I am looking for the location of the "Starred" directory that is listed at the top of the sidebar in Nautilus on Ubuntu 19.04. I can find nothing under the name "Starred" on my system.

  • Now we have Boomarks and Starred. Boomarks is indeed in .config/gtk3.0 but "Starred" is not there. Its the same list thats in user-dirs.dirs and "Starred" is not there either. Quite a mystery......
    – i9pp0
    Jun 3, 2019 at 12:52
  • Probably this is stored in the tracker database. I have tracker disabled and accordingly, the star function does not work for me: if I "star" a file, it does not appear in the Starred folder.
    – vanadium
    Jun 3, 2019 at 12:59
  • This is the API wiki.gnome.org/Projects/Tracker/Documentation
    – Rinzwind
    Jun 3, 2019 at 13:32

3 Answers 3


Files in certain locations such as ~/Documents can be starred by right-clicking on them in Nautilus and choosing to star them.

The ability to star files requires you to have "Search" (which uses Tracker) active. "Search" is enabled via the Settings icon in your launcher (and not from Nautilus):

Enable Search

Then you can star or unstar files in Nautilus:

Starring or unstarring a file

And by clicking on the star icon, you can list starred files:

List starred files

However, it appears that only a limited set of files or folders can be starred by default.

How to add folders so that they can be tracked and starred:

In the image below, in Settings > Search clicking on the little ⚙ (gear) icon opens a new window titled "Search Locations" to allow you to add additional folders. Click on the + icon to get a list of folders you can include.

I found a reboot helpful in getting those new folders to be registered properly.

How to add folders so that they can be tracked and starred

And here is an image showing various folders and files I've added and starred.

  • ~/.config folder is starred
  • a folder, SubDesktop1, within ~/Desktop is starred
  • a file, dconf1.txt, within ~/Desktop/SubDesktop1 is starred as can be seen from the Properties window.
  • for me, it appears that a reboot is needed when a "non-standard" folder is to be starred (and tracked).

Image showing additional folders and files starred

If I make any changes to the list of starred files, the only file to change on my system is ~/.local/share/tracker/data/tracker-store.journal. While there maybe a way to query that journal, I don't know how.

(~/.config/dconf/user also changes but I've dumped the contents of dconf/user before and after starring/unstarring files and there were no changes related to starring/unstarring files.)

You can check out tracker-related files in your home folder using locate ~/*tracker* but, as I pointed out above, the only file related to starring is ~/.local/share/tracker/data/tracker-store.journal.

dkb: ~ $ locate ~/*tracker*
  • Thanks for the very detailed answer. Are you on 19.04? I don't have an on/off switch for search in Nautilus
    – i9pp0
    Jun 3, 2019 at 16:37
  • Strange, I have only "preferences" which gives me 3 options in the "search and preview" tab, and no switch. They are: on this computer only, all locations, never.
    – i9pp0
    Jun 3, 2019 at 16:56
  • I think I may have misunderstood you and what you want. The Search feature I'm talking about is in Settings which should be an icon in your launcher, not in Nautilus. I did not make any changes to the Nautilus preferences. I cropped out the Launcher to make the image I uploaded smaller.
    – DK Bose
    Jun 3, 2019 at 17:01
  • I added additional information on starring additional folders. I will be away for about eight hours. Do leave a comment if you have any feedback.
    – DK Bose
    Jun 3, 2019 at 17:44
  • Does tracker track things recursively? Meaning, if ~/Desktop is added, can I star ~/Desktop/foo/bar/baz? Or do I need to add ~/Desktop/foo/bar/ to star baz? Jan 28, 2022 at 21:35

The "star" attribute for files is stored in the tracker database. Tracker is the file indexing and search framework used by Gnome Shell and as such also by Ubuntu. The tracker databases are kept in $HOME/.cache/tracker. The user's data backup is kept in $HOME/.local/share/tracker/data.

The star feature accordingly only works on directories that are tracked by tracker.

  • 2
    If the feature only works on dirs tracked by tracker, is there a way to add dirs to tracker?
    – i9pp0
    Jun 3, 2019 at 16:38

As of 22.04 LTS, I think this location is actually ~/.local/share/nautilus/tags/.

Starring files and folders seems to work fine from the Files (Nautilus) GUI. For querying from the command line, this works:

sqlite3 ~/.local/share/nautilus/tags/meta.db \
  "SELECT r.Uri FROM Resource r JOIN 'nautilus:File' f ON r.ID = f.ID and f.'nautilus:starred' = 1;"`

The output looks like this when ~/blah/, ~/blah/foo.txt and ~/blah/bar.txt are starred:


I see those same three things when I run nautilus starred:/// from the command line.

Thanks to user Khalid in #gnome:gnome.org Matrix chat for the tip to look in ~/.local/share/nautilus/tags/. Also note that another user (also in #gnome) says:

coreyberla> word of caution, this is absolutely unsupported and subject to change at any time

coreyberla> we could expose the starred files via dbus api if someone wants to take that on


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .