I just upgraded Ubuntu 16.04 to 18.04 and one of the issues I'm facing is that I can't view any folders and files because Nautilus crashes as soon as I try to open it:

$ nautilus
Initializing nautilus-dropbox 2019.02.14
Bus error (core dumped)

However, it works normally if I run sudo nautilus.

This makes me think there may be due to some sort of permission error.

How can I check which (if any) file Nautilus is trying to read which is causing it to crash?

Things I have tried

  • reinstall nautilus

  • make sure config files are owned by me: $ sudo chown -R felipe:felipe ~/.config/*

  • make sure dropbox config files under ~/.dropbox/ and under ~/.dropbox-dist are owned by me

  • list all files under my home and chown all configs and cache related files. (I couldn't chown /.gvfs and ~/.cache/doc, I get Function not implemented error message)

  • purge package nautilus-dropbox (it is not installed at all)

  • purge dropbox. Same error message but without the previous dropbox-related debug text:

    $ nautilus
    Bus error (core dumped)
  • ran strace nautilus for debugging. Last lines of log are here

PS the log message for when the nautilus app crashes at startup is different from the one I get when running nautilus on the cmd line. Here is the log for the startup crash: https://pastebin.com/mVx0E7SE

  • 1
    This is caused by running nautilus with sudo. That's a bad practice. You have nautilus config files owned by root. – Pilot6 Feb 1 at 20:23
  • I only ran it with sudo when it started crashing when running normally without sudo. – Felipe Almeida Feb 1 at 20:24
  • What about ~/.dropbox files? – Pilot6 Feb 1 at 20:25
  • Yep those too. Updated the text. – Felipe Almeida Feb 1 at 20:27
  • Does the issue also happen in another user account? – vanadium Feb 2 at 19:16

I suggest removing nautilus-dropbox by

sudo apt purge nautilus-dropbox

If you need a Dropbox service, you'd better install it from the Dropbox site.


If nothing helps you can create a new user and copy files from the old user to the new one. This should help for sure.

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  • but how can I know it's related to dropbox? – Felipe Almeida Feb 1 at 20:30
  • 2
    Did you read the error message? :-) – Pilot6 Feb 1 at 20:30
  • This package is not installed – Felipe Almeida Feb 1 at 21:05
  • Try to remove dropbox by sudo apt remove dropbox then. – Pilot6 Feb 1 at 21:06

You have entered into the World of Hurt (tm) that comes from running GUI programs as root. Avoid repeating that mistake.

Details: The "running-as-root" GUI programs grab ownership of all sorts of files, then,, when $USER tries to access the them, $USER cannot, because they're owned by root, and $USER doesn't have write access to the files, BOOM.

Take a look at the last few pages of lines of strace nautilus to get a look at what was going on leading up to the Bus error message, which probably means out-of-range memory access (or, out-of-permissions).

Check /var/crash, one can less the crash files.

To find all the files in your $HOME directory that you don't own:

sudo find $HOME \! -user $USER -ls

If, after inspection, cogitation, and reinspection, you want to regain ownership:

sudo find $HOME \! -user $USER -print0 | xargs -0 -r sudo chown $(id -u):$(id -g)
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  • chowned all relevant files, still having the error. These are the last lines of the output of strace nautilus: pastebin.com/jBDURhpm – Felipe Almeida Feb 1 at 23:29
  • Replace $HOME with /run/user/1000/dconf in my answer. Pesky root GUI proggies! – waltinator Feb 2 at 1:09
  • Sorry... also didn't work. There's was a single file user and it was owned by me =/. I added another point to the text about the startup crash. – Felipe Almeida Feb 2 at 1:43

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