There are a few desktop menus you may choose from in GNOME. These menus are accessed by making a right-button mouse click on any clean space on the desktop. This will bring up the pop-up menu which contains a few items:
New | Terminal - This will launch a new GNOME Terminal window that will automatically navigate to the ~/.gnome-desktop directory.
New | Directory - This allows you to create a new directory on your desktop. This can be a convenient tool to use if you wish to clean up your desktop by placing files in a new directory.
New | Launcher - This allows you to place a new application launcher on the desktop. When you select this menu item it will launch an Application Launcher dialog that allows you to specify which application and its properties.
New | [application] - Some applications may put items for you in the New menu. For example, the Gnumeric spreadsheet will put a New Gnumeric Spreadsheet menu item in the New menu so you can start up a new spreadsheet easily.
Arrange Icons - This will automatically arrange your desktop icons.
Create New Window - This will launch a new GNOME File Manager window displaying your Home directory.
Rescan Mountable Devices - This will rescan the mountable devices on your machine and display an icon for any new device it might find.
Rescan Desktop - This will rescan the files in your ~/.gnome-desktop directory.