Managing shortcuts to applications in AppVMs
For ease of use Qubes aggregates shortcuts to applications that are installed in AppVMs and shows them in one “start menu” in dom0. Clicking on such shortcut runs the assigned application in its AppVM.
To make applications newly installed via the OS’s package manager show up in the menu, use the
qvm-sync-appmenus command (Linux VMs do this automatically):
After that, select the Add more shortcuts entry in the VM’s submenu to customize which applications are shown:
The above image shows that Windows HVMs are also supported (provided that Qubes Tools are installed).
What if my application has not been automatically included in the list of available apps?
Some times applications may not have included a
.desktop file and may not be detected by
Other times, you may want to make a web shortcut available from the Qubes start menu.
You can manually create new entries in the “available applications” list of shortcuts for all AppVMs based on a TemplateVM. To do this:
- Open a terminal window to the TemplateVM.
- Create a custom
/usr/share/applications(you may need to first create the subdirectory). Look in
/usr/share/applicationsfor existing examples, or see the full file specification. It will be something like:
[Desktop Entry] Version=1.0 Type=Application Terminal=false Icon=/usr/share/icons/Adwaita/256x256/devices/scanner.png Name=VueScan GenericName=Scanner Comment=Scan Documents Categories=Office;Scanning; Exec=vuescan
- In dom0, run
- Go to VM Settings of the AppVM(s) to which you want to add the new shortcut, then the Applications tab. Move the newly created shortcut to the right under selected.
If you only want to create a shortcut for a single AppVM, you can create a custom menu entry instead:
- Open a terminal window to Dom0.
- Create a custom
~/.local/share/applications. Look in the same directory for existing examples, or see the full file specification. You may use
.desktopfile; see Behind the scenes for more details.
- Edit the
~/.config/menus/applications-merged/<vmname>-vm.menufile for the AppVM.
Add a custom menu entry referring to your newly created
<Menu> <Name>Webmail</Name> <Include> <Filename>custom.desktop</Filename> </Include> </Menu>
What about applications in DispVMs?
First, try this in dom0:
$ qvm-appmenus --update --force <vm_name>
If that doesn’t work, you can manually modify the files in
For example, suppose you’ve deleted
my-old-vm, but it has a leftover Application Menu shortcut. In dom0:
$ rm -i ~/.local/share/applications/my-old-vm-*
Behind the scenes
qvm-sync-appmenus works by invoking GetAppMenus Qubes service in the target domain.
This service enumerates installed applications and sends formatted info back to the dom0 script (
/usr/libexec/qubes-appmenus/qubes-receive-appmenus) which creates .desktop files in the AppVM/TemplateVM directory.
For Linux VMs the service script is in
In Windows it’s a PowerShell script located in
c:\Program Files\Invisible Things Lab\Qubes OS Windows Tools\qubes-rpc-services\get-appmenus.ps1 by default.
The list of installed applications for each AppVM is stored in dom0’s
Each menu entry is a file that follows the .desktop file format with some wildcards (%VMNAME%, %VMDIR%).
Applications selected to appear in the menu are stored in
Actual command lines for the menu shortcuts involve
qvm-run command which starts a process in another domain.
qvm-run -q -a --service -- %VMNAME% qubes.StartApp+7-Zip-7-Zip_File_Manager or
qvm-run -q -a --service -- %VMNAME% qubes.StartApp+firefox
Note that you can create a shortcut that points to a .desktop file in your AppVM with e.g.
qvm-run -q -a --service -- personal qubes.StartApp+firefox.