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I originally had a Downloads folder, but decided to create a separate partition for it.

So I renamed Downloads to Downloads2. I know, I should have just cut and pasted the content, but this seemed easier.

Anyway: for some reason Downloads2 was now the default Downloads directory. It even got the Ubuntu Download icon (the arrow alone)

But no matter what I do now: Downloads2 is still the default download directory. Even changing its name does nothing this time around. How is that possible? And how do I change it?

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up vote 21 down vote accepted

Nautilus-the-file-browser is smart enough to notice that you're renaming a "special" folder ("Downloads" in your case) and adjust its settings to use the new name.

The settings are stored in the file $HOME/.config/user-dirs.dirs - you can either edit this or just do some trickery with renaming your current Downloads2 back to Downloads via Nautilus.

Then you can move the contents from there to a separate partition and then mounting that partition as $HOME/Downloads.

See this question for more details.

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I needed to restart the session for the change to take effect in Nautilus. No more luck with xdg-user-dirs-update. – KrisWebDev Mar 28 at 11:48

Ubuntu Tweak can be useful for you this time, but includes the install of the Ubuntu Tweak software, whose intuitive GUI will guide you on this and some other useful processes.

When installed, simply choose Ubuntu Tweak from within the System Tools sub-menu in the main menu. After which you can go to the "Personal" section in the sidebar and look inside "Default folders", where you can choose which will be your default folder for Downloads, Documents, Desktop, etc.

enter image description here

I hope this help you.

Good luck!

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I forgot about that app, thanks. Unfortunately: it crashes on startup here. Already made a bug repport about it. – skerit Sep 7 '11 at 21:48

Use xdg-user-dirs-update

xdg-user-dirs-update --set DOWNLOAD /absolute/path/to/new/download/folder
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In Nautilus try Bookmarks > Bookmarks. You can edit the locations of the bookmarked folders.enter image description here

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