I am on Ubuntu 19.10. My ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs looks like this:

# This file is written by xdg-user-dirs-update
# If you want to change or add directories, just edit the line you're
# interested in. All local changes will be retained on the next run.
# Format is XDG_xxx_DIR="$HOME/yyy", where yyy is a shell-escaped
# homedir-relative path, or XDG_xxx_DIR="/yyy", where /yyy is an
# absolute path. No other format is supported.

My /etc/xdg/user-dirs.conf looks like this:

# This controls the behaviour of xdg-user-dirs-update which is run on user login
# You can also have per-user config in ~/.config/user-dirs.conf, or specify
# the XDG_CONFIG_HOME and/or XDG_CONFIG_DIRS to override this


# This sets the filename encoding to use. You can specify an explicit
# encoding, or "locale" which means the encoding of the users locale
# will be used

And my /etc/xdg/user-dirs.defaults looks like this:

# Default settings for user directories
# The values are relative pathnames from the home directory and
# will be translated on a per-path-element basis into the users locale
# Another alternative is:

Yet when I open Nautilus/"Files" it looks like this:
Nautilus screenshot

I don't understand why the sidebar only has Documents and Downloads. It doesn't have Music or Pictures or Videos, which is what I want. But if I understand this correctly it should also show Desktop, Templates, and Public. FWIW the sidebar short cut to Documents and Downloads does work correctly, in the sense that it navigates to ~/OneDrive/Documents or Downloads. Any idea what I'm missing?

  • In your ~/.config/user-dirs.dirs, Music Pictures and Videos are commented out. Templates and Publicshares are shown in a different place than the others. Is this the case?
    – Jean-Marie
    Nov 27, 2019 at 16:45
  • @Jean-Marie, yes, the Public and Templates folders are under ~, and the Music, Pictures, and Videos folders don't exist, I've deleted them.
    – Rich
    Nov 27, 2019 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


I reckon the 'Desktop' entry was removed from the sidebar "for consistency" after Nautilus stopped providing the desktop icons feature (since v3.28). Even on older releases where Nautilus still provides the desktop icons, the 'Desktop' entry vanishes from the sidebar if you manually disable the 'icons on desktop' feature. Also note that on Ubuntu 19.10 desktop icons are handled by a GNOME Shell extension, not Nautilus.

Unfortunately, the locations to show in the sidebar are hardcoded in Nautilus. You can use Nautilus bookmarks as an alternative or otherwise you'll have to modify the source-code (refer to this and this).

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