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I've recently came back to Ubuntu from Kubuntu, but I really like Dolphin. Is there any way how to set it up as default file manager?

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up vote 22 down vote accepted


  1. Open a terminal, e.g. using Ctrl+Alt+T

  2. Install exo-utils by running the following command in the terminal:

    sudo apt-get install exo-utils
  3. Run the following command in the terminal:

  4. In the window that opens, click on Utilities

  5. On the File Manager section, click the drop-down menu arrow + Other...

  6. Find /usr/share/applications directory

  7. Adjust to show all files and select dolphin.desktop (wherever you find it)

  8. Click close

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I couldnt get this to work in Ubuntu 15.04. – Ubuntuser May 16 '15 at 6:20
Didn't work for me either on Ubuntu 14.04. – Fiksdal Mar 30 at 9:36

To set Dolphin as default:

xdg-mime default kde4/dolphin.desktop inode/directory

To set Thunar as default:

xdg-mime default Thunar.desktop inode/directory

Run either on the terminal as regular user.

Related files:

  • /usr/share/applications/defaults.list
  • $HOME/.local/share/applications/mimeapps.list


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this actually works if you are using synapse. The solution should be a combination of all the above answers. – Avinash R Feb 25 '14 at 12:16

This link should help you to change the file manager.

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Thanks, I visited that page, but it seemed too difficult. Fortunately thanks to your advice I checked it again and there is a one-line command (exo-preferred-applications). – cloxy Dec 3 '11 at 20:32
Love the "One more way - for "mousemonkeys", like me" solution :) – JoZ3 Feb 15 '12 at 18:49
Actually this script only works for setting thunar as default. If you want to set Dolphin as default it is a little more involved than this. This script only alters the .desktop files in the /usr/applications folder but dolphin by default works with the konsole terminal so you will run into tons of problems by making it default. many of it's functions will not work and I don't know the work arounds. – Joshua Robison Jul 27 '12 at 9:56
I used the option exo-preferred-applications to set up Dolphin as the default and everything went smoothly. I had Konsole already installed by the way. – Gabriel Jul 30 '12 at 17:21

also it works only with:

xdg-mime default dolphin.desktop inode/directory application/x-gnome-saved-search


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