desktop shortcut

Then right click the new empty file and choose, “Text Editor” from the list. Then in the editor, copy and paste or type this information below in the box and save.

[Desktop Entry]
Exec=pkill Xorg

I found this code here.

The icon should change to the ES icon, once saved. Then test it by double clicking the icon. It should take you back to the Ports menu on RetroPie. You may have to reboot for some settings to take effect.

And there you go, you can now exit the Pixel Desktop with the emulationstation desktop shortcut! Fun!

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I am just your Friendly Neighborhood Computer Nerd ready to lend a keyboard to others who need IT help without the IT cost! I also love to cook, play golf and try to make people laugh!


  1. Hello,great easy tutorial.
    I have installed retropie manual from the retropie setup script to raspbian desktop
    I want to create an icon/desktop shortcut to launch retropie from desktop
    Do you know how to do it?


  2. Yes but it only works probably in pre-made retropie image,it does not work in raspbian image that you installed manual retropie from the script by running it you get to cli only not back to retropie.

  3. I tried it from the desktop with retropie installed manually and yes, it just takes you to the command prompt. From there you just have to type in emulationstation. So it does only work correctly with the retropie image with the desktop installed. Sorry about that!

  4. Hi can I ask what I need to type into the command prompt to get back to the desktop? I installed retropie manually onto of raspian. When I boot up it goes to the desktop then I need to type emulationstation to get to emulation station but I don’t know the command to get back to the desktop.

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